How we treated our dog’s nasodigital hyperkeratosis — wait, what?

I thought to write this since as an animal-lover, finding a solution to our woof’s problem lifted such a weight off my back. Hopefully it helps someone else’s puppy out too.

A few weeks ago, Casey started limping. We first assumed it was a pulled muscle since she does this often up north when she runs around. She had been roughhousing (ruff-housing?) in the snow a lot with Junior.

back yard battlecries

That’d do it…

After a few days it hadn’t resolved itself though. I checked her paws quickly and they seemed a bit cracked. Of course! The freezing cold! Salt! Either of these! We bought some cream from PetSmart and when I went to apply it, I noticed a strange texture on her feet.

hyperkeratosis dog paws, almost feathery in texture

My husband thinks this is the grossest picture. It’s a close-up of the ‘feathers’ on our lab’s paw.

Poor dog.

I looked it up and (thankfully) this is actually a thing. It’s called nasodigital hyperkeratosis. As I’ve discovered it happens when keratin cells go into overdrive (overweight and older dogs seem to be prone to it, as well as some specific breeds) and these hard ‘feathers’ sprout on the dog’s paws, nose or both. I’ve also read that there is no cure.

Most info given on forums and sites say the vet will trim the feathers off for you, and even show you how to do it yourself. I came near my dog with some little scissors and she was nervous, so I didn’t try it.

Anyway, the purchased solution I found:

Dermoscent Bio Balm for HyperkeratosisIn the deepest, darkest and oldest corners of internet forums I found tips from owners, vets and groomers. Many advised Bag Balm, which is primarily used on cow udders, but many said that everything sticks to it afterward. I also didn’t come across many results of its use, just recommendations to try it.

Only one person mentioned Bio Balm. She said the vet had recommended Vitamin A supplements, steroid shots and thyroid tests. She eventually tried Bio Balm (maybe the vet advised it, I can’t remember) and she said the feathers began falling off her dog’s paws immediately.

That was enough to convince me to try it.

You can find it here — Free shipping!

It is a bit pricey [UPDATE, August 2022: It is now something like 1/3 of the price it used to be!], but it only took about a week to arrive. The feathers do not ‘fall off’ (for Casey anyway), but! After one application, her paws are much softer and the keratin has either softened or disappeared from many areas. Most importantly, walking seems less painful for her.

I applied it a second time and she didn’t even want to lick it off. She actually looked to enjoy the paw massage as I rubbed it into all her feathery nooks and crannies.

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.

trim dog

“Or maybe you won’t….”

I update this post with the results of continued use. If you’re desperately seeking out a solution you can give your puppy without having to bring her in for continued vet visits for trimming, I strongly recommend Bio Balm.

Somewhat related — our oldest cat, Jane, has a separate issue that seems related to viruses in cats. She’s had it since long before I met her. It’s weird that 2/5 of our animals have odd paws. Maybe if Jane ever lets us touch her paws we should try this stuff, providing it’s safe for cats too. Too bad it says “For dogs only” on the package.

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.

UPDATE [July 29, 2015]:

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.

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.

Doesn’t it seem weird that two dogs of different breeds ended up with the exact same paw condition I’ve never seen in my lifetime of having animal friends? I’m convinced this has to do with environment or diet now.

I will update with pictures soon! Moving house and unpacking comes first unfortunately. Aw, poor bloggy. I still love you.

If anyone would like to share their results or even another treatment, please leave a comment. Happy doggy paws. 🙂

UPDATE [August 31, 2015]:

(Happy birthday Uncle Doug! I know you don’t read my blog but you’re my favourite Uncle Doug ever!)

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

dog paws after Dermoscent treatment for hyperkeratosis

Front paw

dog paws after Dermoscent treatment for hyperkeratosis

Back paw, side view

dog paws after Dermoscent treatment for hyperkeratosis

Back paw

There are bits that still look a bit ‘feathery’, but they feel smooth. On her front paw, there is a little crack but it doesn’t feel hard/stiff the way the keratin feathers felt, so I think that’s unrelated cracking.

The roughest parts I can find seem to be on the sides of her toe pads, and those are more like a callous. She doesn’t limp or seem to be in pain and hasn’t since treatment with Dermoscent. I’d call this one a success, and I still have more than half of the balm in that little 50mL tub in case we need it later.

Happy end of August to you!

Update: [December 17, 2017]:

We were discussing this at our family Christmas and one of my relatives recommended Pawtector from the Natural Dog Company. She said that within a month of daily use it made her boxer’s paws smooth again. I have not personally tried it on our dogs yet, but I plan on trying it out if we have another flare-up in the future.

