Ask Seth: Hard Paws

Hi, my name is Bonnie.

My dog is an 8 year old Australian Shepard. He is very smart and loyal and he’s the second dog I have had. He weighs 75-80 lbs. He loves to get a bath, which is about every 4-6 weeks. I do it myself and I have noticed his back paw pads are hard and very rough. What is happening and what should I do? Thank you, Bon

Dog paw pads are designed to be protective and a shock absorber for the dog during activities.  These will become thicker the more active the animal is, so I am not surprised that they are hard and rough.  As long as he is not in pain and not bleeding, this should be fine.  You can apply ointments like “Bag Balm” or lanolin cream to help with the cracking, but be aware that these are oil based and stain anything it comes in contact with.  The cracking can become worse during and after the winter due to contact with chemicals used to melt ice.    After walking a dog in an ice melt treated area, you should always wash the paws in warm water to remove chemicals.  Discuss your concerns with your vet since in some cases it could be a yeast infection or hyperkeratosis (excess growth of the pad).

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