By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cracked paw pads can, unfortunately, be a relatively common problem for dogs. It can be a seasonal problem occurring in both winter and summer but it can also be due to a mineral or dietary deficiency. You need to find out the external or internal source.

In winter, paw pads are exposed to frigid temperatures, ice, snow, salt and frozen pavements and sidewalks. In warmer weather, allergies can develop due to exposure to fertilizers and lawn products. Raw and sore pads can develop from wet grass too. The areas between the pads can be affected as well.

If left untreated, secondary infections can develop as the dog tries to lick the affected, cracked and sore areas of the paws. Applying Vaseline can be a help to prevent licking but a trip to your veterinarian is required. Your vet will be able to determine if the cracked pads are caused by an external source (some external parasites such as mange or ringworm can also bring about cracked and sore paw pads) or if it is due to an internal source such as a zinc deficiency or a thyroid or liver problem.