How can I prevent and treat my dog’s cracked paws and is Vaseline safe to use?

Original Question: I've recently noticed that some of the pads on my dogs paws are cracked, some worse than others. I don't know if this is normal or because my apartment is very dry. I was wondering if using a moisturizer or Vaseline would help moisturize his paws or be harmful to him. Is there a product specifically for dogs? - Jessi

How can I prevent and treat my dog’s cracked paws and is Vaseline safe to use? Mar 5, 2018

Hi Jessi,

Thanks for your question.

There are a few things you can consider here and they’re pretty simple. You could consider buying some boots that would protect the paws while you’re out on a walk. This will prevent more damage to the epithelium that protects the toes. And yes, you can apply Vaseline to the pads and it will soften them up and make it more difficult for them to crack when they’re traumatized with activity. Many people will worry about the dog ingesting the Vaseline which can be dealt with in two ways. First, you can apply a thin layer to the pads to prevent excessive ingestion. You could also apply the boots after applying the Vaseline to prevent ingestion of it. But what I think is going to happen, is that when you first apply it, your dog may be interested in licking it, but then after further applications, their interest will diminish.

If you feel more comfortable you can choose an organic all natural topical skin ointment but do your research on the products ingredients before using. As I mentioned, using small quantities of Vaseline is safe.

Check out our article Cold Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets for more information about paw and skin protection.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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