How to Condition a Dog's Paw Pads

15 - 30 Minutes
2 Weeks


Your dog's paws see more of the world than his eyes do. He walks around inside and outside over grass, dirt, rocks, concrete, asphalt, and more. Wherever he goes, his paws lead him there. 

Your dog's paw pads are typically pretty rough because they spend a lot of time walking around various surfaces outdoors. This rough dry skin on your dog's paw pads can become cracked, tender, and very sensitive. This could make walking uncomfortable and difficult for your dog. 

You can condition your dog's paw pads by giving your pooch a bit of pampering. This paw pad conditioning will help to heal hairline cracks in this thick coarse skin as well as soften your dog's pads for a more tender touch.

Dog's Perspective

If your pup is not used to being pampered he might not enjoy having his paws touched, so take things slow and easy if he's hesitant. If you rub a conditioner or oil on your dog's paw pads, make sure you're using something that is safe for him to lick off as he is likely to lick the paws once you're done. Always end your grooming sessions with a tasty treat to reward your dog for time spent treating his paws.

Caution & Considerations

  • If your dog's paw pads are rough and scaly or even have hairline cracks, they are probably tender and sensitive to the touch.
  • Conditioning your dog's paw pads will help heal these cracks and take away discomfort.
  • Your dog's paws see most of the world. Protect them by conditioning them, but keep in mind you don't want them to be too soft. Do not condition too often.
  • You do not need to give your dog an entire bath just to treat his paws.
  • You can make paw pad conditioning treatments fun by giving your dog a pedicure at the same time.
  • Soaking your dog's paws in Epsom salt and warm water will help to soften the skin before conditioning.
  • Consider trimming your dog's nails while you're working on his paws.
  • Consider paw pad conditioning at bedtime so your dog does not walk off the conditioner product. Allowing your dog to sleep after his paw treatment gives the conditioner time to soak into the skin and heal small cracks and cuts.
  • Consider checking your dog's paw pads at least every week if not sooner for cuts, cracks, and injuries. Remember your dog's paws go everywhere and can become injured or tender and sore rather quickly.
  • Though you can use items such as petroleum jelly to condition your dog's paw pads, consider how often your dog licks his paws and what he may be ingesting. Petroleum jelly, vitamin E, or medicinal conditioners may not be safe for your dog to lick in excess.


Pamper your pooch's paws perfectly with a deep conditioner such as all natural coconut oil, which will work to soften hardened pooch paw while killing bacteria and yeast. Give your pooch paws to walk the world with comfort and ease with regular paw pad conditioning treatments at home.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Pit bull mix
4 Years
0 found helpful
0 found helpful
Pit bull mix
4 Years

What type of lotion do I use on paw pads that are dry, cracked? I've used Vaseline in the past,it does Not work.I need something that has staying power like the stuff groomers use when I have nails clipped.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question about Nala's paws. You can always call your groomer to see what they use, or ask your vet for an approved recommendation. Musher's Secret is known to be a product with 100% natural waxes and vitamin E. Musher's wax protects and soothes dry skin at the same time. Always be sure to protect Nala's paws from the hot pavement or chemicals found on the grass or ice. Good luck!

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