It’s winter. It’s snowing and it is time to take your dog for a walk. So, you grab your coat, hat, and gloves. Then, you pick up the leash and think you’re ready to go, but you’re forgetting one thing: protecting your dog’s paws!
Winter weather can be harsh for your dog’s paws. Their paw pads can suffer from dryness, cracking, frostbite or chemical burns when exposed to some toxic chemicals. So what can you do to help keep your dog’s paws in tip top shape this winter? Here are some tips.
One way to keep your pup’s paws safe during the winter months is a protective balm. Bag Balm is a popular paw balm, but Vaseline works just as well. In order for the balm to work properly, you’ll have to prep your pup’s paws.
If you have an exceptionally furry dog, you will need to trim the area between the paw pads so that it is even with the pad. A beard trimmer with a plastic guard will work perfectly. You will also need to trim the fur surrounding the paws to make sure no hair meets the ground. This prevents small ice balls from forming between or around their pads. Ice balls can be exceptionally painful for a dog if left untreated!
Another part of your pup to prep is the nails. Keeping the nails trimmed will ensure no snow or ice will get between their paw pads.
Before you are about to embark on your walk, apply an even, thin layer of the balm to their paws. Post-walk, wipe their paws with a warm washcloth to get rid of all the ice, snow, or ice melt. You will then have to apply another layer of balm to help with irritation as well as to prevent dryness.
If you are not a fan of balms or are simply looking for an alternative, you can consider dog booties. Dog booties are available at pet stores or online. Many booties are sock-like with Velcro straps. They will keep the paw completely dry and prevents any exposure to toxic salts or de-icers.
As you can imagine, many pups are not fans of booties. To help your dog get used to booties, have your dog wear them around the house for short periods of time. With enough time, patience, and praise, your dog will be a bootie-lover in no time!
Watch for Toxic Chemicals
The majority of de-icers and salts are actually quite toxic to dogs. If you can, try to avoid any areas or sidewalks treated with these chemicals when out for a walk. Though there are dog-friendly de-icers available, not everyone uses them.
If your dog does happen to come in contact with these chemicals, make sure you immediately wash their paws when you get home. This will help prevent your dog from ingesting the chemicals. If possible, steer clear of any puddles or slush. Some dogs have a habit of drinking from puddles – some of which can be full of toxic chemicals. There is also no way to tell how deep the puddle is!
Don’t forget that dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Be sensible with how long your walks are! With the right precautions, though, you and your dog can enjoy a wintery-weather walk!