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While calluses on your dog's elbows or feet are not actually lethal, they can provide access to infections and can be painful if not treated. The most common cause of calluses on dogs is through sleeping on hard floor surfaces. Since there is very little flesh or fat around these areas to protect and cushion the skin, a hard, dry, grey buildup of skin.
Some breeds of dogs tend to prefer hard surfaces like wood or tile for the coolness it provides. The best way to prevent a callus buildup is through providing a soft padded bed for the dog to lay on. If calluses have already formed, put a few extra soft blankets on top of the bed till they heal.
Since calluses get very dry, they are prone to cracking. This can be especially dangerous if the callus is on your dog's paw pad. Dirt and germs can enter the wound and cause infections and infect your pet with diseases. A simple treatment for calluses on dogs is by rubbing a softening agent or lotion onto the callus. There are several brands developed particularly for use on dogs. Vitamin E or petroleum jelly will also soften the callus well but can leave grease marks on bedding or clothes if they brush against you.
Since a dog will be inclined to lick off the lotion, either use one that can be quickly rubbed in thoroughly or, like petroleum jelly, is not toxic to your pet. You can also keep them otherwise occupied by treating the calluses and then talking them for a walk or to play while the lotion sinks in and softens the hard callus.
During the wintertime it is necessary to keep your dogs, especially ones with calluses, from walking on salted walkways. The salt and other melting agents can be very painful and somewhat toxic. You can purchase any of the several brands of pet safe ice melt for use around your own home. It such adverse conditions you can investigate the possibility of "booties" for you dog's paws. For those who can tolerate them, the paw covering will provide protection and a place to hold medicated pads in place.
Older dogs are much more likely to develop calluses on their elbows. As they slow down with age, more time is spent laying down where callus formation is encouraged. Existing calluses also tend to grow larger as the dog ages.
You should be careful when you are treating calluses on your dog. Since the callus was built up to protect the area, once it softens it will not be providing that same protection. You need to make sure and provide extra cushions or bedding for your dog to lay on and discourage it from opting for the floor rather than the bedding.
Besides being unsightly, calluses on your dog can diminish its quality of life. A bit of preventative treatment is best to keep this problem from developing. If it already exists, a few minutes of treatment a day will provide relief and comfort for you pet.