Keeping your pups paws safe this winter!
With the holidays over and the New Year starting, snow, ice and salt are not far behind. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you and your pup survive the elements through the winter.
1. Check their paws regularly
After your daily walk, be sure to check their paws to ensure that there are no cracks in the pads or anything stuck in between. Visually inspect their paws and press gently on each pad and see if you notice any discomfort. I have found that starting this routine with my dogs when they are young has also made them less afraid to get their nails trimmed.
2. Trim their nails and hair between their toes
By keeping your dog’s nails trimmed year round, you avoid them splaying out their pads with long nails which can prevent build up between the toes. If you have a long haired dog, you may find that the fur between their toes grows fairly quickly. By keeping the hair consistently trimmed and even with the pads, you can avoid ice buildup. To make sure you are cutting your dog’s nails correctly, and with the least amount of fight as possible, learn more here.
3. Add a balm or wax to your dog’s winter routine
Apply a balm to your dog’s paws both before and after your walk. By applying the balm before the walk, you can protect their paws from snow, ice and salt. Once you get home, take a warm washcloth and simply wipe away any excess snow or salt and apply another layer of balm to avoid irritation or dried out paws. My favorite balm is Franklin and Whitman’s Seger Park Dog Balm. Springtime Supplements’ Skin and Coat Oil is also great addition to any dog’s meal to keep their pads healthy and moist from the inside out!
4. Avoid walking near ice melt and use a non-toxic brand
Salt can get stuck in between your dog’s pads and can heat up to around 170 degrees, causing potential burns. It would be best if you could avoid walking on sidewalks or driveways that are covered in these chemicals. If you must, please be sure to follow the step above and wipe your dog’s paws clean of any chemicals once you get inside to avoid burning their pads. Also, do not let your dogs lick or ingest any of the ice melt. There are a few non-toxic ice melts out there, such as Safe Paw’s Ice Melt. When you are in a store picking out an ice melt, choose something that does not say ‘keep away from children’ or ‘harmful if swallowed’ on the back of the container. The most common ingredients to avoid when buying ice melts are sodium chloride, calcium chloride, calcium salts; if the product is not safe for children, it will not be safe for your pet.
5. Consider using dog booties
Another option would be to try dog booties for your pet if he or she shows any reluctance when walking outside during the winter on frozen or salted surfaces.
Winter-proofing your pup’s paws is paw-fully important. For additional information to keep your dog safe this season, see our Five Steps To Get Your Dog Ready For Winter.