There are a few main methods for hardening your dog’s paws.
The easiest and most natural way to toughen your dog’s foot pads
The greatest technique to strengthen your dog’s paw pads is to take them for regular walks on concrete or asphalt.
Regularly walking your dog on hard, uneven surfaces will encourage the development of calluses on their paws, thickening the skin and assisting in preventing scrapes and punctures.
It’s like nature’s booties for dogs because a dog’s natural sanitary pads are incredibly strong and tough.
Given that you probably already take your dog on daily walks, this approach is the most natural and straightforward (or at least most days).
Making ensuring that a significant amount of the walks are on sidewalks, city streets, or paved trails is all that is necessary to harden their foot pads.
You can also use a dog paw pad strengthener to help your dog’s food pads become tougher
For dogs who require strong and resilient paw pads, there are products available on the market.
I’m not referring to your typical paw balm. These are intended to soften and moisturize, which may be detrimental to your health.
While you do not want to soften your dog’s paw pads, you do want to keep them moist enough to prevent cracking and keep them flexible.
To strengthen the paw pads on your dog, you should use a substance that is especially made for that purpose.
Tuf-Foot for Dogs
Tuf-Foot for dogs has consistently been regarded as the best product for strengthening dog paw pads.
We’ve only had foot pad troubles a handful of times during the hundreds of excursions my dogs and I have taken in the past 15 years.
But because I wanted to see how Tuf-foot for dogs worked and because I was interested in doing a 75-mile trip with my dog, I got some to try.
You can spray Tuf-Foot on your dog’s paw pads to treat them. You can spray it on your hand first, then massage it on your dog’s feet if the sound and feel of spraying terrifies it.
According to Tuf-Foot liquid paw protection,
- It is the only foot-specific preparation available.
- It will definitely toughen delicate, painful, cracked, and mushy feet.
- It shields the feet from bruising and pain.
Isopropyl alcohol, balsam Peru, tincture of benzoin, and less than 5% acetone make up the ingredients in Tuf-Foot.
The spray contains Tincture of Benzoin, which is used to make the skin tacky so bandage tape clings better, as well as Peru balsam, an oily sap, even though it is not a resin per se.
Athletes also use Benzoin tincture because it is known to toughen skin.
I did see that it slightly made my dog’s pads tacky, but not so much that dirt and needles would attach to them.
According to the Tuf-Foot application directions, apply twice weekly if the feet are in good condition and everyday after that.
My dog’s paws only received a few applications of Tuff-Foot, but it did seem to give the skin a little more tenacity.
Two key points regarding this product:
- Let the product dry on your dog’s feet before allowing them to walk around the home because it can stain fabrics and carpet (it dried withink 10 seconds).
- If it enters the mouth, it won’t cause any harm. The composition for quick drying dissolves quickly, and any residue that is left behind is harmless. If a significant amount was consumed directly, you should seek medical help right once.
Pad-Tough for Dogs
I only recently learned about Pad-Tough for dogs, which is also made to strengthen and toughen a dog’s paw pads.
Product claims for Pad-Tough:
- strengthens elbows and foot pads
- helps shield skin from abrasions and sores
- helps with healing
Isopropyl Alcohol, Purified Water, Comfrey Extract, Ethyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Benzoin, Storax, Tolu Balsam, and Aloe Vera are the ingredients in Pad-Tough, which are nearly identical to the ingredients in Tuf-Foot.
The main distinction is that Balsam Peru and Storax are both types of resin, but Pad-Tough uses Storax instead.
Apply Pad-Tough liberally on pads before participating in field tests, competitions, hunting, or other strenuous activities, according to the product’s application instructions.
The main difference, in my opinion, is that my dog’s paw pads didn’t appear to be left with a light layer that was sticky.
While I can’t say for sure that this discrepancy will render Pad-Tough less effective, it did make me personally less confident in it.
According to the product caution, Pad-Tough should not be ingested. No other information was given.
However, WebMd claims that Storax is safe for use in humans when used as prescribed.