If you can’t find Dermoscent Bio Balm, or if you want to try something different, Pawtector/Pawtection sounds like a great alternative.

Update [January 19, 2018]:

Just want to say, I love the discussion we’ve got going in the comments.

I recently found a site with a little more information on common causes of hyperkeratosis in dogs and cats. I tend to lean toward zinc deficiency for our dogs. Given our experiences, I feel that our vet would have picked up on immuno- issues by now. I’ve also read that zinc deficiency can be a winter issue for humans and animals. Thankfully this does not seem to be an issue this year, even given the extreme cold temperatures. *Fingers crossed!*

Yet another update [April 3, 2018]:

Does your dog have any dry spots, hot spots, dandruff, hair loss or even oily skin? I am looking into Dermoscent 6 Spot On Skin Care for Extra Large Dogs. It seems highly reviewed and I’m wondering if it could help a dry patch that our yellow lab Casey has had on her ‘elbow’ for a while. (The vet called it a pressure spot; for a while she was quite heavy.) Just thought I’d share it in case anyone else has tried it and can comment on it, or if you are looking to solve the same kinds of issues with your pupper. As kids, we had a wonderful dog with a large dry patch on her back where she had lost a lot of fur. Some reviewers say it helped their dog grow fur back, which makes me wish we had tried something like this for her.

Update [August 4, 2022]

The Dermoscent Bio Balm is WAYYYYY cheaper now than it used to be. No time like now to give it a try!

That’s all for now. If you’ve used any product that seems to help (or which didn’t), please feel free to leave your results in the comments section! Wishing you and your dogs soft paws and happy skin always.

About Nikki

I've been writing since I was in kindergarten where I Crayola-markered an epic tale of a tiger and a balloon on a stack of lined papers folded into a booklet and stapled along the edge (carefully, and by my teacher). I love DIY, sewing, folksy music, animals and getting out to look at and listen to nature.
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  1. Victoria Durham

    Any updates regarding your dog’s digital hyperkeratosis? Are you still using the cream? Is the cream working and have the keratin ‘feathers’ diminished or resolved? My 15 yo female black lab is experiencing this condition. Prior to today, I had never heard of it. I am hoping for gentle ways to ease her discomfort and manage this issue. Any information is greatly welcomed!

    • You’re right! I totally forgot to update this post. We got into the swing of decluttering our house to stage and sell it, and now we’re moving! I will fully update soon with pictures when I can. I will say that for our yellow lab, the ‘feathers’ have softened and flattened closer to her paw, almost as if they’re trying to blend back into the foot again. She walks so much better now and has not appeared to be in pain for months. We used the balm for a couple of weeks and found it made a huge difference. Could have used it for longer and it may have completely fallen off. The nice thing about it is the balm will last many applications, even though it’s a small container. I would definitely recommend trying it, because it was a huge help for her… AND!

      Interesting thing about this: Soon after noticing her hyperkeratosis and getting the balm, I noticed our boxer also had it! Now I feel like this has to be environmental or diet-oriented, because two different breeds getting this strange condition within weeks of each other? This was near the end of winter, so I’m wondering if it had anything to do with road salt initially, or maybe licking paws after being on salty sidewalks?

      Please let me know if you try the balm and if it helps your girl.

  2. My 2 golden retrievers got the same condition in their paws. I suspect it is the chemical used to treat the fur from cows to make it into a smooth lasting leather for sofas. One of my goldens used this leather sofa everyday and developed the feathers in her paws. The other golden never went in that sofa and was fine. After a few years the second golden starred using the leather sofa and soon after developed the condition.
    Do any of you have leather sofas?

    • I have leather sofas. I also read elsewhere older dogs may get this easier. My lab is 10 y/o.
      -Karen (FL)

      • I think I read that about older dogs once too. Ours are now 5 and 3, though the 3 year old (boxer) has salt and peppering on his face already. Old soul? Haha. Still no leather here. Going to ask our vet about zinc as some others have mentioned.

        • My dog had hyperkeratosis on his nose. I USED NOSE BUTTER AND THE DRY STONE LIKE stuff STARTED PEELING OFF AFTER A COUPLE DAYS AND IT WAS LIKE A BRAND NEW NOSE UNDERNEATH. had to keep it up but worked great!

