Dog Dry Skin – Why Your Dog Has Cracked And Dry Paw Pads

Posted 27/12/2010 by
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dry cracked paw pads1 Dog Dry Skin   Why Your Dog Has Cracked And Dry Paw Pads

I need to moisturize my split pads

Dog dry skin can happen to your doggy’s paw pads too.

That’s because a dog’s paw pad is made of an outer layer of very thick, rough skin. This thick, spongy skin provides traction and plays the role of shock absorber whenever a dog runs, jumps, or skids to a stop. Thus, the pads help to prevent injuries or abrasions to the paws.

Nevertheless, even though the paw pads are tough and hardy, your dog is still susceptible to sore or cracked pads at some point.

You see, a dog walks on its toes, not on the soles of his feet. And a dog’s heels never touch the ground. In other words, he walks bare toe all the time. Hence, the pads are constantly exposed to the elements, as well as dirt and grime.

A dry and cracked foot pad can cause some discomfort to your doggy. Some dogs will let you know. But some would still happily go about their daily routine without a complaint. So, it is up to you to examine his feet on a regular basis. And ensure his feet is in good condition.

Signs of foot trouble

  • Very dry pads
  • Split or cut on the paw pads
  • Whining
  • Constantly licking or chewing his paws
  • Favoring one foot (carrying it as if it hurts)
  • Limping
  • Avoid walking

What might have caused the paw pads to be dry and cracked?

1. Dry Skin

When the paw pads are too dry, they can develop cracks. Just like the soles of human feet. When the skin gets too dry, we could end up with chapped or cracked heels.

2. Where You Walk The Dog

Rain or shine, dogs look forward to their walky. Just be mindful to stay off hot pavement and sidewalk in the summer. Cement and asphalt can become unbearably hot after a day of 37C (100F) temperature.

Take precautionary measures when you and your dog go on a long walk or hike. Rough terrain and rocky paths can cause soreness or injuries to exposed paws. Ensure that he has paw protection for burrs, sharp rocks, or broken glasses.

3. Contact Irritation

Some chemicals or detergent can cause irritations to the pet’s paws if your dog happened to walk on them.

  • Household cleaning agents(eg rug shampoo or floor cleaners)
  • Lawn chemicals
  • Garden fertilizers
  • Oil in the street
  • Salt (as deicer)

4. Allergens

Dog food allergies or inhalant allergies can cause intense itch to your dog’s skin, ears and feet. To alleviate the itchiness, your dog chews at his paws, which could result in very sore, or cracked pads in the long run.

5. Fungal Infection

Dogs can develop foot fungal infection. One common type of infection is malassezia, which is caused by an yeast overgrowth. This condition can be very itchy for your pet. As a result, your dog can be constantly chewing or licking at the irritated paw. This self mutilation can cause the paw pads to crack.

The veterinarian may prescribe medicated shampoo along with anti-fungal cream to eliminate the infection.

6. Winter Hazards

Paws become unusually dry and cracked during the cold, dry winter months. Ice and snow can re-freeze in between the toes or paw pads making it painful for the dog to walk. Often, de-icing chemicals and road salt aggravate the condition. These agents irritate the paw pads, cause dryness, resulting in split pads.

7. Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis

Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis is a condition where keratin(thickened, hard, dry skin) forms excessively on top of the dog’s nose, paw pads, or both.

This callus-like growth is common in older dogs. At times, a tear duct blockage may contribute to the cause. In severe cases, the thickened paw pads fissure or crack.

Although it is incurable, the symptoms can be managed by hydrating the affected area. The veterinarian may prescribe a softening agent for the condition

8. Zinc Deficiency

A zinc deficiency can lead to poor condition in the paw pads.

Dogs can develop zinc deficiency due to:

  • An inherent defect to absorb zinc from the intestinal tract — Some known breeds are Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.
  • A diet low in zinc — This can happen if you feed poor quality generic dog food.
  • Mineral interference — High dietary calcium intake reduces zinc absorption

The paw pads may be thickened and fissured. Zinc deficiency is often accompanied by other symptoms such as dull hair coat, hair loss, and crusty or scaly skin around the dog’s eyes, mouth, or ears. Secondary bacterial and yeast infection can set in.