However, avoid ingesting excessive doses or applying a lot to exposed wounds. Kidney damage is one of the significant side effects that may result (in humans).
Dogs and Storax are a subject on which there is very little information, although I did locate evidence suggesting that some dogs may have diarrhea after ingesting the resin.
It’s better to wait until the spray has dried before letting your dog lick his or her paws alone.
Because of how similar the color and characteristics of Pad-Tough are to those of Tuf-Foot, I suppose it will likewise stain carpet and clothing, which is another reason to wait until it has dried before allowing your dog out to explore.
How do you make a dog’s paw rough?
The dog should be regularly walked or run on unforgiving surfaces like concrete or asphalt until the pads begin to harden. Pea gravel spread over the ground of the dog’s outside kennel will also help the pads become more resilient.
How do I train my dog to be tougher?
When a dog exhibits fearful behaviors in response to a noise-related incident, it is said that the dog has a noise phobia or fear. Try feeding your dog while you’re cooking or cleaning to help train them to remain calm in noisy settings. In times of stress or fear, not many dogs like eating. You should stop cleaning if your dog responds to the sounds. The exercise must advance and modify based on the dogs’ responses. The dread of loudness is gradually fading, though, if your dog remains quiet and consumes the food without incident. In order to give this activity to your dog at a volume that won’t immediately terrify him, you should constantly be aware that the sound you use is controllable.
How can I moisturize my dog’s paw pads?
More of the world is visible to your dog’s paws than to his eyes. He moves about both inside and outside on surfaces including grass, dirt, rocks, concrete, and asphalt. His paws guide him everywhere he goes.
Due to the fact that they spend a lot of time outdoors walking on various surfaces, your dog’s paw pads are usually quite rough. This rough, dry skin on the canine paw pads can crack, become irritated, and become extremely sensitive. Your dog could find it difficult and uncomfortable to walk because of this.
By giving your dog some attention, you can condition their paw pads. This paw pad conditioning can soften your dog’s pads for a more gentle touch and assist in healing hairline fissures in this thick, tough skin.
Take things calm and easy if your pup is wary because he might not love having his paws stroked if he isn’t used to being coddled. If you apply conditioner or oil to your dog’s paw pads, make sure it’s safe for him to lick off because he’ll probably do so after you’re done. Always thank your dog for the time you spend caring for his paws by giving him a sweet treat at the end of each grooming session.
The Coconut Oil Massage Method
With a soft, clean cloth and a bowl of warm water, tidy up your workspace. A small bit of coconut oil is also required, and a dry towel is helpful for cleaning up spills. During and after his coconut oil massage, your dog will enjoy some delectable treats.
Prepare your dog for a relaxing foot massage by making them comfy. Lay him out on his plush, cozy bedding on a counter or the ground. Doing this at the end of the day when your dog is already sleepy may be a smart option.
Clean each paw by dipping your dry, clean washcloth into your basin of warm water. The areas between your dog’s toes and the pads of his paws should be cleaned.
You might think about using clippers or scissors to trim the fur on your dog’s paws. When his conditioning is finished, this will assist reveal his paw pads and give him a neat appearance.
Put a generous amount of coconut oil on each paw of your dog. Gently rub the oil into your dog’s paw pads’ dry crevices.
Massage the oil into the pads of each paw for a little while. In the event that your dog decides he has to lick his paws, coconut oil is safe for him to consume. Additionally, it will aid in eliminating yeast or bacteria.
Finish with something tasty. If you give your dog a massage immediately before bed, they will be calm and prepared for sleep when you leave them alone. All night long, the coconut oil can be left on his paws to condition dry, cracked regions, treat wounds, and soften his delicate paw pads.
The Soak and Condition Method
Prepare a bowl with some Epsom salts and warm water. Four gentle washcloths and paw conditioner for your dog are required. You can either use petroleum jelly, coconut oil, or olive oil straight from your kitchen, or you can buy wax paw pad conditioners at your neighborhood pet store.
