What happens if I put lotion on my dog's paw?

Your dog’s feet may be equipped with tough, cushioned pads for walking and running but a pooch’s paws can be harmed by the ground surface and the elements. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sore, dry and broken skin on the feet. Applying lotion, ointment or cream to the paws benefits your dog’s health and happiness so long as you use the right products.


Lotion for a dog’s paws becomes necessary if your canine’s feet are injured or hurt, or if your dog suffers dry or cracked skin on the pads. A dog’s paws can be affected by blisters, burns, scrapes and bruises after walking for long periods, walking on hot pavements, traversing rocky ground or running over snow and ice. Allergies or yeast infections on the paw can be soothed using lotion. Cream is used to reduce discomfort after a dog treads on poisonous or toxic substances.


When a dog has painful paws it may limp or walk slowly and carefully. Dogs may become irritable or aggressive when suffering painful paws, particularly when you touch their feet or legs, or show signs of depression or lethargy. Your dog may lick continually at its paws until they turn red or swollen. A paw in need of treatment may show signs of infection such as a discharge, or the paw may be hot to the touch.


Inspect your dog’s paws after being outside in hot or cold weather, and after traversing debris, rocks or snow. Remove anything you find trapped between the pads of the feet and check the toenails for damage. Soak your dog’s paws for 30 seconds in a bath, shower, or bowl. Pat the paws dry with a soft towel and then apply lotion to your pet’s feet. Distract your dog for a short time after application to allow the lotion to soak in without licking. Visit the vet if your dog has a deep injury to the paw.


Different creams, lotions and ointments are available for dogs’ feet. Lotions available from the vet may help keep the pads dry or contain antibiotics to treat infection. These creams are safe for dogs, even if your pet licks his paws. Vaseline is a safe moisturising lotion that can also prevent cracks and dryness but avoid human hand moisturiser as it can soften paws too much. Aloe Vera is also safe and has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Specialist paw protection creams using natural ingredients are available online and in pet shops, including Paw Protection Cream from the Dogs Trust and Camrosa Ointment (see Resources).

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About the Author

Louise Carr has been writing and editing for consumer and business media since 2000. She covers health, travel, literature and current affairs, including for LIVESTRONG.COM and other online publications. Carr holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in American and English studies from Nottingham University, England.