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The winter season is great for a number of reasons. The holiday vibes are the air, people connect with each other, gratitude is the name of the game…you name it. Unfortunately, the season can also be quite stressful for your furry friend. Sure, your pup’s paw pads may appear tough to handle any terrain and environmental conditions but there’s too much of everything. In most cases, dogs suffer peeled pads or cracked paws when they spend long hours outdoors in freezing weather conditions. These can be really painful not to mention the fact that they may take forever to heal. Luckily, there are a number of cracked dog paws home remedies you can use.
Cracked paw pads signify dehydration among many things. When the pads dry up, they crack and even bleed. Because of this, hydrating is your first line of defense when combating the issue. What better way to moisturize than using good old water? As soon as your pup shows any sign of cracking, encourage him to drink up before grabbing moisturizing oils and creams. The only way the paws can hold on to moisture is if the dog has enough water in his system in the first place. Keep his water bowl full round the clock and do all you can to motivate him to drink up.
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2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a multi-functional product at home. You can cook with it, apply it on the skin and hair, and use it on your pup’s cracked paw pads. That’s right; coconut oil has also been known to offer relief for cracked skin, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. When applied to the paw pads, the likelihood of infection dips substantially. This powerful oil is also a good moisturizer and will fight dryness.
3. Shea Butter
When it comes to moisturizing properties, shea butter tops the list every time. Virtually all moisturizing lotions, creams, and balms utilize this natural ingredient for its amazing qualities. The butter, derived from shea nuts, gets deep into the skin of the paw pads to hydrate it. The amazing thing about shea butter is that it is non-toxic to canines. Even if your pooch licks it (which is highly likely), the butter won’t harm him in any way.
4. Vitamin E oil
The fourth cracked dog paws home remedy on this list is Vitamin E oil. Like water, this product is highly effective as a moisturizer. It will soften the cracked skin and return it to its normal state. Apply a thin coat of it and gently rub it the same way you do on your hands.
5. Calendula Extract
Calendula extract is an efficient home remedy that comes from the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) plant. According to ASPCA, this plant is not toxic to canines. On the contrary, it offers great anti-inflammatory and healing properties for a range of health issues. When applied to a dog’s skin, the extract will soothe it and offer relief from pain, cracking, peeling, and itchiness. Some pet owners mix Calendula extract with olive oil to get even more powerful combination.
6. Omega Fatty Acids
Your dog’s diet plays an important role during the treatment of cracked paw pads. In addition to giving him more water, you want to ensure his diet consists of omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids have been known to calm inflammation, ease allergies, and most importantly, restore a dog’s natural oils. Ultimately, this does away with dryness and cracking. When getting omega fatty acid supplements, be wary of those with soy, grain, and gluten. These substances are highly toxic to dogs.
7. Natural Paw Balms
A paw balm is a pet owner’s best friend. It really goes a long way in hydrating your dog’s paw pads and generally shielding the paws from poisonous substances. Typically, a good paw balm contains natural ingredients such as lavender oil, beeswax oil, and olive oil, all of which contribute to healing in one way or the other. Avoid balms with zinc oxide, lidocaine, and diclofenac because they are toxic to dogs. We always recommend Musher’s Secret Paw Balm for our readers because it is formulated with natural ingredients, making it safe even if your dog licks some off.
8. CBD and Hemp Oil
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a newcomer in the world of pet parenting. Its healing effects have been used in humans for centuries but rarely in dogs. Now, the story is different. The magic natural healer interacts with your pup’s cannabinoid receptors located in his skin. This interaction helps bring your dog back to optimal health. CBD has anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and anti-nausea properties. It is such a wholesome topical solution that will give your canine friend a host of health benefits.
9. Olive Oil
The list of natural remedies for cracked paw pads is not complete without mentioning the magic nature’s miracle, olive oil. No doubt this substance comes with all ingredients for healing the skin. These include linoleic acid, oleic acid, and linolenic acid. Add a few ingredients such as omega fatty acids and vitamins A, E, and K and you have such a powerful natural remedy for cracked skin.
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Washing off cracked paws may seem simple but it is actually very efficient. By rinsing the pads with a damp cloth, you will remove irritants from it while moisturizing it. Be careful when rubbing as you can easily aggravate the injury further if you rub too hard. You might want to dunk the paws in the Epsom salt solution for five seconds or soak it for 20 seconds. After the soak, pat the paws pads dry. Aside from an Epsom bath, you can also use a mixture of water and vinegar/iodine/peppermint oil. Feel free to use any kind of bath for this process including a basin, bowl, a tiny kiddie pool or a bathtub.
Vaseline is a wonderful petroleum jelly that can soften cracked skin quite efficiently. If you have one at home, feel free to use it on your pup’s paw pads. Ensure the coat is thin as it can cause minor tummy upsets if your pup licks too much of it.
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12. Cupuacu Butter
From boosting the performance of a number of ingredients to moisturizing the skin to stabilizing emulsions, the Cupuacu butter is a powerful natural remedy for cracked paws. It also contains fatty acids that improve the texture and tone of the skin and restores it to its healthy state.
Wearing booties when stepping outside during winter is more like a prevention strategy but when your pup has cracked paw pads already, it becomes a necessary remedy. Despite having cracked paw pads, your pup still needs to get his daily dose of exercise. If he’s not in a lot of pain, use booties to prevent further injury. A number of dogs don’t fancy the idea of wearing booties during their walks but some don’t have a problem with them. Good luck getting yours to wear booties!
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Massaging your dog’s cracked skin can alleviate the pain and aid in healing. This is because it increases blood flow in his feet. Beware that some dogs can’t lie quietly during the massage. Be gentle and reassuring at first to get your dog used to it. If you do a good job, you will soon see results.
15. Take Precaution during Extreme Weather
Last but not least, when you see cracks in your dog’s paw pads, it means the weather conditions aren’t too favorable for your fur baby. To help him heal, you want to be careful when it comes to walking him. Refrain from letting him walk in the snow for long periods of time. If the temperature outside is under 320F, make sure he has his booties on and enough balm or oil in his pads. Additionally, shorten the time he spends outdoors. When the temperature dips even further, postpone the walk to another time.
Does your pooch have cracked paw pads? Try any of these cracked dog paws home remedies and watch him feel relief sooner rather than later. However, if the skin is very cracked, injured, or bleeding, let your vet assess the issue. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.