    • Interesting…I have leather sofas and my dog just got this condition also. She is a 4 yr old lab mix and eats really well (a little chubby!) What do you guys feed your dogs? If is could be diet related, it would be interesting to see what food they eat. Mine eats a brand from Tractor Supply feed store called 4health . I use a grain free chicken and veggie and a regular (with grain) salmon and sweet potato mixed together

      • Our dogs are not allowed on the couches. 🙂 Nevertheless ours are all fabric as we have cats whose claws would poke holes in any leather couch if we had one. We’ve lost a few good computer chairs to the kitties so we won’t waste that money on couches. 🙂 The dogs have fancy (fabric) beds all around the house though to stay cozy.

        As for diet, our dogs are each on their specific foods now. One had pancreatitis and now he is on a gastrointestinal specific low-fat Royal Canin (sorry I typoed before!) prescription diet. The other is on a weight management Simply Nourish (Petsmart) food with glucosamine and chondroitin for her joints.

        The past few years it has proven to be more of a winter issue for us, and since moving to a rural home rather than the suburbs I find it has never been as serious. Unsure if that has anything to do with it! Strangely, our boxer used to get seasonal flank alopecia (common to boxers) and have two bald patches every spring. Now that we live out here, you can just barely make out where those used to happen.

        So it could be food or environment, or both. For us though, it isn’t leather.

        • Royal Canin food? Lol

          • Oopsie. Typo from autocorrect. Thanks! Haha.
            Royal Canin is not having an effect on our dogs anyway! Haha. The foot feathers happened long before Junior had to eat that stuff. They are both eating Simply Nourish Weight Management for Large Breeds for now and seem to be feather-free for now. We’ll see come winter.

    • Did you ever have them trimmed at the vet and how much did this cost you. Keep in mind my dog would probably have to be sedated some how cause she would not let them attempt it.

  3. I think the chemicals to treat cow skin into leather for sofas is causing this.

    • Interesting theory! We’re not “anti leather” but we have 3 cats so any leather furniture would be ruined in no time — that said, no real leather in our house. We have a fake leather ottoman table but this came after the dogs developed the condition. It happened while we were living in the suburbs during winter. My initial thought was road/driveway salt. Where you live do they salt the roads in winter?

  4. Dietary cause: hyperkeratosis can be induced by zinc deficency.

    • Interesting! Thank you. Our large dogs eat Simply Nourish large breed adult formula which has Zinc (min) 175 mg/kg. I’m wondering now if that is not enough.

  5. Do you keep your dogs vaccinations up to date? Distemper can cause this symptom, and is highly contagious.

    • Yes, our dogs’ vaccinations are up to date and they have never shown signs of canine distemper. Interesting though! Thanks for your comment.

      • This is a new condition for me as well, I also have had dogs for over twenty years and have never even heard of it….I had already added zinc to my girls supplements and though I had added them for her immune system…I suspect that has help her feet and nose from getting worse…I will be trying the Dermoscent Bio Balm, thank you so much for the information…

        • You’re welcome! Good to know the zinc may also help. I hope the Dermoscent works for your dog as well.

          • Just noticed this on my girl’s paws. She has also had an inexplicable rough spot on her nose off and on for a couple years. When I read the comment about zinc, I remembered having read here that Siberian Huskies are one breed that have problems absorbing zinc. Thanks for the tip on the cream. I will try it along with zinc.

          • Thanks for the link! Checking it out now. I hope the balm helps your dog. If it comes back for our dogs we’ll have to look into some kind of zinc supplement. Our boxer can’t have his food switched much due to a recent bout of pancreatitis.

  6. Stumbled across your post as both my dogs have this.Mia has it on both nose and pads and is more pronounced and Jersey’s is slight and only noticeable on her pads. We have a leather couch too and the spend alot of time on it. Jersey had TPLO surgery and I bought and oil called ” the powe of 3 E’s”for inflammation ….in one month it cleared right up. She also had a thin coat and suffers from winter alopecia. Her coat is super thick and soft now after 3 months. So I started giving it to Mia. Her nose has visibly started to clear up and her pads are much softer. She has been taking the oil for about 6 weeks. Can’t wait to see if she clears up as well.

  7. Stumbled across your post as both my dogs have this. Mia has it on both her nose and pads and it is more pronounced then Jersey’s. Hers is slight and only noticeable on her pads. We also have a leather couch and they spend alot of time on it. 4 months ago Jersey had TPLO surgery and I bought and oil called “The power of 3 E’s” for inflammation and arthritis ….in one month it cleared her keratosis right up. She also has a thin sparse coat and suffers with winter alopecia. Her coat is super thick and soft now after 3 months. After seeing how good Jersey responded to this oil I started giving it to Mia. Her nose has visibly started to clear up and her pads are much softer. She has been taking the oil for about 6 weeks. Can’t wait to see if she clears up as well.
    This oil is made up of three different oils.
    Camelina oil which is omega 3

    African red palm oil vitamin A and E

    Unrefined rice bran oil another source of vitamin E and lecithin

    • That’s amazing! We’ll have to try it too and see if it is a good solution for our two as the feathers are coming back again. (Haven’t balmed in a while.) I’m guessing it is a vitamin deficiency for us — tough for me to accept that since our one dog is now on a specialized diet from the vet that costs an arm and a leg to keep his pancreatitis in check.

