Elbow Calluses on Dogs
You are a really good dog mom or dad, you know you are! Your dog gets the best of food, high-quality treats, safe toys and has thick, cushy beds in every room of the house. You even splurged and have an outdoor bed so all of the family can be comfy on the deck. So, what the heck is your pampered pet doing with ugly elbow calluses? Your friends ask, “What is that on his elbows?” with a tone that seems a bit accusatory, touched with shock and disgust (or so it feels like). It seems that no matter what you do, there they are…big, ugly calluses hanging off his elbows.
What Causes Those Calluses on My Dog’s Elbows?
First let’s chat about what causes those elbow uglies…we will be all professional and called them pressure sores.
Pressure sores are areas of skin and the tissue underneath that are right over bony part that poke out (like elbows) and have been damaged by trauma from continuous pressure (like laying around). Calluses are thick, rough overgrowth areas of skin over a bony pressure point–they are hard and actually form to protect. Hygromas are soft, fluid-filled subcutaneous sacks that form right where the friction occurs (like the aforementioned elbows). Another fancy name for pressure sores in dogs is decubital ulcers. Calluses are really common, luckily the hygromas are not.
Calluses and hygromas are seen more often in large, heavy or giant-breed dogs and those that either prefer to sleep or rest on a hard surface, or are kenneled on a hard surface. In warmer areas the harder surfaces are usually cooler for big dogs, creating a dilemma. Just like a callus we would get on a thumb or heel, dogs get them from continual pressure on a point. The elbow is probably the most common site of pressure sores, although they also occur on the hips, hocks and along the sides of the legs.
What Can Be Done About Those Ugly Dog Elbow Calluses?
The best way to prevent pressure sores is to provide dogs with thick, comfy, luxurious beds everywhere they usually rest. Elderly dogs or dogs that are physically challenged should be given very soft, thick, well-padded beds to lie on, such as egg crate foam filled or special orthopedic dog beds. Just like bed-ridden people, you may have to physically turn an especially “bed-bound” dog every few hours, to prevent “dog bed sores.”
What Next for His Canine Calluses?
Simple calluses are not a disease or a reason to rush to the vet, they are a condition, a situation caused by the environment. As much as you may try to get your 200 pound Mastiff buddy to lie on his soft, plush bed, he just may prefer the concrete patio. There probably is not much you can do to change his mind.
It is a different matter if your dog has an ulcerated, open, oozing sore on the callused area that is infected or seems on the verge of infection. That warrants a trip to the vet and antibiotics may be needed. There may be a very rare suspicion of bone cancer and if so, biopsies will be performed. That is beyond the scope of this article/post. Once again, check with your vet if in doubt or it is obviously more than a simple callus!
The fluid-filled hygromas may be treated by draining and flushing the lesion. This is done just like it sounds, a needle is inserted and the fluid drained. This will be an ongoing process of having the fluid drained every so often. Yep, vet stuff! Do not attempt at home.
Can’t They Cut the Callus Off My Dog’s Elbow?
Surgical removal of calluses or hygromas is usually not recommended. There is some laser therapy treatment in the works, we will see what happens with that!
What Do I Do to Treat My Dog’s Elbow Callus?
All pressure sores should be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then, you guessed it, Elbow Butter™ applied. That is pretty much all that can be done. I know! Frustrating, but there you have it. Let’s sum it up…
- Provide soft, comfy beds and encourage their use
- Keep clean
- Apply Elbow Butter™
- Visit vet as needed
Official disclaimer: This article is intended to inform and educate NOT take the place of a trip to the vet or regular vet care. Just sharing info. The Blissful Dog and Kathy Dannel Vitcak are not responsible for any results that may happen from reading this (unless they are positive and then we will take all the credit).
I have been plowing my way through updating all of the labels for The Blissful Dog – whew! Here are the updated labels for the RELAX! Aromatherapy Roll-On. I realized I had gotten away from using the famous EZBoy Yoga Dog picture and I felt moved to find the perfect products for EZBoy’s legacy. What could be better than RELAX! Of course, we still have that amazing picture of the Bulldog on his back, now you have a choice and the label has the directions right on the bottle.
RELAX! is a soothing blend of therapeutic quality aromatherapy oils, blended with my own Vibrational Essence blends, in organic golden jojoba oil. It is so easy to use and it helps, it really does.
When you first get your RELAX! sit with your dog when you are having a great day, when you are content, happy and feeling the love. Then roll a bit on their groin or inside their ears. Then just sit with your dog and enjoy being with them. Set the mood of wonderful relaxation and love the first time they smell this and it will set an association for them. Remember smelling grandma’s gingerbread cookies baking? Or the smell of fresh-cut grass as a kid? Same thing, make a connection.
Then when their is an event that stresses your dog grab the roll-on and take a deep breath and relax yourself first. THEN roll it on them, as before. Speak in a calm, reassuring voice and just reassure them all is good. Now here comes the hard part. Try not rush to that energy of “Oh, you poor pitiful dog, scared by the thunderstorm.” Be strong and reassure without franticly buying into their moment of panic. This is hard, I know, but we have to set the tone of the energy for our dogs. I hope that made sense, I read it through and it did to me…
I am a Leo (appearances are a big deal) and a visual person, so how stuff “looks” is a BIG deal to me. But it also has to work for YOU, my Blissful Peeps. So, I have agonized over how to get the butters to you in this super hot summer we are having. After way more research than I care to admit, here is what we have…the tubes are shipping very well, the bigger tins contents do not melt like the 1 oz ones do, something Einsteinian like mass and bulk (eyes rolled back in head) AND if I use a screw-top tin it also keeps the product within even better. Let me digress, only a handful of people have reported issues, but I want everything perfect for you (that is worth some “therapist couch-time”), so that is why I am sharing all this here…
If you do NOT want the screw top lid, just let me know and I will use the regular ez-open slip lid. When it is NOT summer, we will be using the standard slip-top tin, but in hot months I will use the screw top. I just exhausted myself with all of this and probably three people on earth care, but for some reason I am feeling moved to share all this…