How Do I Fix My Dog's Paw Pads That Are Dry Like Sandpaper?

A dog's paw pad functions like the tough sole of a shoe.
A dog's paw pad functions like the tough sole of a shoe. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

A dog's paw pad is the toughest part of its skin. This leathery skin protects the dog's paw from injury, like lacerations and burns, and absorbs shock from daily activity. While a dog's paw pad should never be excessively soft, it should also never be dry like coarse sandpaper. If the pad becomes overly dry, the skin can crack and split, inviting infection and debris into the paw. Pads with the texture of sandpaper can be avoided by applying moisturizing foot pad cream to your dog's skin.

Calm your dog by stroking it softly all over and move it into a comfortable lying down position.

Apply a 1/2-inch ribbon of foot pad cream, specifically formulated for dogs, to your finger.

Massage the product into your dog's dry paw pad with gentle, circular motions.

Keep your dog in a prone position for a few minutes to allow the cream to absorb into the pad's tissue.

Apply foot pad cream daily.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stop your dog from licking off foot pad cream before it completely absorbs into skin.
  • Foot pad cream can also be applied to your dog's dry elbows.
  • Do not apply hand moisturizer or creams formulated for humans to your dog's paw pad, as this can soften the paw too much and leave it vulnerable to injury.

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