Caring for your dog's feet is an important part of being a good pet owner. When a dog's pads become dried and cracked, it may become painful for your pet to walk. It is important that you care for your pet's paws. Brittle nails may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency or an allergic reaction. When in doubt consult a veterinarian.
Brittle nails may be a symptom of a fungal infection or other illness. If your dog is regularly breaking nails without a reason, it is advisable to get it in to see the vet to determine the cause of brittle nails. Dry pads on a dog can be caused by exposure to wetness, salt and chemicals while walking on snowy roads or it may be an allergic reaction to food or inhaled allergens. Once you have ruled out any illness as the cause of the dry paws and brittle nails, home treatments may be able to help your pet.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids added to your dog's diet can help restore some of the moisture to dry paws and brittle nails. Supplements are available that you can give to your dog to help increase the healthy fat in its diet. Check ingredient labels on dog food that contains omega-3 fatty acids to verify the source of the fatty acids. The source of the essential fatty acid should be fish, fish oil or fish meal. Vegetable sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids do not convert as readily in the body as fish sources.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside in wet or snowy conditions, rub a little petroleum jelly on its feet to keep moisture locked in. Bag balm is also an effective treatment for pads that have become cracked. Your dog's pads should be slightly rough. This gives the dog traction. It is best to stop treatment with bag balm or petroleum jelly when cracks are healed to avoid your dog's pads from becoming too soft.
Brittle nails or nails that break easily may be caused by allowing them to grow too long. Trim your dog's nails regularly to avoid painful breaks in the nails. Have a professional trim your dog's nails if you are nervous about clipping them on your own. Dogs who regularly walk on concrete usually wear the tips of their nails down and may not require trimming as often.