Take care of the paw pads

Your dog’s paw pads may be thick and resilient. However, they are still vulnerable to excessive wear and tear. From time to time, the pads may cracked due to dryness, contact irritants, allergies, fungal infection, or the harsh winter elements.

Although less common, conditions like Nasodigital Keratosis and dietary zinc deficiency can also lead to split pads problems.

If your dog already has dry, flaky skin, check his pads to ensure that they are not overly dry and fissured. Consider using a dog balm to help protect and condition the paw pads to keep them healthy.

mushers secret paw wax 150x150 Dog Dry Skin   Why Your Dog Has Cracked And Dry Paw Pads

If you want to keep the paws healthy, apply Musher’s Secret paw wax on the pads and between the toes. It protects paws against sand burn and hot pavement in summer, and prevents snowballing and salt burn on your dog’s toes in the winter. Musher’s Secret also helps to heal dry cracked paw pads.

Image: mrpattersonsir

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Dog Dry Skin – Winter Skin Care To Prevent Itchy Dry Skin And Dog Dandruff

Posted 27/11/2010 by
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winter hunter dog coat1 Dog Dry Skin   Winter Skin Care To Prevent Itchy Dry Skin And Dog Dandruff

My winter coat

Noticed how your skin feels dry and tight during the winter season?

This happens to your dog’s skin too.

Dog dry skin is a pretty common occurrence during winter.


  • When fido goes outside, the cold, dry winter air has a drying effect on his skin.
  • Drafts can come in through leaky windows and doors.
  • Home heating system or furnace emits dry heat. It keeps your fur kid warm, but is drying to the skin.

Signs of Winter Dry Skin

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Dog dandruff, increased dander
  • Scaly skin
  • Frequent itching and scratching
  • Bites and licks the skin
  • Cracked skin (often on paw pads)

What you can do to avoid flaky or itchy, dog dry skin during winter

1. Winter proof your home

Make sure there aren’t drafts coming in through the cracks of the windows or doors. Seal any gaps, and draft proof your windows and doors by applying caulking or installing weather stripping.

Hang heavy, or lined curtains at windows. It helps to shield cold drafts. Remember to open the curtains in the day to let the sun in, and draw the curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the heat in.

2. Keep your home warm

Your main living room should be around 21C (70F). The bedroom temperate at around 18C (64F).  And the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F).

3. Moderate indoor humidity

Winter brings cold, dry air. When dry air is heated, it becomes even drier. A humidifier in the house will add moisture to the air. No more cracked finger tips or scratchy throat for you. And it helps to reduce the drying effect on your dog’s skin.

4. Move your dog. Move his bed

Make sure he is not sleeping by the furnace or radiator. Move your dog, his bedding or crate further away from the heat sources.

5. Brush your dog

Matted hair trap dampness against your dog’s skin. This can cause irritations, odor and other skin problems.

Brushing promotes circulation, and stimulates the the distribution of natural oils in your dog’s skin. Hence, brush you dog regularly to counteract dryness and make him feel more comfortable.

6. Winter bath

Yes. Dogs still need baths in winter. They get dirty playing in the snow, or when they trudge outside to do their business.

In fact, a proper bath can help to reduce dryness, matting and other related skin problems. Use a moisturizing dog shampoo and conditioner to keep his skin and coat healthy.

After the bath, dry your dog’s coat completely before letting him outside. A wet dog can develop hypothermia or pneumonia in cold weather. You can use a hair dryer at cool setting to quickly dry his hair after a bath.

7. Put on a winter coat and booties

Even though your dog has a built-in fur coat, he will still feel the cold in adverse weather. You need to keep your dog warm and protected when he goes outside.

A dog sweater or fleece coat will keep the cold wind and snow off your dog. A pair of doggy boots helps to keep the ice, snow, and de-icing salt off your dog’s paws.

