Treating Paw Pad Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

Hairy dog feet also known as hyperkeratosis is shown on this young black labrador

What Is Hairy Dog Feet And How Can I Address The Problem?

“Hairy dog feet” is actually a term that is bandied about in vet clinics that refers to a condition known as hyperkeratosis. The reason it has associated itself with this affliction is because its effect mirrors the aesthetic of additional follicles or skin being present. By definition, hyperkeratosis is the abnormal production of keratin in a living being; in this case, your dog. Like their human owners, this keratin is responsible for generating hair, nails, and claws, among other things. It represents the outer layer of skin, and becomes troublesome on canines on their noses and paw pads.

Even though keratin is an essential component to the growth of an animal, it can sometimes take your furry friend on a path towards irritation or even pain. When a dog’s body is creating more than necessary, it causes paws to develop a thick exterior that hardens and cracks. The same is true in their nasal cavity, where overproduction renders an interrupted sense of smell.

How Does A Dog Get Hyperkeratosis?

In several instances hyperkeratosis is genetically passed down in a breed. Certain types of dogs are more susceptible to the ailment, with a few of them including terriers, golden retrievers, and labradors. For these gene types, and a handful of others, ‘hairy dog feet’ typically forms in the first year of your puppy’s life.

Even if you own a canine that is not predisposed, since it is idiopathic in nature it can occur at the drop of a hat. Older dogs that have never dealt with it in the past can still be diagnosed as well.

Why Is Hyperkeratosis A Problem That Needs Rectifying?

There are a plethora of reasons why hyperkeratosis warrants your attention, the first of which involves simply making your companion more comfortable. On an animal’s paw pads, too much keratin will cause hardened feet to scrape and develop calluses and blisters, no matter what surface they frequent. A dog’s body cannot sustain healing affected paws consistently because the keratin production is occurring too quickly. When these outer layers are penetrated, it is much more difficult to stop potential infections. Eradicating hyperkeratosis is also a prudent endeavor to guarantee your mutt will not have lasting problems in the form of arthritis. Affected paws will eventually cause pain for your pooch, causing them to alter their walking and jogging style. This results in unwanted pressure on their joints that can be harmful to them later on down the line.

Nasal hyperkeratosis is obviously on a completely different part of the body, but as important all the same. The moisture on a dog’s muzzle is one of the most important components of a happy and healthy furry friend. Their sense of smell is what they lean on for the bulk of their decision-making. When keratin has built up on the nose, breathing can be interrupted enough to cause discomfort. Its presence also makes your dog more prone to infection, just like with hairy dog feet.

Even if you are not a hands on pet owner, and do not feel hyperkeratosis requires your attention, it cannot be stressed enough that it also provides warning for additional conditions that are far more serious. For example, too much keratin may signal that a dog has zinc responsive dermatosis. If they are deficient in the absorption of zinc, they will almost assuredly have problems with their immune system or the functioning of the thyroid. Additionally, hairy dog feet may be the onset of pemphigus foliaceus. This blistering of the pads directly corresponds with an autoimmune disease. Leishmaniasis is yet another disease that can harshly manipulate the skin on a dog and has ties to hyperkeratosis. Put simply, there is no shortage of troublesome outcomes to the condition if ignored.

The Remedy

If you feel as though your dog’s hyperkeratosis has gotten beyond your control, or have an inkling there is more at play than just excessive skin growth, it is appropriate and justified to consult your veterinarian. That said, the majority of these types of cases can be resolved at home, while avoiding the headache of a pricey medical visit.

Natural balms are a wise preventative measure to utilize because they restore the smooth, healthy texture of both your dog’s pads and nose. Paws and Snout Premium Protection balm delivers maximum relief with a cooling effect that can only be reached with its incorporation of vitamins E, F and A. By bringing shea butter into the fold, it generates unparalleled nourishment that spikes your pooch’s quality of life right after application. Moreover, hyperkeratosis of the muzzle or feet can be completely eliminated with routine use of the proactive balm. Since no additives are involved in its creation, it is safe for pets to consume without having to be concerned with nausea or digestive tract problems, should they lick it by accident. Over the counter recommendations are simply not equipped to provide adequate care. Options like Neosporin and petroleum jelly cause sickness and are nowhere near as efficient since they are primarily designed for human use.

Effective during all seasons of the year, Paws and Snout Premium Protection makes noses wet once more, and renders ‘hairy dog feet’ a thing of the past by procuring silky smooth pads. Additionally, cracks and lesions close due to its healing properties, putting back the smile and enthusiastic bark in your loving companion.