What Is An Elbow Callus and What Causes Them?
Sometimes called pressure sores, dog elbow calluses can appear as a result of your dog’s body protecting the bone (the ulna) that protrudes from the leg. Continual trauma caused by your dog laying down on hard surfaces causes the skin to thicken in order to protect the bone. As a result of the thickening skin, the fur often falls out and the surface becomes coarse.
Tile, concrete, and hard dirt surfaces are the worst offenders on a dog’s elbow. Hardwood floors and carpet are less problematic in creating these callouses as they are softer or smoother on the fur. However, over time any surface has the potential to wear down the elbow and create a callus.
Large, heavy or giant-breeds are more prone to elbow calluses. Heavy coated breeds have less elbow callus issues since their thick coat softens the blow of the elbow on the ground.
The elbow is the most common site of calluses for dogs, but they also commonly develop on the hips, hocks, and along the sides of the legs.
Not only are elbow calluses unsightly and uncomfortable, they can ulcerate, become infected, or crack and bleed. While it’s not always possible to completely heal a callous, there are steps you can take help soothe and mitigate the effect of your dog’s rough elbows.
3 Ways To Heal or Prevent Elbow Calluses in Dogs
1. Soothe and moisturize the callus with a dog-safe elbow balm: There are several good products on the market that are designed specifically to soothe and moisturize a dog’s elbow. The best products contain a mixture of light oils for fast absorption, medium weight oils for longer relief, and heavy-weight butters for ultra-long lasting support. The brand we’ve personally used and recommend is Nature’s Butter.
2. Make sure to provide your dog with a soft and comfortable bed in multiple locations throughout your house: Dogs often want to be near us, so they will lie down in close proximity to where we are. Don’t forget about a bed for outdoors as well, if weather permits.
3. During warm months, consider a soft cooling pad if your dog prefers to lie on a hard floor: All too many dog owners have been frustrated that their pups no longer use their expensive beds during summer months, instead preferring the cool, ceramic tile or hardwood floor. If your pup does this, consider investing in a soft cooling pad.
Oftentimes, elbow calluses are simply not going to go away, and our job as thoughtful dog parents is simply to manage them and ensure they do not become too painful or cracked.
If your dog has an ulcerated, open, possibly infected sore on the callused area make sure you schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible.
To learn more about our favorite tool for soothing elbow calluses, click here.