Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw

Hyperkeratosis is also known as hairy dog feet. This is probably self-explanatory, but it’s called this because it looks like your dog is growing abnormal hairs on his skin. This can be a painful experience which is why it’s important to take your dog to the vet. There may be an underlying cause as to why your dog has hyperkeratosis. Table Of Contents

Canine hyperkeratosis is when the skin on your dog’s nose or paws thickens and hardens. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are things you can do to manage your dog’s hyperkeratosis.

This skin condition in dogs occurs when there is too much keratin. There are two types of hyperkeratosis: nasal hyperkeratosis in dogs (or dog nose hyperkeratosis) occurs on the nose area, and footpad hyperkeratosis occurs on the paws. Dogs with hyperkeratosis may have dried out, calloused-looking paws and noses. If the skin cracks, an infection may develop.

Unfortunately, hyperkeratosis is genetic in many cases. Specifically, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dogues de Bordeaux, Iris Terriers, and Bedlington Terriers commonly develop this skin condition.

Hyperkeratosis often occurs in the first year of a dog’s life after passing down through genes. Hyperkeratosis also commonly occurs in middle-aged and senior dogs. Skin conditions in dogs, like hyperkeratosis, can also be symptoms of other problems, including the following:

No, hyperkeratosis is not contagious. It’s a genetic condition, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying problem listed above.

I finally remembered to take some “After”s of Casey’s paws today. They feel very smooth and much better.

Shortly after starting her application, I noticed Junior also had the feathers. His were really long in some spots. Although he doesn’t like his feet touched, he let me apply the balm as long as I remained calm so he didn’t get as nervous.

If I had a pumice stone handy to use with this stuff, I think the keratin would grind right off. Maybe I’ll try that.

This stuff softened the ‘feathers’ and made them stay closer to the paw — some of them fell off during paw massages, or I’d notice there were less during the following application. We used the balm for a couple of weeks nightly. This is a definite recommend. Casey no longer limps and hasn’t for a few months.

Have you ever had a dog with hyperkeratosis on the nose or paws? Did you find a solution? Let me know about your dog’s experience in the comments — and if you try Bio Balm, please let me know how it worked for you.

How We Treat Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

Just as with our own cracked heels, there’s no magic pill that makes nasodigital hyperkeratosis in dogs go away.

Instead, the answer is moisturizing — and lots of it. However, your veterinarian may first want to run tests to check that there’s no underlying health problem.

  • Start by soaking the foot for 10 minutes in a wet compress. This is as simple as soaking cotton wool in water, squeezing most of the moisture out and applying the damp wool to the paw. The idea is the water soaks into the dry keratin, making it more supple.
  • It can be a struggle to keep the cotton wool in place. One tip is to pop baby socks over the cotton wool to hold it in place. (Great for paws, not so great for noses.) Get into the habit of doing this when watching TV, when the dog is relaxed.
  • After the soaking, apply a generous lashing of a human emollient cream or balm. Just be sure it’s OK if the dog licks it off, and avoid any ointments containing zinc. Also, watch out for the dog leaving sticky paws prints wherever they go. Applying the balm before bedtime can help.
  • Do this daily for 7–10 days, then every other day after that.
  • So what other conditions might cause nasodigital hyperkeratosis in dogs?

    This looks a lot like nasodigital hyperkeratosis but comes with other symptoms attached. It’s caused by a mutation of the gene that controls keratin production (including hair, as well as dog noses and foot pads).

    Dogs with ichthyosis may suffer from add-on issues, such as lack of tear production, a frizzy coat and patches of excessively dry skin.

    The breeds most likely to have ichthyosis include:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • American Bulldogs
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Great Danes
  • Irish Setters
  • Sadly, there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at just moisturizing the very dry skin.

    Arctic dog breeds, such as Huskies and Malamutes, head the list for this problem.

    Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:

  • Crusty paws and nose
  • A dry, dull coat
  • Stunted growth
  • Skin scaling, especially around the eyes and lips
  • The cause is a reduced ability to soak up zinc present in food.

    When you feed your dog a well-balanced diet, this shouldn’t cause a problem. But you feed a poor or restricted diet, then this, coupled with difficulty absorbing zinc, can lead to signs of deficiency.

    Fortunately, these dogs usually respond well to an improved diet or giving a simple dietary supplement containing zinc.

    Pemphigus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the places where keratin meets furry skin. This can result in inflammation, irritation, scaling and ulcers.

    Most commonly, this is an erosive condition, meaning it eats into the skin. But the crusts and scabs that form to plug the ulcers can sometimes be mistaken for a weird type of nasodigital hyperkeratosis.

    Treatment targets switching off the inappropriate immune response to settle down the attack on the skin.

    The old name for distemper is “hard pad.”

    This is because one of the late onset signs of distemper is nasodigital hyperkeratosis. Those hard pads make a distinct clicking sound when the dog walks on a firm floor.

    Again, there’s no cure for this symptom except keeping those feet moisturized.

    This Frenchie might just have his moisturizing balm for dinner:

    What are the Symptoms of Hyperkeratosis in Dogs?

    Just like with any disease, it’s important to detect hyperkeratosis at the earliest possible time so your dog can promptly receive the care it needs. So watch out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Dry, crusty layer of skin
  • Cracks, fissures, and bleeding
  • Pain or sensitivity in the affected area (nose, paws, ears)
  • Loss of skin color in the affected area
  • Frequent licking of the paws
  • Limping
  • Lameness
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Secondary infections
  • Take note of any physical or behavioral changes that may point to hyperkeratosis. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, it’s best to seek help from your vet immediately.


    How do you treat Nasodigital hyperkeratosis in dogs paws?

    Rehydrate the skin with warm water soaks and then apply petroleum jelly once daily for 10 days. In digital hyperkeratosis cases, bandaging of the feet is advised for a few hours to avoid mess in the home. Removal of the bandages is followed by additional warm water soaks and cleaning.

    How do you get rid of a hyperkeratosis paw pad?

    Nasodigital hyperkeratosis can be characterized as an overproduction of keratin on your dog’s nose and/ or feet. If the tip of your dog’s nose or paw pads look dried out and crusty, you should take him to his veterinarian for an evaluation.