Warm water and Epsom salts should be prepared in a bowl. Your soft washcloths should be soaked for a few minutes in the bowl of Epsom salt water. A soft, damp cloth should be wrapped around each of your dog’s paws after ringing out any extra water. For at least 10 minutes, leave these damp towels on your dog’s paws. You can also place each paw in a dish of warm Epsom salt water to soak them.
Pick a conditioner that is suitable for the size and condition of your dog’s paw pads. You might think about using a wax-based pad conditioner if your dog spends a lot of time outside during the winter. Olive oil, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly will work to soften the pads and relieve minor cracks, scrapes, and cuts if you are only conditioning his pads on a weekly basis.
Every paw pad should have your conditioner on it. Apply the product to each of his toe pads and his major paw pad as you work with each foot separately. Watch out for any significant cracks. Apply liberally, then give it time to absorb into your dog’s skin.
Your dog’s paws can be covered with socks, gauze, or a dry cloth. Before letting your dog to move, let the conditioner stay on its paw pads for at least 10 minutes.
You can use your cloth to wipe off any excess conditioner after giving your dog’s paw pads some chance to absorb it.
Always give your dog a delectable treat after a fast grooming session as a reward for their good manners, patience, and tolerance.
Caution & Considerations
- The paw pads on your dog are likely delicate and sensitive to touch if they are rough, scaly, or may have hairline fractures.
- The paw pads of your dog will benefit from conditioning to help these cracks mend and relieve pain.
- Most of the world is seen by your dog’s paws. Conditioning them will help to keep them safe, but be careful not to make them too supple. Avoid over-conditioning.
- To treat your dog’s paws, you do not need to give him a full bath.
- Giving your dog a pedicure while doing paw pad conditioning treatments can be entertaining.
- Epsom salt and warm water can be used to soften the skin on your dog’s paws before conditioning.
- While you’re working on your dog’s paws, think about clipping his nails.
- To prevent your dog from removing the conditioner product from his paw pads, think about conditioning them before night. After treating the dog’s paws, letting him rest will give the conditioner time to penetrate the skin and mend minor cuts and fissures.
- Consider inspecting your dog’s paw pads for cuts, cracks, and injuries at least once per week, if not more frequently. Keep in mind that your dog’s paws can get wounded, irritated, or uncomfortable very fast since they are always moving.
- Even though you can apply petroleum jelly to your dog’s paw pads to condition them, you should think about how frequently your dog licks his paws and what he might be eating. Over-licking of petroleum jelly, vitamin E, or therapeutic conditioners might not be safe for your dog.
Give your dog’s paws the pampering they deserve with a deep conditioner like organic coconut oil, which works to soothe dried-out dog paws while eradicating bacteria and yeast. Regular home paw pad conditioning treatments will provide your dog’s paws the comfort and ease they need to navigate the world.
Grooming Questions & Answers
What kind of lotion should I use to dry, cracked paw pads? Vaseline is ineffective; I’ve tried it before. I require a substance with the same durability as that which groomers use to trim my nails.
I appreciate you asking about Nala’s paws. You can always give your groomer a call to find out what products they use, or ask your veterinarian for a trusted referral. The product Musher’s Secret is well recognized for having vitamin E and 100% natural waxes. Musher’s wax simultaneously soothes and protects dry skin. Always be sure to shield Nala’s paws from chemicals on the ice or grass or from heated pavement. Good fortune!
What can I use to prevent cracking on my dog’s pads?
If your poor dog’s paws continue to be an issue despite your best efforts, consider taking matters into your own hands. According to Dimock, both coconut oil and vitamin E oil can be used to treat damaged dog paws. Dimock suggests Bag Balm as a “over-the-counter” topical paw balm option. Make sure your dog doesn’t lick the product off by putting a thin layer of the remedy on the troublesome locations.
Before taking your dog outside, you should coat its paws with wax-based petroleum and lanolin treatments to protect them from the cold and ice, advises the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Your veterinarian is your finest source of information when in doubt. Inquire if they can suggest a product that will best support the health of your dog’s paw pads.