8. Give a fatty acid supplement

A dog supplement that contains essential fatty acids helps relieve skin dryness and promote a healthy, glossy coat.

9. Add olive oil to his food

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to his food, 2-3 times a week (if you are not giving a fatty acid supplement). You can also massage a small amount of olive oil onto his skin. It acts as a natural moisturizer for dry, scaly skin.

Winter offers an entirely new season of fun and experiences for your dog. If you are lucky to live where the winter is mild, head outside to build a snow man or snow dog together with your doggy. When you’ve had enough of the chill and thrill, come home to your warm, toasty den.

Take preventative measures to keep your dog warm and comfortable. Your actions will help prevent dog dry skin, itchiness, and other minor skin problems. Let your dog be safe and well throughout the cold, winter months.

For more winter skin care protection, start to support your dog’s skin and immune system naturally now.
See: Help For Dry Itchy Skin

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Dog Food Allergies – 10 Things Every Allergic Dog Owner Should Know (Part 1)

Posted 07/11/2010 by
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dog food allergies kibbles1 Dog Food Allergies   10 Things Every Allergic Dog Owner Should Know (Part 1)

Who colored my kibbles?

1. What is dog food allergies?

Food allergies is a condition in which your dog’s immune system reacts adversely to an ingredient found in his food. Your dog may be allergic to one or more ingredients.

This ingredient(s) that triggers the allergic response can be a protein, carbohydrate(eg. grains) or artificial additives in the dog’s food.

A food allergy can develop with foods that your dog has been eating for years, with no prior problems.

2. Is it common in dogs?

Food allergies make up about 10% of all allergy cases seen in dogs.

The top 3 dog allergies(listed in the order of most common) are:

  • Flea bite allergies
  • Inhalant allergies
  • Food allergies

3. What are the symptoms of food allergies in dog?

Your dog might have any of these symptoms:

  • Facial itching(around eyes, muzzle, ears)
  • Chews on paws or legs
  • Itching affecting armpits, belly, or around the anus.
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Excessive scratching
  • Dry dog skin
  • Hair loss
  • Rashes
  • Hot spots
  • Increased bowel movements

4. What is the difference between dog food allergies vs food intolerance?

A dog with food allergies manifest allergic symptoms, mainly associated with itchiness and skin irritations, as discussed in Q3 above.

In food intolerance, it is an adverse food reaction that does not involve the immune system. Hence, a food intolerance will not trigger an allergic response. Instead, vomiting or diarrhea might occur. This is because the body is unable to process or tolerate the food. The symptoms are more like having a tummy upset after eating something disagreeable.

Eg. Some people(and dogs too) get diarrhea after drinking milk. This condition is called lactose intolerance. The body simply has a lack of the enzyme, lactase, to fully digest the milk sugar. But all is well again, after making a few trips to the toilet.

5. Why dog food allergies cause your fur kid so much itching?

Yes. It can be extremely itchy. You will see your dog scratching or licking frequently. Some pet owners get anxious that the dog might chew through his paw.

In another blog post, I mentioned how the body reacts to an allergen. Find out the reason why your dog’s skin gets so itchy and irritated here: Dog skin allergies – Q4.

6. What food ingredients can cause food allergies?

Any food or food ingredient can cause allergy. However, protein, from a meat source, is usually the offender.

Here are some common food ingredients that might be the culprits.

Meat/Protein Source

  • beef
  • dairy products
  • pork
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • lamb
  • fish
  • chicken eggs

Grain Source

  • corn
  • wheat
  • soy

You would notice that ingredients in the protein and grain source are just your everyday type of foods. These are foods that you would include in your grocery lists.
But, it is, as it is. Dogs can develop food allergies to these food ingredients.

Artificial preservatives, food dyes, or sweeteners found in commercial dog foods can also cause allergic reactions.

To understand more about dog food allergies, look out for Part 2 of this article. You’ll learn how a vet diagnose food allergies, options you have when feeding your allergic dog, and more.

