Dog Paws Rough and Cracked?

Help! Why are my dog’s paws rough and cracked?

We hear this question throughout the year. It’s common for dog paws to become dry, rough, or even cracked for a variety of reasons. And that can leave your canine friend compulsively nibbling and licking its paws for relief — often making the problem worse.

If you notice your dog has rough or dry paw pads, the best thing you can do is provide natural, moisturizing relief. All-natural ingredients are vital because dogs often lick their paws. If your dog ingests toxic ingredients, he or she could become agitated or sick.

Meet Paw Soother®: An all-natural remedy for rough paw pads

Your dog’s paw pads play an essential role in their everyday life. They’re made specifically to protect canine paws against the elements. But that doesn’t mean they can stand up to everything.

That’s why we developed Paw Soother®: a specially formulated, herbal-based treatment meant to soothe, moisturize, heal, and protect your dog’s paws from the elements. Try Paw Soother® risk-free!

Take a look at the all-natural ingredients found in Paw Soother:
Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Nut Butter, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Hempseed Oil, Candelilla Wax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Natural Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract.


Dogs depend on their paws to get everywhere, what do your dog’s paws feel like?

What Causes Dry Paw Pads?

Most of the time, dry dog pads can be traced back to four environmental causes: hot pavement, wintery conditions, exposure to chemicals, and allergies.  

Hot weather (and pavement)

During the summertime, the heat of the concrete can damage the skin on the bottom of your dog’s paws. To avoid blistered paws, walk your dog before the sun has a chance to heat the concrete, or after the sun has cooled down. If your dog loves running on the beach, sand and salt water are two other elements that can damage paw pads.

Cold weather and dry air

The cold air and low moisture that often results from heating our homes can dry out your dog’s paws. According to Cesar Milan’s blog, “Winter can be tough on our dog’s feet, but good grooming and protecting the paws by using a balm or booties will go a long way to keeping your dog’s feet healthy.”

Exposure to irritating chemicals

In winter, roads and sidewalks may be covered with de-icing salts. In summer, gardens abound with fertilizers. Even household cleaners can contain questionable ingredients. Not only are some of those chemicals toxic to your dog’s skin; they’re also ingested when your dog licks its paws. Remember: Make sure to wipe off your dog’s paws after a walk to remove potentially harmful chemicals.


Just like humans, many dogs suffer from environmental and food allergies. These allergies can make their paws itch. And then the scratching and nibbling starts, which can cause cracks, open wounds, and sometimes infections.

A Dog’s Pads Are An Important Indicator Of Overall Health


Mr. Diesel says, “Look at my smooth paw pads!” Follow on Insta @ _MrDiesel_

Veterinarian Dr. Donna Raditic told PetMD says that a dog’s paw pads can also be an important indication of your dog’s overall health.

“The cells in a dog’s paw pads have a high turnover rate. They require a lot of nutrition and a lot of blood supply. If something isn’t perfect in the body it can show up there first. But we tend not to think that way. It can take something drastic before we notice there’s something wrong with our dog’s health.” — Dr. Donna Raditic, DVM, DACVN, CVA

If you regularly moisturize your dog’s paws without seeing any improvement, it’s time to call your vet. Certain types of liver disease, dermatologic issues, and metabolic issues could be at play.

Dry paws can be a symptom of hyperkeratosis

Cracked paws can be the result of a condition called hyperkeratosis. Hyperkeratosis occurs when the skin produces too much keratin. That makes the skin on the paw pads, as well as other parts of the body, thick and callous-like.

Dry Paw FAQs


All breeds of dogs are prone to rough, cracked paw pads. Thankfully, Paw Soother is here to help!

Are dog pads supposed to be rough?

It’s entirely normal for a dog to develop rough paws, but they shouldn’t stay that way. Instead, a healthy paw pad should be smooth to the touch and free of all abrasions.

Over time, dog paws build up a tolerance and become stronger. But once paw pads are rough and dry it’s hard for them to heal if they are routinely exposed to the same irritant.

Can I put Neosporin on my dog’s paw?

Neosporin is technically safe for pets, but we don’t recommend using it anywhere your dog is likely to lick, including the paws. Ingesting small amounts of Neosporin won’t do any permanent damage, but it can kill healthy gut bacteria. The result: Your dog might vomit or have diarrhea. Use a natural moisturizer instead, like Paw Soother®.

“A second potential cause of GI upset would be the lubricant base,” says Dr. Danel Grimmett, a veterinarian with Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma. Ingesting that “could also give them diarrhea, etc.”

How do I treat a yeast infection on my dog’s paws?

For serious infections, veterinarians usually prescribe oral and topical antifungal medications. But in many cases, natural treatment is a great place to start.

Is it normal for dogs paw pads to peel?

A little bit of peeling is nothing to worry about — it’s part of a paw’s normal wear. Paw moisturizers are great for this type of scenario. But if your dog doesn’t want to put weight on the paw, or licks it obsessively, take a closer look for lacerations, burns, or signs of infection (redness and swelling). Those types of injuries may require cleaning and antibacterial treatment from your vet.