Winter Care for your Dog’s Paws
There is no denying that Canadian winters can be harsh for both humans and dogs. The exposure to cold air and snow can be harmful to their paw pads. It can cause dryness, cracking, trauma, frostbite and chemical burns, which can cause discomfort on walks. Extra care needs to be taken during the winter to ensure their paws are kept clean from ice melting chemicals. Luckily there are some tips and products out there to help keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy this winter!
Groom the Feet
Before taking your dog out for a walk, trim the fur around the paws so that they don’t come in contact with the ground, this is also a good time to ensure the nails are trimmed. This step is important when preparing for your wintery walk as it serves several functions. Grooming the feet prevents ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads, it also reduces the amount of salt and de-icing chemicals that can be picked up. Once completing this step it will make it much easier to apply the balm to the pads.
Prep the Paws
Apply an even layer of wax before going out for a walk, this creates a physical barrier between your dog’s paws and the winter elements. Check out the following link for a DIY recipe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipiQZyAWWHc/
Another good option to consider when protecting your dog’s paws from the cold, and chemicals is dog boots. Dog boots are made by various manufacturers and can easily be found online or in pet stores. These boots protect the paws by helping them stay dry and preventing exposure to salt and deicers. Many dogs typically do not enjoy wearing these boots so praise them and gradually increase the length of time worn.
After your walk, wipe your dog’s paws down with a warm washcloth, be sure to clean the area between the toes. This prevents them from ingesting any salt or chemicals and is also a good time to apply a thin layer of Vaseline to soothe any irritation and to keep the paw pads from drying out.
We all know how rough winter can be, so by following these simple tips, it can minimize the impact the cold weather and harsh chemicals will have on your pet. Also be sure to take your dog on frequent short walks rather than long ones as it diminishes the chances of irritating the paw pads with the cold, salt and chemicals.
Please be aware that salt and most deicers can be toxic to our canine friends. Try to keep your dog away from roads and sidewalks that have been heavily treated with salt and chemical deicers.
There are pet-friendly deicers available for use on your own sidewalks and driveway and you should encourage your neighbours to do the same.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our hospital at 905-855-2100, we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Written by Stefanie, CCR