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Dog Dry Skin – How To Bathe A Dog With Dry, Itchy Skin

Posted 29/10/2010 by
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dog dry skin bathtime Dog Dry Skin   How To Bathe A Dog With Dry, Itchy Skin

I use a special shampoo

Dog dry skin creates a lot of discomfort for your dog.

Dry skin can become inflamed and gets intensely itchy. Some dogs are so badly affected, they lose interest in play, and become rather depressed.

Bathing can be a quick way to ease some of your dog’s discomfort. Whilst a bath is not a cure for skin diseases, it can certainly provide some relief to symptoms of dry skin when done correctly.

You still need to consult a vet to address the skin problem for cases like: allergies, parasites, or an underlying medical condition.

Here are the bathing tips for your dog with dry, itchy skin.

1.  Brush And De-mat

Always brush and de-mat any tangled hair before bathing your dog. Matted hair can be brushed out easier when the hair is dry. Brushing also removes loose hair, dog dandruff, and dirt from the coat.

Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears to prevent water from getting in. And remember to remove them after the bath.

2.  Use The Right Shampoo

Use a shampoo formulated for dogs. Not “people” shampoo. Your dog has a different pH for skin and hair than you do. Dogs’ skin and coat is alkaline; whilst your skin and hair is acidic in nature. Thus, the shampoo you use on yourself, has the wrong pH for your dog. This will dry out your dog’s skin.

For dogs with dry, irritated skin, choose a mild shampoo that cleanses well. Go for a shampoo that do not contain SLS(Sodium Laurel Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate). These compounds are known to cause skin irritations in some dogs.

Look for a dog shampoo that will help:
  • soothe the itch
  • moisturize the skin
  • promote healing
And look for ingredients that benefit itchy, dry skin:
  • aloe vera
  • vitamin E
  • essential oils: evening primrose oil, tea tree oil, chamomile
  • silk, oat, or wheat proteins

3.  Bathe With Cool To Lukewarm Water

(Too) warm water can worsens skin irritations. Use cool to lukewarm water to bath your dog. Cool water soothes irritable or inflamed skin. But do not use cold water. Dogs do not like cold water. If your dog shivers and jumps out of the bath, check to see if the bath water is too cold for him.

Wet coat thoroughly before applying shampoo.

4.  Massage Gently

Use the pads of your fingers to massage the shampoo into wet fur. Be gentle. Do not scrub, or scratch the sensitized skin with your finger nails. The massaging action helps loosens dead skin and hair.

Next, rinse off the shampoo completely. Repeat with a second round of shampoo.

You can use a pet sprayer to direct water down deep. It makes rinsing easier. Pay particular attention to the underside, inner coat, skin, and between the toes. Shampoo residue can dry out the skin and coat, and also irritate the skin.

5.  Use The Right Conditioner For Your Dog

A conditioner keeps your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and tangle free. It makes it easier to brush out your dog after bathing. The conditioner also soothe irritated skin, and replenish moisture to the skin

You can choose between leave-in, or rinse-off formula.

For the rinse-off formula, remove excess water from the coat, and apply the conditioner to wet fur. Gently massage the conditioner evenly onto the entire dog. Next, rinse thoroughly.

6.  Pat Dry

After the bath, pat the dog dry with a large towel. Do not rub when using the towel, or it can irritate the skin. If you need to blow dry the coat, use a cool setting on the hair dryer. Comb through the coat again to keep the hair tangle free.

7.  How Often Do You Bathe Your Dog

If your dog has dry skin, you might want to bath him once weekly to ease his discomfort of itchy skin. The caveat is to use the proper shampoo and conditioner formulated for his skin condition. Check for products that are gentle enough to be used on a weekly basis.

Quick Tip:

Bathing can provide relief for dry, flaky, irritated skin. If your dog has a simple case of dry skin, a proper bath can help kick start the healing process and restore his skin to a healthy condition.