      Thank you for the insight!

    • Thank you for your knowledge my patsy does too

  8. If present on more than one animal, there is a cause. If not distemper, as dogs are vaccinated, and would be extremely sick, chances are they have hookworms. Hookworms lead to hyperkeratosis of the footpad. You should make an appointment with the vet, to rule this out. If they are on Heartguard heartworm preventative, it will treat. However it is highly contagious and will be in the soil and grass. It needs to be treated to prevent reinfection. Sodium borate can be used on the ground, but will kill your grass. Everything in your house should be disinfected. Yes, the moisurizing treatments and natural ointments help, but as stated, when present in more than one animal, it is considered a secondary condition caused by a primary underlying condition, hence the hookworms. Hope this helps!

    • Thank you for the info. Our boxer gets fairly regular tests done for his thyroid and chronic pancreatitis. No underlying issues have come up, unless those (pancreatitis and thyroid) are somehow related to hyperkeratosis. He goes back in tomorrow so I will be sure to ask — the vet is usually quite thorough when he finds an issue though, especially pertaining to worms.

      Both dogs were dewormed as puppies, have no common symptoms of hookworms (poor appetite for the boxer yes, but that’s his pancreatitis), are always supervised outside (they’re barkers, so we don’t leave them out alone) and as we have a toddler our home is pretty compulsively disinfected. I don’t think this will be the underlying cause, although I’m sure it is something commonly shared as you’ve said. Others have suggested a mineral deficiency, which I think may be the cause. Still, one dog is on a $70 bag of food every 3 weeks and the boxer is on a $140 bag (bland, low-fat diet for pancreatitis). I’m not sure beyond going raw what I could do differently.

      Our oldest cat is 16 and has horned paws, which you’d think could be a related issue but she’s had them since a kitten and that was about 3 houses ago for us. Our other two cats are ‘normal’, if you can call a cat that. 😉

      The vet recently treated our horn-pawed cat for an infection she had with her toenail being cut too deep at the groomer’s. He simply clipped the horns (they have no blood supply) before administering the antibiotic and painkiller, and never mentioned anything bad about them. Neither have previous vets we have had.

      Anyway, like I said. I’ll inquire about it. My vet is always up for making more money so I’m sure he’ll be happy to test.

    • Just wanted to add, our grass is about half an acre’s worth, and our lab loves rolling in the mud, so we’re not putting anything in it. Haha.

  9. Writing an update. Mia’s nose has 99% cleared up after being on the power of 3 oil for 7 weeks. I never thought I would see her smooth nose again. Her pads however have gotten worse since it started snowing. We don’t walk her on roads ever! Next step is to ask our vet to test her for vitamin and mineral deficiencies…

    • Thank you for the update, Wendy! I’m especially interested in the Power of 3 oil if you say it’s also helped Jersey’s alopecia? Our boxer, Junior, gets seasonal flank alopecia every February/March, and it lasts until summer. Our vet tested his thyroid which is often correlated with hair loss on the flanks and it came back “low-normal” so he is not sure that’s the issue. From what a couple of boxer owners have told us, alopecia is not unheard of.
      I’m so glad it’s helped her nose, even if her poor paws are unhappy. Winter is always the worst, I find. Maybe not enough vitamin D for the dogs, just like us? I’m really not sure. Hope your vet has some insight for you and your puppy’s paws feel better soon!

      • Well…this is an old post, but I see people are still commenting…so, for those who find this blog (like me!) when researching hyperkeratosis, I’ll share my own experience. 🙂

        My shih tzu/bichon mix has has hyperkeratosis on his two front “elbow” pads—but nowhere else. And one of the pads is worse than the other, with an almost “scalloped” formation to the overgrowth.

        When I had my integrative vet check it out, she said it was most likely due to a zinc deficiency, and she recommended adding 1/2 tsp of ground flax seed to his food everyday. (This is a dose for a 14 pound dog.). She also recommended Bio Balm, and I’d already purchased PawTector and PawSoother, and had tried them for two days prior to the vet.

