Hairy Dog Paws? It Might Be Hyperkeratosis
Molly Weinfurter - November 12th, 2020
Accuracy Review & Edit: Nicole Wanner, DVM - August 3rd 2021
Does your dog appear to have hairy paw pads? If you look closely, you might realize that it's not hair at all, but instead, it's dry skin.
It could be a skin condition called hyperkeratosis, which commonly affects your dog's nose and paw pads.
We will go in-depth about identifying this condition, what causes it, and the best natural treatment options.
Table Of Contents
- What is dog paw pad hyperkeratosis?
- How to identify it
- What causes hairy paw hyperkeratosis?
- Can it be treated?
- Natural treatment for dog paw hyperkeratosis.
What is Dog Paw Pad Hyperkeratosis?
Paw pad hyperkeratosis refers to when thickened skin or extra skin grows on your dog's paw. The skin's appearance may vary, but it often resembles thick hair on your dog's paw pads.
Thus, it's often called "hairy feet".
Hyperkeratosis occurs due to a protein inside your dog called keratin. Your dog's body can make too much keratin on the skin's outer layers, resulting in coarse hair-like paw pads.
If you don't treat hyperkeratosis promptly, the skin could crack, causing infections and extreme discomfort for your dog. Luckily, it's easy to prevent if you catch it early on. So, how do you identify paw pad hyperkeratosis?
How to Identify it
Examine your dog's paws and look closely for dry, rough skin. In extreme cases, you might see a cracked growth too. These dry patches will feel hard to the touch.
As soon as you spot paw pad hyperkeratosis, it's important to seek treatment options. Treating it could range anywhere from using moisturizer to treating a severe health condition.
What Causes Hairy Paw Hyperkeratosis?
There are many causes of hyperkeratosis in dogs. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Genetics: For some breeds, hyperkeratosis is genetic. It's common in Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers. If genetics are to blame, symptoms will first show when your dog is only a puppy. You cannot cure genetic hyperkeratosis, but you can still help your dog feel as comfortable as possible with it.
- Canine Distemper: This disease is similar to measles, so on top of hyperkeratosis, it can also have devastating effects, including death. The only way to prevent this is to vaccinate your puppy ahead of time.
- Age: As dogs age, it's more likely for them to get skin conditions like hyperkeratosis.
- Leishmaniasis: Sandfly bites cause this disease. If you treat your dog for leishmaniasis, this will remove both the parasites and the dry skin. Fortunately, leishmaniases is extremely rare in the United States and is mostly a concern in dogs coming from other countries.
- Zinc Deficiency: Zinc is an essential mineral that keeps your dog's body healthy. Most dog food brands follow guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and are therefore nutritionally complete. But, some low-quality dog foods could lack enough zinc, leading to deficiency. A more common situation is problems with zinc absorption in the gut. This issue is most common in Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and growing giant breed dogs. Some supplements can also interfere with zinc absorption.
- Pemphigus foliaceus: This disease causes your cat or dog's immune system to attack itself, including the upper layers of skin. Your furry friend could get dry skin and blisters, especially on their paw pads.
You can't always stop your dog from getting this skin condition, but there are plenty of ways to treat the damaged skin.
Can it Be Treated?
Once this condition develops on your dog's paws, it's unlikely to go away. So, you'll need to find a safe and affordable treatment that you'll feel comfortable giving your dog for the rest of their life. In most cases, regularly moisturizing your dog's paws is enough.
In more extreme cases, you'll need to turn to a vet for help. If the dry skin on your dog's paws is long and rough, your vet might recommend trimming it off. It may sound scary, but it won't hurt your dog when done carefully.
If you feel comfortable trimming the excess skin yourself, you can ask your vet to show you how to do it. Yet, it's best if you never trim your dog's pads without being taught how by a professional. In most cases, the skin is too short to be cut, so follow your vet's recommendations closely.
However, if your dog's hyperkeratosis is caused by a more serious disease, trimming and moisturizing alone won't eliminate the dry skin. In those instances, you'll need to treat the disease itself first before you notice positive changes in the dry skin.
Natural Treatment for Dog Paw Hyperkeratosis
Natural treatments can work well for your dog's paw pad hyperkeratosis, especially if you or your vet trimmed their longer dry skin in advance.
We make our topical CBD balm for dogs with a blend of virgin shea butter and coconut oil, so its perfect for soothing dry dog paws. It is 100% natural and made with high-quality ingredients including Niaouli, frankincense, myrrh, and lavender essential oils.
When you use CBD topically, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in your dog's skin. By working with your dog's endocannabinoid system, it can help to keep the body in balance, and support healthy skin.
All the natural ingredients in our CBD balm come in mess-free and easy to use twist up tube. The tube size works well for both big paws and small paws. Using it regularly can help your furry friend have soft, comfortable feet once again.
If you are looking for a more concentrated CBD dose to support your pup's physical and mental well-being, then our CBD oil for dogs is a great option. Like all of our products, we make it with organically grown hemp, and fully lab test it for your dog's safety. Its also designed specifically for dogs, making it safe to use in combination with our soothing balm and CBD soft chews.
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