How to Make Your Dog’s Pads Softer: 2022 FIRST AID Tips

Are your dog’s paw pads dry, cracked, or even bleeding? If your dog runs around outdoors a lot, or you live in a dry climate, your dog’s pads may show wear and tear.

Unfortunately, cracked and bleeding dog pads are prone to infections, so we like to get them healed and softened up as soon as possible.

This short guide will discuss how to make your dog’s pads softer and healthier!

How to Make Your Dog’s Pads Softer

healthy dog feet have soft pads and trimmed nails
Your dog doesn’t have to have scuffed and cracked paws.

To soften your dog’s pads, apply bag balm, vaseline, baby balm, or a paw balm from the pet store.

Use dog booties or a baby sock to keep them from slipping on the floor and to protect paws from further damage.

Use medical tape to keep the baby sock on your dog’s foot. If the pad is actively bleeding, use a cloth with warm clean water to wipe away fresh blood and dirt from the crack.

Apply a balm and cover the paw.

Read our related article on the Best Dog Booties where we test the top dog booties for your furry friend!

Why Do Dog Pads Get Dry, Crack, and Bleed?

Dog paws serve the same purpose as the soles of our feet, but most dogs don’t wear booties to protect their pads.

Pads can be cut by sharp gravel and rocks, burned by hot asphalt, and buffed away by sand. Try to avoid walking on sand, concrete, and asphalt with your dog in the heat of the day.

Winter road salt, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures cause dog paws to suffer from cold exposure, extreme dryness, and burns from salt.

Rinse your dog’s feet in lukewarm water after winter walks to get the salt off.

Your dog may walk through cleaners you use to clean your floors at home. Sometimes dogs have allergies to chemicals that cause eczema on their pads. Consider using pet-safe cleaners.

When you think about all the things your dog walks through, it’s no wonder his pads become dry, cracked, and sometimes painful.

How Can I Protect My Dog’s Pads?

Healthy dog pads
Dog pads should be moisturized to protect your dog’s feet from cracking and bleeding.

The best way to protect your dog’s pads is to be conscious of where he’s walking and avoid areas with sharp rocks and gravel.

When you must travel over harsh ground, put protective booties on your dog’s paws.

This is especially important in the winter. Most owners protect their dogs in extreme cold by giving them a winter coat when going out in harsh weather. However, the pads need the same protection.

Warm booties can make a big difference in the comfort and condition of your dog’s pads during the winter.

How to Make Dog Pads Softer Using Dog Paw Moisturizers

How To Make Your Dog Pads Softer
Coconut oil has great benefits for both human and dog skin and can certainly help to moisturize rough paw pads.

Even if your dog doesn’t have a problem with damaged and cracked pads, you should consider using a moisturizer to keep your dog’s pads in tip top shape.

Your dog’s pads are resilient, so with a little care his pads should heal and be as good as new. There are 2 types of moisturizers you can use for your dog’s pads.

  • Creams: Creams are easy to apply and are a good choice for dogs with dry skin. These absorb quickly, making them good for everyday use.
  • Balms: Balms are thicker than creams and provide more moisture. They are a good choice for dogs with cracked paws.

Most balms are okay to use on your dog’s pads, as long as you keep your dog from licking them off. If your dog wants to lick the balm off, then only use a dog-safe product from the pet store.

We have successfully used bag balm, baby diaper balm (Aquaphor), Lansinoh (purified lanolin cream), Vaseline, and paw balm to condition our dogs’ pads.

Secure a baby sock on the treated paws with medical tape. Make sure it isn’t wrapped so tightly it cuts off circulation from your dog’s foot.

This will keep your dog from licking off the treatment or making bleeding worse.

Final Thoughts

Most of us don’t think about our dog’s pads until they start limping or leaving a little trail of blood on the ground.

Dog pads can be healed, but it’s best to protect them from damage by keeping them moist and protected.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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