        Finally, she recommened a “light” treatment (I assume this is the vet version of the types of laser treatments you get at a spa, to remove dark spots, hair, etc), which I agreed to.

        When I got home from the vet, and put the Bio Balm on my dog, a few hours later, the overgrowth on the “scalloped’ elbow pad was crumbling off, in big chunks, like…millet seeds. Almost half the growths fell off during the first Bio Balm application—and the remainder fell off during the second application.

        I assume this is due to the light/laser treatment, as it was happening WHILE I was applying Bio Balm, and is consistent with the way dark spots flake off, after an Epilight treatment.

        I continued to use the Bio Balm and PawSoother…on all his pads, even the ones without the hyperkeratosis, and while they did seem to soften his pads (which were not especially tough to begin with), but after about two weeks, I can feel where the hyperkeratosis is returning slowly. I think it’s still too soon to determine whether or not the flax seed will help, if this indeed a zinc deficiency.

        So…my vet recommended Bio Balm and approved PawTector and PawSoothe…and all three help soften, but I haven’t noticed them keeping the hyperkeratosis from returning.

        Using a pumice stone DID help smoothe them off on the elbow callous that had less growth. (The “scalloped” overgrowth seemed more sensitive, so I didn’t try it on that pad.)

        The laser/light therapy caused the overgrowth to shrivel and begin crumbling off within a few hours—and less than 24 hours later, nothing was left except smooth, soft paw…but did not “cure” it. (Incidentally—just as with people, the laser/light treatment was painless and quick—no anaesthesia needed, no recovery time.)

        And the jury’s still out on ground flax seed for addressing zinc deficiency.

        Hope that’s useful to someone else—and thanks for your post—it was helpful to me when I was doing my initial research! 🙂

        • Thank you for your insight, Aurora! Let us know if you see a change using the ground flax seed. Interested to hear of the light treatment too.

          Right now I am happy to say our dogs are on a salmon and sweet potato kibble and their paws look great. We’ll see if anything changes come winter.

        • How much was the Lazer luggage treatment?

  10. My bull terrier has hyper keratosis of all 4 paws. Really bad case. He had hard hornlike growths and barely could walk. We took him to a dermatology specialist. She gave him anesthesia and trimmed all 4 paws. They were like a puppy’s paws.(my dog is 10 yrs old). This was done in December 2016. She told me to do foot soaks with 1/2 strength food quality propylene glycol daily, salicylate spray daily, bio balm 1 to 2 times daily. I also sometimes use bag balm, and found some salicylate ointment. The hornlike growths are slowly growing back, however all the foot soaks and ointments are keeping them softer. I can actually trim some of them off myself after he has his foot soaks with the propylene glycol. However, he is scheduled to go back for a trim by the dermatologist in March. I think this will keep him walking and prevent his feet from getting out of control.

    • Poor thing! I’m glad you have found a routine to keep it softer. We’re fighting it this year again with both dogs, though nowhere near as bad as previous years. I hope your dog’s derm appointment helps things.

      Can you buy the products locally to you or through your dog’s dermatologist?

    • How much was the anesthesia and trim ?

  11. She included a container of bio balm on the last visit. I buy the food grade propylene glycol on line, as well as salicylate spray. The other creams I buy in the store, such as CVS, or Target. I forgot to mention I use Kerasol also. I checked the price on line to see if it is cheaper on line, but a lot of times with the shipping it is more money. I think the soaks with the 1/2 strength propylene glycol is the most helpful. The hornlike growths really get soft after only a 5 minute soak. I bought kid socks and hair scrunchies which I use to cover his feet after applying the creams. Works great. If anyone else has some ideas would love to hear them. I got all these ideas and suggested creams and ointments reading stuff on line. The dermatologist agreed with everything when I told her what I was using.

  12. Can you guys tell me where you buy the Power of 3 oil or what this is exactly. My dog has a problem with her nose cracking and peeling. It just looks horrible. She’s been on predisone for months.

  13. Thanks for posting. My boxer had nasal hyperkeratosis which my vet called “old dog nose” and shrugged off. Putting coconut oil on it daily helped and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years, but she was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She’s been on thyroid meds for about a month and her nose is like a puppy’s again. I’m not suggested that all hyperkeratosis is thyroid related, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

    • Thank you for your suggestion!

      Oddly, both of our dogs have been tested for thyroid in the past 2 years for different reasons. (Junior twice, before being diagnosed with pancreatitis and to diagnose some seasonal hair loss, and Casey for sudden weight gain this past spring that led to a torn ACL — sometimes I think our dogs just do stuff because they want to visit the vet.) Junior tested low-normal and Casey was normal somehow. She has since been eating weight management food.

