How to Treat and Prevent Pressure Sores and Calluses on Dog Elbows

Updated on July 1, 2018
weezyschannel profile image

Lisa's Golden Retriever suffered from calluses on his elbows. She would like to share her prevention tips with other dog owners.

Pressure sores and calluses on dogs need to be addressed right away to prevent the condition from becoming unmanageable.
Pressure sores and calluses on dogs need to be addressed right away to prevent the condition from becoming unmanageable. | Source

My Dog Developed Calluses on His Upper Elbows

Calluses are not only painful, but they can easily become a serious condition for your family pet. My Golden Retriever is 7 years old, and this is my story about how his calluses hurt, bled, and quickly became unmanageable. It breaks my heart to know that I wasn't knowledgeable enough to understand how these calluses could turn into such a nightmare. Pay attention to your dog, as he will let you know if something is hurting. I'll offer some tips on how to prevent the issue in the first place.

What Is a Callus?

Calluses are thick, rough, overgrown areas of skin that appear over a bony pressure point. The affected skin often hardens as a form of protection. Your dog may also develop hygromas, which are soft, fluid-filled subcutaneous sacks that form where friction occurs.

A Large Callus on My Dog's Elbow

A callus on my dog's elbow. A callus can be painful and bleed—his was dry and cracked.
A callus on my dog's elbow. A callus can be painful and bleed—his was dry and cracked. | Source

Calluses on Dogs Cause Pain and Bleed

My Golden Retriever started getting calluses on each upper elbow. He's a mellow dog, and often plops down on the carpet anywhere. I could actually tell he was not comfortable settling down by the way he would slowly slide his legs down to get situated on the carpet. When he did try to settle, he would scrape the floor with his elbows along the way.

He was constantly licking his elbow, so I looked to see if maybe he had a piece of shrubbery or something from the yard stuck to him. I noticed some blood on his leg, but it was coming from a cracked callus and was dripping down to his paw. I first thought that his skin had been torn from playing with my other dog. I had some bag balm and I wrapped it with gauze until I got him to the vet.

Do Not Wrap Pressure Sores

If your dog has calluses or sores and they start bleeding, please take your pet to the vet. Don't wrap them unless the vet tells you to do so. I thought I was doing my dog more good than harm. I found out the hard way; I love my dog like my own child.

By the time I got my dog to the vet, the calluses were infected. It ended up costing me $225 for a 7 day supply of antibiotics, pain medicine, and a topical spray. The vet said to make my dog a soft bed after the wounds cleared up somewhere where he likes to lay down the most (which is usually everywhere, but particularly right next to me on the floor by the couch).

Dog Beds Are Great for Your Pet

Put your pooch in a dog bed to help ease pressure sores and even prevent calluses from getting worse.
Put your pooch in a dog bed to help ease pressure sores and even prevent calluses from getting worse.

Remedies for Dog Pressure Sores

  • Elbow Cream, Wax, or Vitamin E: Nothing will stop the calluses from forming since they are caused by pressure, but elbow cream, vitamin E, or wax may help smooth and soften the surrounding skin. The purpose of the cream is to smooth, soften, and help the calluses be less restrictive, tight, and at risk of tearing.
  • Invest in a Soft Bed: I got this bed for my Golden Retriever who was 110 pounds. I must say, he did lay in his bed frequently but he also liked to just plop down anywhere that was convenient. This soft bed did help heal up some of his calluses, and if you don't want to purchase a bed, at least pile up some blankets on the floor.

Pressure Sore Cream

Healthy Breeds Dog Elbow Balm for Labrador Retriever, White - OVER 200 BREEDS - All Natural & Organic Oils Heal Dry Cracked & Chapped Skin - Unscented Formula - 2 oz Tin
Healthy Breeds Dog Elbow Balm for Labrador Retriever, White - OVER 200 BREEDS - All Natural & Organic Oils Heal Dry Cracked & Chapped Skin - Unscented Formula - 2 oz Tin

I have recently discovered this balm for my dog's callus. So far, it seems to have relieved him as he is not licking it as much. I have only used it for a week but it seems to be very promising!

 

Ways You Can Help Heal Your Pet's Sores

  • DO NOT wrap the elbows
  • If your dog is fairly inactive, take them for more walks to keep them from laying down all day
  • Check your dog's elbows every couple of days to make sure he/she isn't bleeding
  • Put a sheet down on your couch and let your dog sleep there or somewhere soft
  • If the wounds look infected, take your dog to a vet immediately
  • Have your vet prescribe something for pain relief

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Please Leave Your Comments Below

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    • profile image

      hdnitetrain52@gmail.com 

      10 months ago

      Love to be informed, thank you.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      18 months ago from Central USA

      Thanks for your comment! It was hard as a parent to see your baby hurting!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      18 months ago from Central USA

