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Posted on February 20, 2023
Any dog owner will tell you that their dog is part of the family. We take them to regular veterinary appointments, scrutinize what dog foods (and treats) are best, and schedule regular groomings to keep their fur shiny and healthy. Yet, when it comes to their feet, pet owners may overlook the fact that there’s more to dog paw care than trimming their pet’s toenails.
Although dogs' paws have a natural layer of fat to protect them, they’re not immune to environmental hazards and can become dry and cracked. Every stomp through a puddle, run through a grassy field, or trot across the pavement may cause damage to their paws that can be painful for your pup. There are several dog-friendly products that can be used to treat their irritated or dry skin, including aloe vera gel, a fantastic natural remedy that can restore your pooch’s paws.
There are several common ways in which a dog’s paws can become itchy, cracked, or irritated including:
Once their paws become dry or cracked, dogs try to remedy the problem by licking and chewing their paws — sometimes excessively until their paws become raw. This exposes them to infections, which often requires another costly visit to the veterinarian. Preventing dry, itchy paws is not only beneficial to your dog’s health, but your wallet too!
Aloe vera is an amazing plant with an array of health benefits. It’s commonly used to moisturize dry skin and contains antioxidants and minerals to promote wound healing. Well known for its use on sunburns, aloe vera can regenerate skin cells on your dog’s burned, cracked, or dry foot pads, and acts as an anti-inflammatory with soothing, cooling sensations. It has also been proven to have antifungal properties, so the aloe gel can be used as a natural alternative to treat fungal infections that commonly occur when paws become irritated.
Natural products are better for your dog’s paws because store-bought aloe vera and after sun formulas (like the “blue goo” that you’d find in Walgreens or CVS) often contain alcohol, synthetic fragrances, and other pain-relieving ingredients (like lidocaine) that can cause adverse reactions in some animals who have sensitivities.
Natural aloe — like Seven Minerals’ aloe vera gel — is 99 percent organic and does not contain lidocaine. Seven Minerals’ aloe products are cruelty-free and use a carrageenan-free seaweed extract to thicken. For even faster results, the aloe vera spray allows for an easier, even application (which is particularly helpful if your dog won’t sit still) and rapidly absorbs into their skin.
When applied properly, aloe vera can be a safe and effective natural topical remedy for treating dry, cracked dog paws as well as a myriad of other skin ailments like rashes, bug bites, and dry noses. In fact, a recent study found aloe vera to be more effective than antibiotics at treating staph infections in dogs. However, it’s always recommended to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new product to your pet’s care regimen.
Additionally, if you have aloe vera growing in your home, do not let your dog ingest an aloe vera plant in raw form. Large quantities of ingested aloe vera can be toxic to dogs, so keep those aloe plants out of your pup’s reach.
When treating your dog’s dry or cracked paws, first use a damp washcloth to wipe dirt and debris from their paws or to gently clean any hotspots. Apply a few drops of aloe and repeat the process once or twice per day. Use booties or clean socks to prevent your dog from licking the aloe vera gel off their paws. Aloe vera can also be applied regularly (once or twice a week) as a preventative measure to help keep their paws moisturized.
While many steps can be taken to avoid dry dog paws (like keeping them off hot pavement), it’s in your dog’s DNA to chase tennis balls, eat the grass, or roll in the dirt the moment your back is turned. Having some aloe vera gel on hand can help to protect and restore paws while still letting dogs be dogs!
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