      It is definitely a possibility for some though. Hopefully someone looking for answers comes across your comment here to look into thyroid testing for their doggy. I think it’s a good test to do anyway if you can afford it.

  14. Hello!
    Just came across your post and was wondering if anyone could tell me where to find the “Power of 3 E’s” supplement? I cant seem to find it anywhere…Amazon included.

    Thank you!

  15. Hello!
    I’m just wondering if you (or anyone, for that matter!) have any further updates regarding the use and effectiveness of the Bio Balm on your pup’s paws? I think your last update regarding the state of their paws was that the feathers had returned, but weren’t as bad as before…did you begin applying Bio Balm again and if so, did you notice improvement? I’ve frustratingly had a hard time getting ahold of any, but if it still seems to be noticeably helping and working for you guys and others, then I’ll absolutley be continuing the hunt! Also, do you still find it to be worse in the winter than in the warmer months? In our case, my boy’s pads have seemingly been worse in the summer when it’s extremely dry and hot out, but I’ve noticed that there hasn’t been much of a change between seasons this year. The feathers did soften when it was wet out this fall, but have stiffened back up again. It could just be because he’s getting older (he turned 13 last month), as his food and environment haven’t changed. I’ve also come to notice that he seems to limp and have the most sensitivity when we’re walking down a hill (on hard surfaces). I’m attributing that to be due to all his weight shifting to his toe tips where his feathers are the worst. It doesn’t help that he’s an English Chocolate Lab with the true short legs and a large, longer body, complete with a super-duper deep chest :)! He’s an absolutely amazing and beautiful boy, but his stature unfortunately means there’s lots of force being pushed forward onto his poor little toes…:(.
    Anyway, any kind of update from anyone would be amazing! Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Tara!

      Funny, I was just talking to my cousin’s wife tonight about this! They have boxer dogs and had similar issues with hyperkeratosis mostly around the edges of the paws. What she tried was Pawtector from Natural Dog Company — she said they used it once a day for about a month and saw great results! You can find it here: I’m going to add this link to my post.
      I still recommend the Bio Balm. With consistency, it helps a lot. Just thought I’d add the Pawtector in case anyone else needed some alternatives!

  16. My adopted 7yo Akita has these paw feathers.
    She is very sensitive of touching her pads.
    Once it a while ,I see her favor her right leg, when walking. I bet this hyperkeratosis is the problem. I’ll have to treat it…

  17. I just discovered it under my pit bull paws and I was really trying to figure out what the hell it was. Yesterday he played in the snow and ice and when I checked them at night it was back to soft. The hard snow probably scraped the little feathers off. I’m really curious to see if they will grow back. He doesn’t seem to be in pain at all and he is all up to date with the vet. I’m wondering if it’s just not corn on the feet from the cold months here in Canada because in summer he is fine! I’ll definitely try to put some balm on his feet see if it helps.

    • Ours seem to only get it a little bit now, and you’re right, it’s usually a winter thing. Glad your dog isn’t in any pain! Hope it helps him.

  18. Hi there. I happened upon your post while doing some more research on my dog. I have my first dog, but my parents had several others when I lived with them and none had this. They had all very small breeds….I have a great dane. I initially thought it was the paw pads “toughening up” which they will do as they get older and are walking on surfaces outside. It wasn’t until he slipped and fell on our kitchen tile that I realized he had no traction whatsoever because of the overgrowth. This resulted in a possible herniated disc/spine injury and he has been paralyzed for almost two years. (Vet says he has IVDD, but I can’t find much in his breed with this disease). I feel sorry for my pup today, because he was my first and had to experience my lack of knowledge in this area. I always try to education myself with dogs because he is my best friend. He routinely went to the vet from a puppy until 6 years old when this occurred. I always had him in even just for a routine check up and said tell me anything you see that I need to address. Not once was the overgrowth mentioned (he has had it since 2) and he was also said to have a “stud” tail where unneutered dogs with high testosterone develop a bald dark/hard spot near the top of tail….the thing is bulbous and puss like and has since spread all down his tail….nothing like the photos of a stud tail. I do blame them for the paralysis as a result. I regret not finding this out sooner myself. I found out when it appeared on his nose and I googled my description for it. I hope that everyone learns about this before the same thing happens to their best friend!

