Canine paw pad hyperkeratosis isn’t life threatening and it’s not always easy to identify, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Hyperkeratosis is a condition where the skin on a dog’s nose or paw pads becomes especially thick and hard. It can cause painful callouses, and foot pad hyperkeratosis is often called “hairy dog feet” because of the way the skin cracks and separates. It can lead to infections, lameness, and general discomfort, and while there is no cure, treatment is important.
The key to treating a dog’s hyperkeratosis is consistency. You need to find something that is completely safe and natural and commit to a regular treatment plan. It won’t happen overnight, but there are a few natural remedies that have been proven to have long-lasting benefits. Here’s what you should try with your dog.
The hard, crusty shell of hyperkeratosis is made up of keratin. You probably recognize the word from your shampoo bottle, but keratin is also an essential protein that makes up the outer layer of skin in both humans and dogs. Hyperkeratosis is when the body produces too much keratin. For relief, you need to find a way to soften the excess keratin. Steam is one of the easiest ways to do that.
If you’ve ever been to a sauna, you know how soft and smooth your skin can feel after sitting in a room full of steam. Your dog’s skin will benefit in similar ways to a sauna experience. Finding a dog-friendly spa will be difficult, but you can treat your pooch to a DIY spa experience right in your bathroom. All you have to do is run the hot water in the shower until the bathroom is nice and steamy. Leave the exhaust fan off, and let your pup relax in the steam-filled room. The moisture in the air will penetrate your dog’s skin and soften the hardened keratin. Doing this on a regular basis will keep your dog’s skin supple and comfortable.
2. Dog Socks
Foot pad hyperkeratosis can make walking extremely painful. The hardened skin on the paw pads makes every step uncomfortable, and as the condition worsens, you’ll notice your dog limping whenever they try to move around. Because hyperkeratosis makes their feet especially sensitive, walking on certain surfaces aggravates their condition. Rough ground like rocks and hardened dirt hurt their feet, and the temperature can also cause further pain and irritation. A hot sidewalk or icy walkway will make their hyperkeratosis worse.
Having your dog wear dog boots or socks won’t cure their hyperkeratosis, but it will prevent it from getting worse. Choose a type of doggy footwear that is comfortable and protects sensitive paws. A heavy-duty boot will be best for outdoor adventures, and when your pup is walking around inside, they should wear comfortable socks with rubber grips on the bottom to keep them from slipping.
3. Shea Butter
People use shea butter to moisturize and soften dry skin, and it also works on dogs. Not every moisturizing product is safe for dogs, but shea butter is an all-natural compound that doesn’t harm pets. Pure, organic shea butter can be applied directly to a dog’s paws and nose. Most curious pups will try and lick the mysterious substance off, and as long as they don’t consume large quantities, you don’t need to worry about them getting sick.
You’ll see the best results, however, if you distract your pup’s licker long enough for the moisturizer to work its magic. Try enticing your pup with a favorite toy or long-lasting treat while you apply small amounts of shea butter to their dry skin. You can safely use it on their nose, elbows, and paw pads.
4. Natural Balms
Shea butter is good on its own, but it’s even better when it’s combined with other ingredients to make an all-natural balm. When you find the right brand, regularly applying a balm to your dog’s hyperkeratosis will keep their dry skin under control. It’s like putting chap stick on your dried lips; it provides instant relief with long-term benefits. (there are many great dog nose balms on Amazon)
Related: What the heck is dog paw hyperkeratosis?
Before you purchase the first balm you find, you need to know which ingredients are safe and which you want to stay away from. Shea butter, olive oil, beeswax, coconut oil, and avocado oil are all safe for dogs. You want to avoid products that list toxic substances like zinc oxide, calamine lotion, calcipotriene, and lidocaine as ingredients.
Search Amazon for “Dog Nose Balms”
Search Amazon for “Dog Nose Balms”
Sources: Canine Journal, Top Dog Tips
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.