      I think it depends a lot on your dog on how bad the Calluses can get. My baby was a lazy one and just "flopped" down arms first and scraped his elbows every time on the carpet!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      18 months ago from Central USA

      It's been a roller coaster that's an understatement! Unfortunately, he passed away recently and our hearts are broken

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      18 months ago from Central USA

      It's a horrible merry-go-round with it, that's for sure! Seeing the pain in their eyes is just a heart breaker!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      19 months ago from Central USA

      Wow! That's great… My dogs Calluses bleed every day unless I'm constantly putting a pillow underneath his elbow so they don't rub on the floor

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      19 months ago from Central USA

      Thank you for your comment! He still has trouble no matter what I do I just try to do the best I can to help alleviate his pain

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      19 months ago from Central USA

      Hopefully your dog will heal a little quicker I just keep putting pillows and pads all over the floor and if he's laying there I will shove them underneath his elbows

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Central USA

      Great! Thank you so much for the input and thanks for the great idea !

    • profile image

      sharon 

      3 years ago

      I also cut old tube socks and made my Panda some Doggie Sleeves so she eould not lick the medication off. To keep her Sleeves on, I cut a hole in the top of her sleeves and ran some stretchy panty hose through each and over her back. Worked beautifully.

    • Gek Aka profile image

      Geof Awunyo 

      3 years ago from London

      Interesting dogs also have calluses and corns

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Central USA

      It sounds like you have done almost identical to what I have done with my dog. The sock, the antibiotic, everything. I have purchased one of the dog beds that is shown up above in the page and I have also bought the cream that is also mentioned. These have helped tremendously, however it is up to me as his so-called, mother; to make sure he is laying on his bed or on the couch and not plopping on the carpet or on the cement. You can only do so much and it sounds like you're trying very hard so don't beat yourself up!

      My vet told me not to cover his elbows if specially if they are getting irritated and bleeding because that stops the air from getting on there. It's like a double edged sword, because you need to Protect it so he doesn't scrape them anymore, but yet if you cover them then they're not getting air to heal.

      Try the soft dog bed and the cream and try to keep him off the carpet, cement and hard floors. Good luck to you!

    • profile image

      not sure what to do 

      3 years ago

      I have a chocolate lab that has had problems since she was about 5 years old ..she has three very lovely padded with the waffle like pads and covers but she still has elbows that bet very very bad..bleedind and raw...I have gone to the vet several times and told to use a antibotic which has cured it but the callus is always there so I use vaseline ..but this last time which is now (she is all most 12 years old) her elbows both got really bad before I realized her elbows were soo sore as she has other problelms,, so I am again putting antibotic on both elbows and a kotex pad cut in half to protect then from hard surfaces and to keep the pad in place I take a white cotton sox cut out the toe pull it on her leg with the heel part over the elbow (which seems to fit the elbow curve and then slip the kotex pad tenderly inside the sox over the elbow. this did not work well as the sox kept slipping till I bought some mens susspenders end made it into one strap to go over her shoulders and the suspenders clips are strong enough sto hold the soxs up. for going outside I just wrap saran wrap over the soxs to keep them dry and clean . I do check the sores twice a day to make sure they have stayed soft and healing they must get air so bandages have made them worse and very hard to stay in place..I hope this will help someones dog with this problem..I have found the elbows can get sore very fast..even though I have three lovely dog beds..she likes to lay like a puppy with her front legs straight out so maybe that is part of the problem!!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Central USA

      You are very welcome and thank you so much for taking care of your animals as well!

    • profile image

      Naomi 

      3 years ago

      i have six dogs and four cats. five of my dogs are either greyhound or half greyhound so they are very lazy and thin. they all get these calluses on their elbows and it is sometimes hard to manage, but i found that my other dog, who is a spring-triever was harder to deal with because her long hair covered the problem for much longer. ive had dogs my whole life and am quite vigilant for health issues but even my experienced eye missed her elbow issues for a while, because it is just very hard to spot on a longer haired dog (and she is not wimpy like the others). once you become aware of the issue though, dealing with it appropriately is vital, so thank you for spreading the word and sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Anna 

      4 years ago

      Thanks, that's really helpful information.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Central USA

      thats a good one!

    • profile image

      Chris 

      5 years ago

      shrubbery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you were looking for the shrubbery hahahaaaa

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      This must be common in larger dogs. My lab mix had them, too. Fortunately, they never bled or became infected.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      6 years ago from Central USA

      thanks for your comments. It was a nightmare..doing some more updating on this page yet, but wanted to try to help someone who may be as not as informed such as I was

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Aww, I am glad I saw this, because I wouldn't have known what to do either. The dog in the pic is cute, and I am glad that your dog is getting the help he needs.

    • profile image

      4youreyes 

      6 years ago

      weezychannel,

      Welcome to Hub Pages, what a good topic. My lab has calluses on her front legs and it can be a challenge to keep them softened up for her.

      Have A Good Evening!

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