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Jasmine is a 150 lb Presa Canario. We have noticed her paws getting very dried out and her nails very brittle. I started doing some research on the problems. Here are some of the solutions I have found to help. I purchased the Espree Paw Balm. The homemade Balm also did the same. It has done wonders making her paws feel softer but we still haven’t gotten to the root problem of what is causing it. Here is what I learned throughout my journey.

Things To Rule Out

Hyperkeratosis

If your dog’s paws have noticeable hairs growing on them, You may want to consult a vet and make sure it is not Hyperkeratosis is a skin condition that makes your dog’s paw pads thick and crusty. It’s often referred to as “hairy dog feet” because it causes your dog’s paws to look like they are growing a small layer of hair.

Endocrine issues

The most common canine endocrine issues that can affect a dog’s paws are Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. One of the most common causes of canine endocrine is a hormonal imbalance. If your vet suspects that your dog’s chronic paw pad lesions or infections stem from endocrine issues she will run a panel of tests.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can be managed with life-long thyroid hormone supplementation. Make sure you rule this out as well. Hypothyroidism is low levels of thyroid hormone.

Autoimmune Diseases

If your dog is excessively licking his paws or experiencing swollen or cracked, reoccurring lesions or blisters that spread to more than one paw it could be an autoimmune disease. You will notice the dryness or lesions spreading as a warning that there may be something wrong.

Liver Disease

This can be caused by toxins, medications, cancer, bacteria, viruses or autoimmune and degenerative issues. Liver disease may show in the paw pads as lesions that won’t heal and consist of chronic infections, crusting, thickening, erosions, ulcerations as well as blisters.

Injuries

Weather is another factor. Are you paying attention to how hot or cold the pavement maybe? Salts used in the winter can severely dry out the paw pads. In the summer you may see blisters or bleed from the hot cement. Make sure to always check the weather. Also, you can purchase cute booties in the winter for walking your dog. It not only is warmer for them, but it is also protecting them from the salts.

We have ruled out most of these however I am still checking into her diet. But I did find this product helpful for keeping her pads soft. You can also make shea butter yourself. The ingredients are edible so that if your dog does lick it off the paws you can be assured it shouldn’t harm them. This article is only to educate you on what I have learned so far and is not in any way veterinarian advice. So, please Always check with your vet first before applying anything on their paws.

Here is a recipe I was able to find on the OSPCA site.

Homemade Paw Balm

6, 1oz Heat safe tins

Small pot or double broiler

2 oz olive oil

2 oz coconut oil

1 oz shea butter*

4 tsp beeswax

*Be sure to use shea butter and not cocoa butter, as cocoa butter can be toxic to dogs.

Paw balm instructions

  1. In a small pot – or double boiler – over low heat, melt the oils, shea butter, and beeswax. Stir continuously until it’s all melted and well blended.
  2. Pour the mixture into the heat-safe tins.
  3. Let them cool on the counter until they harden.
  4. Cap and label.
  5. Keep away from extreme heat.
  6. Use within 1-2 years.

This recipe will make enough to fill approximately 21-24 standard lip balm tubes or 6-1 oz. tins.

If you walk your dog without any protective product applied, remember to wipe their paws with a warm towel once you come inside, and gently pat dry. This is to remove any excess salt and ice which can cause irritation if ingested.

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