We live in a city and it inevitable that our dogs are going to be exposed to some harsh conditions this winter. Not only is the ice, snow and cold detrimental to our dogs paws (and well-being in general) but the ice used to salt roads and sidewalks is also very harmful.
There is a melting agent in salt thrown on pavement that can make their paws sore and even lead to internal toxicity if ingested. Paw pads that are exposed to the elements and toxic chemicals are at a much higher risk for drying, cracking, trauma, frostbite, and chemical burns than in the summer months. Here are a few tips to help keep your dogs paw pads healthy this upcoming harsh winter.
Use a Humidifier
If you don’t already use a humidifier for yourself in the winter – you need to do this ASAP because it will change your life. No more waking up dying of thirst or with a dry nose because of the dry heat of winter. This goes for your dog as well. Their skin and paws dry out quickly in winter and having a humidifier on during the day or while you sleep will help keep their skin from becoming too dry.
Towel Dry Your Pet
It might sounds like a tedious task to wipe down your pet after going outside but wiping down their paws and between their toes is especially important. If you’re able to wipe them down and keep any de-icing agent from remaining on their skin and paws, it will not only reduce the chance of a reaction but it may also reduce the chance that they’ll lick it off of their paws and ingest it.
Give Your Dog a Haircut
Long hair, especially on the feet, can cause dogs to carry around and collect ice and snow as well as winter chemicals. Keeping the hair around their legs and feet neat and trim will reduce this risk.
Some dogs absolutely refuse to wear booties (can you blame them really) but if your pooch can tolerate them, it can drastically reduce damage to their paws. Salt not only has chemicals that the booties can protect against but it can also be sharp and jagged (imagine walking in your bare feet on the sidewalks in Chicago in the winter) and their paws can get easily damaged. The plus side of booties is also that your pet will collect less ice, snow and chemicals on their feet. The rubber booties are easy to clean, put on, and they come in sets and are cheap so losing one or two isn’t a big deal!
Put petroleum jelly on your pets paw pads before going outside to help protect them. This can also be used if their pads become badly damaged and need to be moisturized – but I prefer to use an all natural paw balm in case your pet decides to lick the balm off their feet!
If its too cold for you, its probably too cold for your pet. Try not to keep your pet outdoors for long periods and never leave them alone in vehicles.
Make sure to check out our latest blog on How to De-Stree for the Holidays!