NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DOGS, CATS WITH SORE, IRRITATED PAWS, SKIN


In this article:
  1. Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur
  2. Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses
  3. Don't Put Your Dog or Cat on Steroids and NSAIDs
  4. Understanding Food Allergies
  5. Address the Root Cause

1.0 Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur

Dogs and cats can get sore irritated paws for many reasons, including:
  • A symptom of environmental hypersensitivities;
    • Allergic response to planet materials, and other natural substances
    • Toxins (inhaled, ingested, etc.)
  • A symptom of food allergies
    • Resulting in:
      • Irritation, inflammation, infection of the paws, skin and ears;
      • Yeast infection - candida
  • Fungal infections
  • Abrasions cuts and wounds
  • Etc.
If your dog or cat is suffering from allergies and/or resulting yeast infections of the paw or skin on other parts of the body (i.e. candida), or has come into contact with poisonous and/or toxic substances - giving your dog or cat a foot soak or overall body rinse is very important to reduce discomfort, help treat the symptoms, remove harmful residue and stop your dog’s or cat’s need to lick and chew his/her paws and skin Toxins left on the paws can migrate into the dog's, cat's blood stream, and over time increase your dog's, cat's  toxic load, compromise his/her immune system and trigger the development of cancer.

If your dog or cat's paws come into contact with road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides it's important to remove the particulate or residue right away. Even if you can't see the residue on your dog or cat's, paws, fur or skin. Toxic chemicals substances can make their way into your dog and cat's blood stream by passing through the skin or when your animal licks her paws, fur or skin.

The most effective way to remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from your dog and cat's paws is to do a 30 to 60 second paw soak. Depending on the size of your dog, you can do a foot soak in the bowl or basin, sink, bathtub, shower or in a small children’s pool.


It's important to note quickly dunking your dog or cat’s paws in a soaking solution is not as effective as soaking the paw for 30 to 60 seconds. After the soak, pat paws dry. Don't rub  your animal's paws. Rubbing can cause irritation.

2.0 Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses

Foot Soak Recipe #1 - Warm Water and Iodine
Remove Toxins, Disinfect Paw Wounds, Treat Yeast Infection
for Dogs and Cats

 
Iodine is a naturally occurring water-soluble element. Iodine is an excellent disinfectant with anti-fugal and anti-viral properties. You can purchase iodine at your local pharmacy.

This soak can be used to:
  1. Remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your animal's paws.
  2. Reduce itching and inflammation due to contact with irritants, candida, etc.
Preparation Instructions:
  1. Fill the sink, tub etc. with warm water
  2. Add enough iodine to make the water turn the colour of ice tea
  3. Have your dog or cat stand in or hold her paw in the the water and iodine solution for 30 seconds
  4. Then gently pat your dog or cat's paws dry

Foot Soak Recipe #2 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar
Help Treat Bacterial Infections or Irritated Paw 
for Dogs and Cats

 
Organic unpasteurized, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).  

To make this paw soak combine:
  • One gallon of water with
  • One cup of organic unpasteurized unfiltered apple cider vinegar ACV
To apply:
  • Soak your dog or cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds
  • Allow your dog or cat's paws and skin to air-dry
Do NOT use pasteurized non-organic apple cider vinegar, it does not have  medicinal properties.

For detailed information on how to choose a good ACV product and the many health benefits of ACV as both a topical and ingested treatment read here

You can also use just apple cider vinegar between foot soaks - just put it in a spray bottle, spray your dog’s paws and then pat dry. 
 
Do NOT use ACV on broken skin as it can sting!
 
This foot soak is NOT for dogs with yeast infections.


Foot Soak Recipe #3 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, Peppermint Essential Oil
Treat Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws  
For Dogs and Cats

 
Peppermint contains cooling essential oils (such as menthol) and has antiseptic and slightly aesthetic properties. 

To make this paw soak:
  • Combine:
    • One gallon of water with
    • One cup of organic unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
    • The fresh juice of one lemon, and
    • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil
To apply:
  • Soak your dog or cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds
  • Pat your dog or cat's paws and skin dry
Find out more about all of the health benefits of fresh lemon for dogs here.

The Following Herbs can also be Added to the Recipes Above

Chamomile
Chamomile is a calming, soothing herb. Add a few chamomile tea bags to the liquid solution. Wait a few minutes and then soak your dog or cat's paws in the solution. 
 
You can also prepare the tea as you normally would to drink tea. Once brewed, wait for the tea to cool. Then add the room temperature tea add it to the recipe.

For a detailed list of the health benefits of chamomile read here


Goldenseal
Goldenseal has antimicrobial properties. Add a few Goldenseal tea bags to the liquid solution. Wait a few minutes and then soak your dog or cat's paws in the solution. 
 
You can also prepare the tea as you normally would to drink tea. Once brewed, wait for the tea to cool. Then add the room temperature tea add it to the recipe. 
 
Learn more about Goldenseal here.




Green Tea
Green tea (use decaffeinated only) is rich in antioxidants that support healing. Add a few green tea bags tea bags to the liquid solution. Wait a few minutes and then soak your dog or cat's paws in the solution. 
 
You can also prepare the tea as you normally would to drink tea. Once brewed, wait for the tea to cool. Then add the room temperature tea add it to the recipe.



The recipes listed above should be used three or four times a week if you are treating a yeast infection, or irritation due to allergies.

Foot Soak Recipe #4 - Warm Water, Rooibos Tea and Lemon
Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws
for Dogs and Cats

Rooibos is naturally anti-allergenic and contains a significant amount of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) making rooibos tea an aid to the healthy growth and maintenance of skin.  Rooibos tea supports immune system health, inhibits cancer, mediates allergy symptoms and more.

For the rooibos paw soak recipe, and health benefits go to this article



Conventional prescription and off-the-shelf ointments, salves and lotions increase toxic load and can cause additional irritation. As well toxins and dirt can get trapped underneath the product. Use a natural soak instead.
 
Paw soaks can be done daily 1x to 2x a day, or several times a week as needed, until now longer required. Remember that the more you soak your dog's paws in a day, the softer the skin of the paw pads. If you are planning on going for a walk on rough surfaces such as gravel or rocky terrain, limit the number of paw soaks as your dogs paws may be more prone to getting cuts on the softened under-pads.
 
If your dog or cat has a yeast infection (e.g. candida) it's important to treat the symptoms (e.g., itchy, irritated paws that may smell like corn chips), and the root cause of the infection.  Prednisone, and other conventional medications can make the condition worse as they suppress your animal's immune system, kill good bacteria and do not address root cause.


3.0 Don't Put Your Dog or Cat on Steroids and NSAIDs

Resolve root cause and symptoms with natural alternatives. Natural alternatives have little to no side effects. Steroids, cortecosteroids such as Prednisone and non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have many adverse side effects including life threatening, life span shortening affects.

To understand more about issues with steroid and NSAIDs use in this article.


4.0 Understanding Food Allergies

If you think that your dog or cat is experiencing symptoms of food allergies, learn about common causes of food allergies, symptoms, and more in this article.

5.0 Address the Root Cause
Take appropriate action to address the root cause of your dog or cat's symptoms (e.g. irritated paws, skin, ears).  
 
When the root cause is not properly addressed symptoms can become chronic.
 

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For information about my holistic behavioral services, visit my holistic behavioral services page.

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To set-up your holistic behavioral session get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page. 
 
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld.