Why to NOT Soften Your Dog’s Paw Pads

In June 1, 2017


I’m finally doing a blog on this subject because, invariably, I get questions about this several times a month.

Our dog’s paw pads were MEANT to be tough….if you soften them, then they will get stone bruises, burns from asphalt, and cuts. I cannot stress enough how much you need to let Mother Nature take care of your dog’s pads. They may bother you, but they are ESSENTIAL for your dog.  Do NOT use paw softening products. Pet products companies will be happy to take your money to make YOU happy, but your dog will suffer as a result. Sure he loves it, they love when you give them attention by rubbing their pads, but the poor guy is going to be in pain, eventually, for the reasons above, or end up in a vet hospital with injuries or a limp (from stone bruises) that you think is a joint issue–and there may be a misdiagnosis as a result. The most RECENT “Ah-HAH!” moment I had concerning this was while walking on our icy road. My husband and I were walking on pure ice and had our “Yaktrax” on our shoes, but meanwhile, our labs were running along, just fine, not slipping at all. I thought about how I run my fingers over my dog’s pads and I feel that rough row of ridges there. They help keep them from slipping (along with the sweating of the paw that adds extra traction) and thus prevents hyperextension and a possible ACL tear. Now, I would not “tempt fate” by running your dog on ice. I’d recommend keeping them off it if at all possible or consider some of the ‘boots’ available (see picture below at the bottom of this page).

Dog paws are as vulnerable as human feet, and like ours, they need to be taken care of and pampered. A human wouldn’t walk across a hot parking lot or a snowy, salted parking lot. A paw pad also needs to be checked for a myriad of issues that should be addressed, including nail length, cracked pads (only deep, sore cracks need to be tended to) and foreign objects wedged in between paw pads. Keeping hair trimmed between toes is necessary to prevent matting there—or causing ingrown hairs that can lead to interdigital cysts.

I DO highly recommend a “Toughing Pad” product to prevent damage in the first place, if you are walking on super hot pavement or salted sidewalks or stoney ground, such as the one pictured below, available on Amazon.


A lot of you have been asking about protective boots in this very harsh frigid weather. I researched to find the best-rated boots (by “Pet Life Today”) and this is what I found: “Ruffwear grabs another spot on our list with these ultra-durable Polar Trex dog boots. If you live where winters get extreme, try these ultra-comfortable, three-layer, soft-shell uppers – DWR-coated to be wind-resistant, weather-resistant, and yet still breathable.” I found them on sale (20% off) here:
See below:


Watch my Youtube video on this subject HERE


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