Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw: All You Need To Know

Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw: All You Need To Know

Hyperkeratosis is a rare and often painful skin condition that affects dogs, especially those with a coat of hair. It is characterized by an excessive accumulation of thick and hardened keratin protein in the paw pads of dogs. The skin on the paw pads looks heavy and thick, and the dog may walk with difficulty due to the increased size of the pads. Dogs can develop hyperkeratosis in all four paws, but the most common manifestation is on the two front feet.

Hyperkeratosis is caused by a variety of factors including genetic disposition, bacterial and viral infection, environmental factors, parasites, and diet. Treatment usually consists of regular paw care and may include oral administration of medications, topical treatments, and/or light therapy to reduce the thickness of the affected skin. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the hardened skin and provide more comfortable to the dog

Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw: All You Need To Know----------Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw: All You Need To Know

Hyperkeratosis is a common condition seen in dogs where the paw pads become thickened, covered in callused skin, or may have wart-like growths. The condition is caused by an overproduction of keratin proteins in the skin. This increased keratin production can cause the paw pads to thicken, become inflamed, and sometimes turn a darker color than normal. This is a hereditary condition that primarily affects certain breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Great Danes. It also tends to occur more commonly in older dogs.

The symptoms of hyperkeratosis in dogs can range from mild itching and discomfort of the paw pads to severe swelling and pain. In extreme cases, the affected paw pads can become infected and may require antibiotics or even surgery to treat. Another symptom is visible bumps on the paw pads, which can be a sign of Malassezia, a fungal infection.

The best way to treat hyperkeratosis in dogs is to take preventative measures, such as limiting exposure to irritants, keeping the paws clean and dry, and using moisturizing and protective products on the paw pads. In some cases, topical steroids or anti-fungal medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and discomfort. If the condition is severe or persists despite these measures, then surgery may be necessary to remove the abnormal tissue.

In summary, hyperkeratosis is a fairly common condition in dogs caused by an overproduction of the keratin proteins in the skin. It is primarily seen in certain breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Great Danes, and is often seen in older dogs. Symptoms include itching and swelling of the paw pads, bumps, and possible infections. Prevention and treatment involve limiting exposure to irritants, keeping the paws clean and dry, using moisturizers and other protective products, and using topical steroids or antifungal medications as needed. Surgery may be needed in extreme cases.

What is Paw Pad Hyperkeratosis?

Paw pad hyperkeratosis is a condition that commonly affects dogs, where the paw pads become thickened and callused. This can cause discomfort, discomfort during activity, and further complications if not treated. Causes of paw pad hyperkeratosis include abnormal paw structure, environmental irritation, genetics, and infection. Treatment options include antibiotics to treat possible infections, dietary adjustments to improve nutrition, topical medications, and moisturizing treatments. In more severe cases, surgery is sometimes necessary.

Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw

Nasodigital hyperkeratosis is a condition that affects the paws of dogs. It is caused by an accumulation of thick layers of keratin, which is a structural protein found in the skin, in the area between the digits (nails) of the paw. This leads to the digits becoming thickened, discolored, painful, and prone to cracking and infection. Treatment for this condition typically involves clipping and filing away the affected area, providing supportive treatment such as antibiotics if infections occur, and avoiding activity that can worsen the problem. In addition, particular attention to your dog’s foot care hygiene and regular pad trimming can help prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of the condition.

SEE ALSO: How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever: Common Symptoms

What Causes Dog Paw Hyperkeratosis?dog paw 2

The most common cause of canine paw hyperkeratosis is atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition. This is caused by environmental allergens such as mold, dust mites, animal dander, and pollen. Other causes of canine paw hyperkeratosis include infections, endocrine disorders, immune-mediated problems, and nutritional deficiencies.

How Does Dog Paw Pad Hyperkeratosis Occur?

Dog paw pad hyperkeratosis is a condition that causes the paw pads to thicken and harden due to excess production of keratin. The condition is usually caused by the environmental conditions that the dog is exposed to, such as exposure to hot surfaces, rough terrain, excessive friction, and prolonged standing on hard surfaces. All of these factors can lead to the accumulation of dead skin cells, which then build up and causes an increase in the thickness and hardness of the dog’s paw pads.

Symptoms of Paw Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

  • Thickening of the paw skin
  • Lameness in one or more legs
  • Abnormal formation of the pads
  • Overgrown nails or deformed toenails
  • Cracked paw or buildup of calloused tissue
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Abeceasion and ulcerations between toes
  • Pain when pressing on the paw or walking
  • Difficulty moving due to excessive amounts of skin on paws

How Does Your Vet Diagnose Canine Hyperkeratosis?

Your vet will begin by conducting a physical examination, which will include an inspection of the affected areas and an evaluation of your dog’s overall health. They may take a sample of the growth to perform a histological evaluation under a microscope. Sometimes, biopsies may be taken in order to help identify the cause of the hyperkeratosis if it is unknown. Further testing, such as blood work, may be requested to rule out any underlying medical reasons for the condition. 

