No matter how many cushy dog beds you provide, some pups simply prefer to lounge on the cool surface of hard flooring. Frequent, prolonged pressure from laying on hard surfaces can eventually lead to elbow calluses.
These rough, thick pressure sores are more than just unsightly, they can crack, bleed, ulcerate and even become infected.
Elbow calluses form to protect the bony protrusions that take the brunt of the pressure each time a dog flops down for a nap on a hard surface. Calluses usually develop on the elbows, but can also occur on the hips, hocks and along the sides of the legs. Some deep-chested breeds may even develop calluses on their sternum.
These patches of thickened skin are most common in short-coated, large-breed pups like Labs and Mastiffs. Dogs with longer, thicker coats have more cushioning to protect against calluses and smaller breeds have less pressure-causing burden on their joints.
Elbow calluses can be itchy and irritating, but are usually not painful or dangerous to your dog’s health if treated early. As soon as you begin to notice the tell-tale signs of hair loss and dry, discolored skin, you should intervene to prevent them from becoming more than just a mild inconvenience.
The most common intervention involves using a dog-safe moisturizing elbow balm to prevent the callus from getting worse.
Chewing and scratching at these patches can create small cracks that allow naturally occuring Staphylococcus bacteria on the skin to enter the body and cause a painful infection known as callus pyoderma. The elbows are more prone to these bacterial infections than other pressure points – possibly due to irritation of the hair follicles. Should the skin begin to crack, bleed, ooze or scale over, see your veterinarian promptly.
Your dog’s elbows may also develop pockets of fluid called hygromas – these may occur instead of or in addition to a callus. Uninfected hygromas can be drained by your vet and usually heal if the dog can be persuaded to avoid hard surfaces in favor of a soft bed. Infected hygromas, on the other hand, can be painful and extreme enough to require surgery.
As with so many other conditions, early detection and intervention are key to saving your dog from unsightly, potentially painful issues like pressure sores, callus pyoderma and infected hygromas.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.