    • Wow. Very sorry your doggie has been through what he has. I haven’t heard of anything like that before. 🙁

    • OMG, I am so very, very sorry for what has happened to your pup. My pit mix has this on his feet and I have noticed he slips and falls more often now, especially on slick/wet surfaces. The keratin is packed down tightly on his paws now. I can’t see an outline of the feathers as much. As horrible as it must be for you I appreciate you sharing these specifics because I believe now that it is the cause of my baby’s slipping and falling. I am going to increase my efforts to get the keratin build-up off his feet.

  19. It’s actually called the power of 3EA’s K9 and comes in a brown glass bottle.

  20. i would say that since it occured in two separate breeds that are together…maybe it is the KILLER KIBBLE…

    • Hmm. Not sure of that. It wouldn’t explain why it normally only happens in winter, only happens some years, happens worse to one dog’s paws than the other, and why this never happened to our dogs as kids when they ate kibble that was far inferior to the $70 bags we buy now. I’d also wonder why my cats have never had the issue if it is kibble-related.

      And we don’t buy Killer Kibble (TM) brand kibble. It just seems like that’s a no-brainer! 😉

      But you’re welcome to your opinion and your preference of dog food!

  21. My 10 month old puppy has a deep painless crack in his back foot. After examining the paws more, it looks like he also has early stage hyperkeratosis. The feathering is just getting started but the calluses around the edge are there. Because of the hyperkeratosis, the deep crack failed to heal correctly after he cut his pad months ago. After a ton of research, I decided to use Musher’s Secret. We’ve been putting it on almost every evening the last 2 weeks. I just started putting socks on his paws at night after the treatment. This week, I also started him on a zinc supplement. Tonight, we did a 10 minute Epsom soak in the tub to clean and soften his paws, which is recommended at least once a week. Given his age, the hyperkeratosis is either genetic or he has zinc deficiency. It is common in Great Danes and German Shepherds, which he’s both. I’ve noticed that my puppy’s paws always look better the next morning. I just need to make sure we are more consistent with nightly application. My hopes is that we’ll clear this up enough to only keep with a weekly treatment. I’ll try to follow up in a month.

    • Oh wow. I hope it helps! Please do followup. I’d be interested in hearing if the Musher’s Secret helps him.
      I think this is far more common to large breeds (which both of our dogs are — yellow lab and our boxer who turned out much bigger than we thought he would).

  22. Hi! I noticed a few months ago that my 18 month lab had the feathers and mentioned it st her annual visit with a new Vet since we had just moved … the Vet acted like I was crazy and said it was just rough paw pads !! Well I happened to see another vet in the office for my other dog and showed her pictures of Talia’s paw pads and she mentioned the Dermoscent. We have been using it for less than a week 1-2x daily and there is already a decrease in roughness… ( they were so bad they actually broke skin when she pawed at me to wake me up one morning )… all of this is to ask … when would be the best time to use a pumice rock if we choose to? Right after application or maybe the morning after ? Thanks for any advice you may have !

    • I’d probably try it the morning after. It’s funny to think of what some vets might not have encountered before. Good that you got a second opinion. I’m glad Dermoscent has helped so far!

  23. For those asking about Power of 3EA’s oil. Here is a link.

  24. Is the Power of #EA’s oil used directly on the paws/nose or is it given orally?

  25. Anyone with updates on the power of 3 e’s or any other solutions???? My Billie has had this problem in her paws for years and worsens when moist.

  26. Just stumbled across this page. Thank you all for your support and wisdom. I just adopted my first dog in September, and she is a bull terrier mix. I noticed that she started limping a lot while walking, and the vet mentioned hyperkeratosis. Poor thing was actually bleeding at one point and my heart broke! I ordered bio balm (vet rec) and am waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime I’m wiping her tootsies with antimicrobial wipes and applying pet head paw butter. It does smell great, but I am not super impressed. Maybe she puts her paws down too quickly after application ? She is very paw sensitive so I am thinking about doing the sock idea afterwards. Has anyone used any socks that they feel really help with absorption ? Thanks all! Belly rubs to all your pups!

    • We haven’t tried socks but I could see that helping. Whenever the feathers come back, I always try to apply it when my dogs are sleepy and won’t likely walk around for a while. Our boxer had another sore footed battle with hyperkeratosis after this winter ended. Be consistent and you should see results and have your pup feeling better in no time.

      • We have found that kids socks work really well with our boy, Grover.
        He is a VERY old lab/golden mix with all sorts of problems these days. One of the newest we are dealing with is hyperkeratosis.
        He has some really really bad spots that are making him limp and walk badly.
        We ordered bio balm and a few other things. Been putting the bio balm on at tonight and the feathers are really looking like they are just. … Hairs now. It’s weird. I’m kind of hoping they will fall off. Did yours?

