Basic First Aid – Treating Cracked or Sore Skin

Below is some advice for dealing with cracked or sore skin. You should contact us if you have an emergency with your pet such as difficulty breathing, moderate-severe bleeding, collapse, broken bones, seizures, eye injuries or head injuries.

Always assess the situation for any safety hazards before assisting your pet- do not put yourself in danger.

Cracked/sore skin

Cracked and sore skin can sometimes be a sign of other underlying conditions. It can be caused by a parasite burden, hormonal diseases or allergy. Although not considered to be an emergency, persistent skin conditions should be assessed by a vet for further treatment and to investigate underlying causes. Minor cases can be treated at home in the event that you are unable to obtain an appointment. You should monitor your pet carefully and seek advice if the condition worsens or fails to improve.

 Treating cracked/sore skin:

Animals will typically cause further trauma to any part of their body which is sore or irritated. This should be prevented where possible with the placement of buster collars, t-shirts or (breathable) socks.


Any open sores should be cleaned (please see our page on cleaning wounds) and an emollient used on dry areas. (Please see our First Aid page for a list of safe ointments and creams.) The area can also be protected with a barrier ointment such as Vaseline. Cracked paws can be covered with breathable socks.

Animals that live on bedding such as wood shavings or sand should be placed on a substrate such as newspaper until the skin heals. This is to stop any debris sticking to the sore areas or aggravating it further.