Hyperkeratosis in Dogs Paws Treatmentdog paw 4

  1. Regular Nail Trimming: Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed regularly will do wonders to reduce hyperkeratosis.
  2. Soft Pads: Investing in soft pads or socks for your pet’s paws will help reduce potential irritation from rubbing against hard surfaces.
  3. Changing Diet: Your vet may recommend switching to a diet that is lower in allergens. If your pet’s hyperkeratosis is caused by a food allergy, this may be a good option.
  4. Topical Treatments: Topical treatments, such as ointments and creams, can help reduce inflammation. Your vet may also recommend supplements and/or fatty acids to make the skin more supple.
  5. Overnight Moisturizing/Debridement: Severe cases of hyperkeratosis may require overnight moisturizing or debridement. These should be done by a professional.
  6. Surgery: In extreme cases, your vet may recommend surgery to remove the build-up of hyperkeratosis. This should be done by a specialist.

Best Hyperkeratosis Ointments To Use

  • Musher’s Secret: This wax-based ointment provides a barrier for paw pads to give extra protection from hot summer surfaces, salt, and ice melt.
  • Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Cream: This antiseptic and antifungal cream provides relief for soreness, cracking, and superficial cuts.
  • Kurgo Journey Paws Ointment for Dogs: This ointment contains medicinal plants to provide relief for minor skin irritations, cracked pads, and hot spots.
  • Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Super Whitening Spray: This spray can whiten paw pads and can be used in cases of Hyperkeratosis.
  • Oster Oatmeal Essentials Hydrating Paw Crème: This paw crème contains oatmeal essence and provides extra relief for soreness and paw pad protection.

How to Trim Hyperkeratosis Dog Paws

  • Trimming your pet’s paws can be a safe and effective way to improve their condition. Here’s how to trim hyperkeratosis dog paws:
  • Gather the supplies you need. To trim hyperkeratosis dog paws, you will need sharp scissors, a nail clipper, tweezers, a wooden or ceramic nail file, and a pair of styptic powder.
  • Begin by softening the paw pads. Soak the paw pads in warm, soapy water for five to ten minutes. This will soften the thickened skin, making it easier to trim and file away.
  • Clip away the excess skin. Begin by cutting away any excess skin, such as callouses or dry patches, with a pair of sharp scissors. Take care not to cut too deep, as the skin beneath is delicate.
  • File down thicker areas. Use a nail file to file down other thicker areas of the paw pads. Be gentle and move in the same direction as the paw pad’s natural shape.

Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw Home Remedydog paw 1

  1. Trim your dog’s nails regularly. Keeping their nails trimmed will help to reduce excess strain on the paws and help prevent the build-up of hyperkeratosis.
  2. Consider switching your dog’s diet. If the hyperkeratosis on your dog’s paws is caused by poor nutrition, then switching to high-quality dog food can help improve their condition.
  3. Try a paw balm. Applying balm or balm-type products, such as Musher’s Secret, can help lock in moisture and reduce the risk of paw pads drying out, which may lead to hyperkeratosis.

How to Prevent Dog Paw Hyperkeratosis

  • Keep Your Pet’s Nails Short – Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed short can reduce the likelihood of developing hyperkeratosis. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your pet’s nails, consider making an appointment with your vet or a qualified groomer.
  • Keep Your Dog’s Feet Clean – Keeping your dog’s feet clean will help minimize the risk of bacteria and fungus growth that can lead to hyperkeratosis.
  • Remove Burrs and Stones – Make sure to remove any burrs, stones, and other debris that may become stuck in your dog’s pads and fur.
  • Use Paw Protection – To protect your pup’s paw pads during outdoor walks, use booties or specialized paw protectors.
  • Avoid Hot Surfaces – To protect your pup’s paws from burns, avoid taking them on hot surfaces, such as asphalt or sand.
  • Apply Moisturizer – Try applying a moisturizer specifically designed for dogs to your pup’s feet. Doing so can create a protective barrier and prevent further damage.

SEE ALSO: How To Make My Dog A Service Dog: Step By Step Guide


Q. How serious is hyperkeratosis in dogs?

A. Hyperkeratosis in dogs is usually not a life-threatening condition, but it can be very uncomfortable and cause them to scratch and bite themselves, which can lead to skin infections.

Q. Can hyperkeratosis be cured in dogs?

A. No, hyperkeratosis in dogs is a chronic condition that cannot be cured.

Q. What is the Severity of Hyperkeratosis in Dog Paws?

A. Hyperkeratosis of the paw pads in dogs is typically a mild to moderate condition. In more severe cases, the dog may develop painful lesions or ulcers on the pads of their feet.

Q. Is hyperkeratosis in dogs painful?

A. No, hyperkeratosis in dogs is not painful. However, it can be itchy and uncomfortable.

Q. Is hyperkeratosis in dogs contagious to humans?

A. No, hyperkeratosis in dogs is not contagious to humans.


Hyperkeratosis in dogs is a condition that can cause a variety of issues that the dog may be facing, including infection, lameness, and inflammation. It is important to get your dog properly diagnosed and treated so that the condition can be managed successfully. Depending on the severity, treatments may include topical medications, surgery, and diet modification. It is important to pay attention to any changes in your dog’s paws and seek help from a veterinarian immediately if any concerning symptoms arise.

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