        That was off topic. Kids songs (with longer elastic ankles especially) work well.

        Also I’ve found that regular paper tape from Walgreens the medical stuff.if your dog is chewing at night or anything, if I wrap his paws in it,it stays on. And it is really easy get to to stick and not be TOO tight.
        But my family has come up with tons of tricks so if you have other problems, feel free to ask. It’s kinda our life right now.

        • I found with Bio Balm they began to sort of flake off with regular application. Also could trim the longer bits off a lot easier with manicure scissors with regular use, which made it less awkward for them to walk.

          Great tips! If you find anything else that helps, please do share!

  27. Hi!

    I just realized this evening that my dog might, or after reading the main post and all the comments, definitely has hyperkeratosis.

    She is only 9 months old and probably lab and german shepard mix. I took her from shelter so noone knows for sure. But as I can see a perfect combo of breeds to have this condition. She actually doesn’t have any problem right now. Only two small cracks on her front paw which get better as soon as I put a cream on them overnight.

    The thing is that I am at the seaside at a summer house, no car. O got stuck here (for a month) with my dog and boyfriend after a weekend trip. Because of the corona situation I can’t get home for some time. Noone is allowed to come to the island and pick me up because od restrictions. Not that I’m complaining, it is beautiful here. It is just my Nami’s paws that male me worry right now.

    Anyway, I am not in the situation to buy any of the mentioned products. My question is do you think that just a normal baby cream (which I was applying on Nami’s paws) can anyhow have a bad effect, excpet for her licking it. I am very careful with that and I apply it when she is all sleepy, plus she is really a nice pup so if I say NO when she tries to lick it she stops immediately and doesn’t do it again. And another question, is there any other better homemade or regular grocery store solution or even something from regular pharmacy that I might use cause there is nothing for pets near by.

    I am actually very worried and been reseaeching whole night (it is 4:20 am where I live) so I am really thankful for this post and all the comments. I might even be able to fall asleep after this. On my language I didn’t find anything that useful, especially not the first hand experiences.

    One last question is how fast can it progress? I mean she is the most active, playful, nature-loving dog ever. I can’t imagine her not being able to walk. I was actually crying (I know it sound totally crazy) when I’d realized what was happening. So I just hope that it doesnt progress that fast before I can get her a proper vet help. And I don’t know if I should expecr that condition itself gets worse by the years jist because she is getting older or is it possible that with proper care it just stays as it is. Not bothering her too much.

    Sorry for this huge message, but I was so happy when I saw that topic was still on that my fingers just startrd typing.

    Best regards,
    Petra from Croatia (so please excuse my grammar and writing mistakes)

    • Hi Petra!

      Rest easy. Your doggie will be fine. It can get drier over time and progress into the feathery feet (which are fixable with this remedy) but if you’re looking after her regularly chances are it will be fine. If you can, I would call your regular vet, if they’re available for calls, to ask what they think about the cream you are using. They might suggest something easily found at a pharmacy to use for the time being.

      Vaseline right before bed or even coconut oil might help? I just wouldn’t want my dogs licking off vaseline. It isn’t poisonous but might make them feel a bit sick if ingested.

      Hope this situation is over as soon as it can be and we can all be where we want to be again. Sending best wishes to you and your dog. She’ll be fine. It’s clear that you’re taking great care of her.

  28. I am really happy for your dog that this balm worked and hats off to you for trying out whatever you could to find an effective solution and you did!
    Aca Baranton recently posted…Beat the Bugs this Summer with TerraShield®My Profile

  29. So after the years you have done this is the bio balm still the best recommendation?

  30. As they say, only you have to look around and the solution is just around the corner and that happened with you. Its good that your persisted and never gave up.

  31. Hi Niki,

    My sweet, beautiful husky pup “Kaya” and I have been trying to get a handle on her hyperkeratosis paw growth for the past two years (she’s 3 now), with very little success, except when she lets me trim them down, but that never lasts very long before she’s had it with me and starts biting my hands.
    My heart leaped after reading your story of conquering your doggie’s PrAWblem, and I immediately clicked your Amazon link to buy myself a tub…..but Amazon won’t deliver this stuff to me in Southern California.
    My questions for you – 1, do you happen to live in Canada, and 2, would you be willing to purchase and mail me a tub of the bio balm please? I would pay you whatever you feel is fair, at least a few cups of coffee?
    Please let me know, my e mail is just my first and last name at hotmail.
    Kaya says hellooooooooo!
    Julia Pruitt

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