Are dogs paw pads supposed to be rough?

A healthy paw pad should be smooth to the touch and free of all abrasions. Rough paw pads can be very uncomfortable for your pup, sometimes even leading to compulsive licking—often making the problem worse. If you notice your dog has rough or dry paw pads, it’s time for some all-natural, moisturizing relief.

The paw pads on your dog’s feet have an important job to do: they cushion her steps and shield her feet from harsh weather and terrain. They are slightly rough to the touch by nature, but if you notice them feeling excessively rough, cracking, or bleeding, it’s time to investigate the cause.

Her pads won’t be as smooth as a whistle because they are always between a dog and the ground. To protect your princess’s feet, the pads become rough and thick, much like calluses you get from walking around barefoot. It’s probably normal if you rub your puppy’s foot and feel some texture on the pads.

It’s not normal for your dog’s pads when you can feel flakes of skin or see cracks forming. She probably came into contact with something that her pads couldn’t handle, like unusually hot concrete, icy snow, or rough terrain. Consider the recent changes in your walks to try and identify the source of her too-rough pads. If the dog is older, her skin may be drying out due to aging.

Too rough or cracked pads can develop deep fissures that bleed, allowing bacteria to enter and inflicting great pain on your poor animal friend. Treat her paws right away if you see any flaking or cracks in the skin. Your veterinarian can suggest a moisturizer for your paw pads that you can use several times per day to help lessen the roughness. Princess’ paw pads should heal for a few days, so keep her away from rough surfaces.

Trim any hair between Princess’ toes on a regular basis to keep her paw pads healthy; if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, have your groomer take care of it. Your dog’s traction may be hampered and her paw pads may crack if hair grows long enough to get between them and the ground. Long hair can trap debris and burrs, which can irritate her foot pads. Put dog booties on your dog’s feet in arid conditions. The soft, flexible rubber bottoms may not be the sexiest, but they protect her pads from damaging surfaces like rocks and extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Before making any dietary, medication, or exercise changes for your pet, always consult your veterinarian. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

Cracked Dog Paw Pad Treatment and Home Remedies

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, coconut oil and vitamin E oil can both be used to treat cracked dog paws. Dimock suggests Bag Balm as an “over-the-counter” topical paw balm option. Make sure to apply a thin layer of the remedy to the troubled areas and that your dog does not lick it off.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, wax-based petroleum and lanolin products may be applied to your dogs paws before heading outdoors to protect from cold and ice.

When in doubt, your veterinarian is your best resource. Ask them to suggest a product that will benefit your dog’s paw pads the most.

Dont allow cracked dog paws to go untreated. Consistent at-home care may not always be the solution. Cracked paws can cause pain, lameness, and infection if they are not treated, according to Dimock. Bring your dog in if you notice any lameness, persistent licking or chewing, or changes in the way the pads look. “.

Your dog’s cracked paws may, in rare cases, be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as an autoimmune disorder, previous exposure to the canine distemper virus, or a skin condition like hyperkeratosis. Although dogs with hyperkeratosis may not always experience pain and may not show any symptoms, the condition is characterized by rough, hairy pads, according to Dimock. If you suspect an underlying condition, your veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests.

Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best ways to treat any burns or frostbite that your pet may have sustained due to exposure to high temperatures on their paw pads. Deep burns or frostbite can take about a month to recover from, whereas superficial pad injuries may take a couple of weeks.

The digital, metacarpal, and metatarsal pads of the paw are primarily in charge of absorbing shock. The shock is reduced by the paw pads, which also protect the dog’s joints and bones. The metacarpal pad shields the feet from harsh terrain, enables dogs to recognize different types of terrain, and provides protection from extreme heat or cold. Similar to the human heel, the carpal pad can serve as a type of brake. When a dog walks, its carpal pad, which is shaped like a cone, doesn’t touch the ground. However, if your dog is running quickly or changing directions (think: agility or zoomies), the carpal pads may make contact with the ground, aiding in stopping and turning.

The inner layer of the paw has sweat glands, while the outer, fatty layer prevents the paw from freezing in cold weather. In hotter weather, these glands achieve the opposite; they force perspiration to the skin’s outer layer, cooling a dog. Additionally, by moving the perspiration, the paw pads are kept from drying out.

With all that fur, it’s understandable how dogs’ bodies can stay warm in chilly climates. But have you ever thought about how dogs seem to be able to walk around in the snow and in chilly conditions seemingly comfortably while our bare feet wouldn’t last more than a few seconds? Paws do have all that adipose tissue which inhibits freezing. However, Japanese researchers recently discovered that dogs also have a unique circulatory system that prevents paws from freezing and contributes to the overall warmth of the dog. They discovered that the footpads of dogs have arteries close to the veins, allowing heat to be conducted from one blood vessel to another. This heat exchange system keeps the dog’s paws and internal organs at a constant temperature by heating blood that has come into contact with a cold surface before returning it to the body. This system, which is also present in dolphins and penguins, suggests that dogs have a cold-weather ancestry.

If you’re going on a long hike through rocky, rough terrain, you might also want to think about wearing a bootie. Again, if hiking with your dog is a new activity for you, you should start out slowly to give their feet time to adjust. But if you’re hiking through extremely rough terrain, you can keep an eye on your dog over time to see if they might benefit from some additional protection.

Paws perform a number of vital tasks that we humans may take for granted. They are designed for walking, running, playing fetch, stretching, and high-fiving, among other things. However, a dog’s paws’ intricate design also aids in temperature regulation, offers protection from rough terrain, and enhances stability when licking a bone or a toy.

She enjoys reading, hiking with her two Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and paddleboarding when she’s not obsessing over dogs.

Cathy holds the CPDT-KA and CBCC-KA certifications from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. Cathy is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild, and the Dog Writers Association of America. She is also a Fear Free Certified Certified Professional.

Our goal is to use our educational materials to help save the lives of dogs and cats. To support our efforts, this page may contain affiliate links. With no additional cost to you, we receive a commission for qualifying purchases.

As Preventive Vets dog behavior expert and lead trainer at Pupstanding Academy, Cathy focuses on helping humans and their pets build a strong relationship based on trust, clear communication, and the use of positive reinforcement and force-free methods. With over 13 years of experience, she has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of dogs on a wide variety of training and behavior issues. Her specialties include dog aggression, resource guarding, separation anxiety, and puppy socialization.


Why are the pads of my dogs feet rough?

Depending on the terrain your dog frequently walks on, you might notice that your dog’s paw pads are either smooth and soft or rough and calloused. Your dog’s paw pads will become more calloused if you frequently take them on hikes or regular walks on asphalt because of the exposure to rougher terrain.

How do you treat rough dog pads?

Keep Paws Groomed:
  1. Keep Nails Trimmed. …
  2. Trim Hair Between Paw Pads. …
  3. Do Regular Paw Checks. …
  4. Moisturize and Massage. …
  5. Ease Into Outdoor Exercise. …
  6. Protect Dog Paws in Winter. …
  7. Protect Dog Paws in Summer. …
  8. Watch for Excessive Licking and Chewing.

Do rough paw pads hurt dogs?

Experiencing contact irritation from rough surfaces can make the paws feel funny, itchy, or inflamed, which can cause further damage by self-mutilating, explains Dr. Margolin. Because of the sensations, dogs frequently over-chew or lick their paws, which results in cracked paws, according to Dr.