Caring For Your Dog's Dry and Cracked Paws

By December 29 | See Comments

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When we go for a run or hike with our dogs, we put on the best pair of sneakers we can rustle up. Dogs, on the other hand have built-in running shoes. Their paw pads provide traction and support apart from absorbing shock for their tendons, bones and ligaments. As a matter of fact, paw pads are a good indicator of your dog's overall health. Since the cells in the paw pads have the highest turnover rate. They need a lot of blood supply and nutrition. So, if something is wrong with your dog, it is likely to show up there first.

  • Injuries – If your dog is favoring one foot over the other, then it is easy to spot the exact location of a puncture or a cut that could have resulted from him stepping onto a sharp object or a thorn. Your dog can also develop an injury on his paw pad due to prolonged exercise, especially if he has been running around on hot or sharp surfaces. You will be able to notice a raw ulcer or loose skin at the bottom of the paws. If your dog develops from a split paw pad, then he might develop these wounds even without strenuous physical activity. Wash out the wound with a wet and warm cloth and place it on the affected area. Th moisture and warmth remove any surface debris and increase the blood flow to the injured tissues, thereby preventing infection. Air out the paw and cover the wound with a sock and secure it with sturdy tape. Make sure you don't apply the tape too tight and restrict the circulation. Schedule an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.
  • Liver issues – Liver disease can be caused by toxins, cancer, medications, viruses, bacteria or degenerative and autoimmune issues. It my manifest in the paw pad as a non-healing lesion that consists of chronic infections, thickening, crusting, ulcerations, erosions and blisters. The liver plays a significant role in digestion, metabolism and nutrient absorption. Since paw pads need good nutrition for cell regeneration, a compromised nutrient metabolism can affect them adversely. Depending on the cause of the liver damage, the treatment may include corticosteroids, surgery, special diets, antibiotics and nutritional supplements.
  • Allergies – They are the most common cause of chronic feet irritation. Allergies to mold, pollen, mites and certain food items can make your dog's feet itchy. In response, dogs chew and lick their skin, making it redder and itchier. Some dogs tend to chew so hard that they end up with infected skin. Once the vet has confirmed the source of the allergy, make sure that your dog stays away from it. In some cases, immunotherapy or medication might be used to decrease the severity of the allergic response.
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