Care for Cracking Yellow Labrador Paw Pads

by Mary Lougee, Demand Media
    "You go fetch the ball; my feet hurt."

    "You go fetch the ball; my feet hurt."

    Labrador retrievers are a very active bunch all year round, which leads to cracking paw pads. Paw pads crack from constant running, jumping, changes in weather, dryness and cold. Give your yellow lab a pad massage to heal his cracks; he’ll thank you with lots of kisses.

    Items you will need

    • Bowl
    • Warm water
    • Washcloth
    • Towel
    • Paw pad conditioner or petroleum jelly (optional)
    • Dog booties
    • Dog treats

    Step 1

    Pour warm water in a bowl. Sit on the floor and call your lab to you. Ask him to sit and then lie down on his side. If he lies down with his feet underneath him, give him a nudge to lay him on his side for access to all four paws.

    Step 2

    Dip a washcloth in the warm water and gently wash his paw pads to remove any dirt or debris. Dry each paw pad with a towel.

    Step 3

    Give your yellow Labrador a few treats to keep him occupied while his feet completely air-dry.

    Step 4

    Apply a small amount of paw pad conditioner or petroleum jelly. Rub it into each pad gently until it is absorbed into the skin.

    Step 5

    Put boots on your four-legged friend before going on a walk. You may need to practice indoors, letting him acclimate himself to the boots for a few days with lots of praise and treats.

    Step 6

    Clean and care for your pet's pads twice a day until the cracks close and his pads strengthen. Continue using the paw pad lotion once a day for maintenance.

    Tips

    • When your dog’s pads are strong, you may decide not to put boots on him for outside activities.
    • Avoid hot sidewalks in the summer to reduce the incidence of cracks from burns.
    • Prevent pad cracks in winter by trimming excess hair from paw pads that can harbor ice crystals, road salt and chemicals.

    Warnings

    • If a paw pad has a deep crack and is bleeding, a trip to the vet is necessary to make certain that he doesn’t get an infection in his pads.
    • Don’t let your pet lick his feet after a walk in the winter around de-icing chemicals. The chemicals can be harmful to your dog and make him violently ill.
    • While you can use lotion formulated for humans on a dog's feet, don't use it for more than a few days in a row. If your dog's feet become too soft, they could be more prone to injury.

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee is a writer in Texas who writes on a wide variety of subjects from home improvement to pet care. Her love of animals led to building a farm and caring for rescue animals from equine and swine to dogs and cats. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images