Most dogs I know love to frolic in the snow, but did you know that wintertime can be painful for your fur-kid?

When your pup’s paws are exposed to snow, ice and the toxic chemicals in road-salt they can experience:

  • Dryness
  • Cracking
  • Trauma
  • Frostbite
  • Chemical Burns

Fortunately, there are some tips and products out there that can help keep your fur-kid’s paws happy and healthy as this winter drags on and on.

Protective Balms
I like “Bag Balm” for my fur-kid’s feet in the winter. Before using balm, make sure your fur-kid’s paws are ready. If your dog has long hair  CAREFULLY use use a clipper or scissors to trim the hair so that it is even with the pad.  Trim the hair around the paws especially if they have a lot of feathering so that none of the hair touches the ground when they walk. This will help prevent ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads and it also makes it easier to apply the balm to the pads. Keeping your fur-kid’s nails trimmed is important year-round but even more so in the winter because long nails force the paw to splay out and make it more likely that snow and ice will accumulate between the paw pads.

Apply a thin even layer of balm just before going out for a walk.  If we are walking your fur-kid for you this winter then leave some out for us and we will be happy to apply it for you. After you get done with your dog-walk wipe your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth to remove snow, ice and road-salt. Put additional balm to soothe any irritation and to keep their paws from drying out. Bag Balm can be found in most drug stores and pet stores or you can use Vaseline as an alternative.

Dog Boots
Dog boots are made by various manufacturers and can be easily found online and in pet stores. They look like a sock-boot with a Velcro strap to help keep them in place. Some have soles which provide the additional benefit of adding traction. These boots protect the paw by helping them stay dry and preventing exposure to salt and de-icers. Be sure to check that the strap is not too tight; the boot should be snug so that it doesn’t slip off but not so tight that it constricts the paw. Dogs tend to not to like wearing the boots at first so acclimate them to wearing them by putting them on your dog for short periods of time in the house. Praise them and gradually increasing the length of time as they get used to them.

Finally, salt and most de-icers can be poisonous to our fur-kids. Keep your fur-baby away from roads and sidewalks that have been heavily treated with salt and chemical de-icers. There are pet friendly de-icers available for use on your own sidewalks and driveway and you should encourage your neighbors to do the same. Don’t let your fur-kid inject snow or drink from puddles that are near these areas.

This winter especially has been tough for this area, but following the advice above can keep your fur-kid’s tooties healthy and them happy this winter.

– By Beth Green
Pack Leader For Paws Pet Care Pet Sitting & Dog Walking