If you noticed your dog has developed elbow calluses, you may be wondering how he got those unsightly hairless areas of thickened skin over his elbow in the first place. Canine elbow calluses don't typically form overnight, but rather through a slow process. In order to understand elbow calluses in dogs, one must understand how calluses form in the first place. While elbow calluses are not a medical emergency, it's important to keep an eye on them to prevent them from worsening.
A Lesson in Dog Calluses
Calluses consist of an area of rough, toughened skin that form in response to repeated friction or pressure. In humans, you may notice calluses forming from repeated pressure on the skin as seen in the case of calluses forming on fingers from writing with a pen or fingertip calluses forming from playing the guitar. Calluses are often commonly seen on feet, especially when wearing uncomfortable shoes. In dogs, elbow calluses from for different reasons.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
So why dog dogs get calluses on their elbows? While dogs don't write or play the guitar, they develop calluses as a result of resting and sleeping on hard surfaces. Dog calluses are the canine equivalent of bed sores, if you will. The elbow, being a bony protrusion that has little skin cushioning to protect it, develops an area of toughened skin so to protect it from the repeated friction.
More Than A Cosmetic Matter
Elbow calluses in dogs are mostly a cosmetic issue, meaning that they just aren't appealing to look at. However, there are chances that an elbow callus may worsen since they definitively do not get better if the dog keeps on lying on hard surfaces. A dog elbow callus may therefore start cracking, bleeding, and in some cases, may get infected and form what is known as a "hygroma," a fluid filled pouch that can challenging to treat.
Reducing Canine Calluses
There are many steps you can take to reduce those elbow calluses and prevent them from worsening. The top step is to prevent your dog from lying on hard surfaces. Get your dog a nice doggy bed and make it inviting or invest in elbow pads made just for dogs. With more padding, the dog's skin on the elbow will no longer need to heavily rely on tough skin. Also, letting your dog shed a few pounds may also be helpful, as the heavier your dog is, the more pressure he'll put against the hard floor. Finally, a great tip is to moisten those calluses if they appear to start cracking. You can use some Vaseline or some products purposely made for dog calluses.
Did you know? Your dog’s shoulder blades are not attached to the rest of his skeleton. This grants your dog a greater flexibility for running