Use TLC when bathing your fur kid. Choose a good quality dog shampoo and conditioner formulated to nourish the skin, and soothe itchiness and inflammation.

Consider using natural products that contain organic, herbal or botanical ingredients. These products are gentle for dog dry skin and safe to use. Other products that contain medicinal ingredients(eg. hydrocortisone, antihistamines) may do the job, but could present side effects. Always go with gentle, and effective products whenever you can.

Image: Tobyotter

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Dog Sores – Why Your Dog Has Hot Spots

Posted 18/10/2010 by
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dog sores Dog Sores   Why Your Dog Has Hot Spots

I was bored ... so I lick

What are dog sores?

Dog sores are nasty skin infections found on your pet. One common form of dog skin sore is hot spots.

A hot spot is an area of  raw, inflamed skin. Often, a hot spot is a circular patch of open sore. It looks like a red, oozing wound on your dog’s skin. The infected area may be hairless, and can be swollen.

Discharge from the dog sore can be a clear liquid. If the sore is infected, it discharges a smelly pus.

How do dog sores affect your dog?

Hot spots are painful and itchy. The spot feels “hot” because the skin is inflamed. And your dog will try to lick, chew or bite at the sore to get some relief. Unfortunately, this action irritates the skin even more. And the bacterial infection spreads to the surrounding area. This can happen in a matter of hours or within the day.

Many dog owners are taken by surprise at how fast the infection develops. A localized lesion(a couple of centimeters in diameter) can quickly spread, infecting extensive areas of your dog’s skin.

What causes dog sores or hot spots?

Anything that causes a dog to itch, scratch, lick, or chew at his skin can start a hot spot.

Look out for things that irritate the skin, which initiate your dog to an itch-scratch cycle.

Skin irritations may be caused by:

Hot, humid weather – Hot spots occur most frequently during summer time. With high humidity, excessive moisture is trapped in the fur, and on the dog’s skin.

Bacteria and fungus thrive in a warm, moist condition. Hence, your dog’s skin becomes their breeding ground. And a skin infection forms easily.

Mites – Demodectic mange, Sarcoptic mange.

Insect bites – Mosquito bites can be itchy and irritates a dog’s skin.

Poor grooming – Dogs that are not groomed regularly and have dirty, matted hair can develop hot spots.

Ear infections – Infected ears are terribly itchy, and a dog will scratch at the ears. This can cause an area of hot spot behind or under the ears on the face.

Allergies – Flea allergy, inhalant allergy, food allergy, or contact allergy.

Foreign objects in the coat - Burs, grass awns caught in the fur.

Anal gland problems – Anal glands can become impacted or infected. This creates a lot of discomfort for your dog. He may scoot, lick, or chew the irritable area to relieve pain. Hence, hot spot develops here in the tail area.

Pressure sores – A dog with arthritis, hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease may have impaired mobility. Lying on hard floors or thin bedding can cause pressure sores, which can develop into hot spots.

Open skin wound – A cut, scrape, broken skin, or an infected scratch, left untreated can become a hot spot on dogs.

Dog behavioral problem – A dog feeling anxious, lonely, bored or stressed can start to lick or chew his skin in an attempt to seek comfort.

Which dogs are prone to developing hot spots?

Dogs who have long hair, and thick, dense undercoat are prone to developing hot spots. So are dogs who have long, floppy, or hairy ears.

Dogs that love to go swimming in lakes or ponds may get hot spots if they swim in contaminated waters.

Where do hot spots develop on the body?

Hot spots are commonly found in areas where your dog can reached by licking and chewing. They are the feet, legs, flank, and rump. Also look out for localized dog sores due to excessive scratching. They develop around the ears, neck and chest areas.

Dog sores and hot spots can occur without prior warning. They spread rapidly. The condition is prevalent in hot summer months. And the itch-scratch cycle causes further irritation to your dog. Hence, take action immediately once you notice a hot spot on your dog.

To get rid of dog sores, give your fur pal a natural Dog Skin Care Formula.
See: Help For Hot Spots

Image: erin MC hammer

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