While your dog may be happy to grab a walk no matter the weather,
when the temperature drops it can cause them serious pain to walk
on ice, salt or chemical treatments. Learn about some of the most
painful winter hazards for dogs and what you can do to maintain
good dog safety this winter.
Cold-weather dog safety
If you're in an area of the U.S. that gets below freezing in the
winter, your pooch could have to worry about ice. Ice shards can
cut a dog's paws, while the salt or chemical de-icer can eat away
at the bottom of your dog's feet, Kimberly May, director of
professional and public affairs with the American Veterinary
Medical Association, noted on Exceptional Canine."There's a
risk of physical injury from rough or sharp surfaces or edges
that can cut or abrade the paw pads," she explained. "There's
also a risk of frostbite or cold damage, and the risk of chemical
burns from non pet-friendly ice-melting chemicals put on roads
Look for the warning signs
The AVMA explained on its website that pet parents can do
their part by checking for trouble in their dog's paws. Simply
look at your furry friend's paws when you're relaxing at home. If
you spot a cracked or bleeding paw pad, they may have cut
themselves on ice or experienced a bad reaction to de-icer. Talk
to your veterinarian about treatment to avoid infection or
serious pain.If you notice lameness in one or multiple paws, your
dog might also be in trouble.
While you're out walking, lameness
can point toward an ice buildup on the paw
, the AVMA explained. Keep an eye out for injuries caused by
hooks, glass, splinters or other year-round paw dangers as well.
Prevent any problems
Make sure your dog doesn't have any trouble with these paw
dangers on your property by using pet-safe de-icer that
eliminates pesky ice without causing paw pain. However, when you
travel on public roads or farther afield, you don't know what
types of chemicals might be in use.Consider trying some winter
booties for your pooch. These protect against chemicals, salt and
ice shards. Additionally, the AVMA explained that cutting the fur
at the bottom of your dog's paw can help prevent ice buildup.
However, this fur is also protective, so consult your
veterinarian before snipping away.Head to
for a membership that helps you save on medicine,
supplements and pet care every season.
Preparing the Dog's Paws for Winter
Winter could be tough on your dog's paw pads. This body part is
exposed to the elements and modern day toxic pollution. The pads
are at risk of chemical burns, drying, frostbite, cracking, and
trauma. There are however some ways through which you can help
your dog to avoid them and keep the paws healthy and happy at the
time when the temperature significantly drops. Many protective
balms are available in the market, and some human use products
are helpful too. Do a little research and buy the product most
suitable for your dog. Once you bring a balm home, you have to do
some activities to keep your dog safe in winter.
The first step is to prepare the paws. The paws should be ready
before the balm application. Healthy winter feet is possible only
if you groom your dog well. In-case your dog has long hairs, use
clippers to cut the hair between paw pads so that the length of
the hair is even with the pad. Trim hair around paws to make sure
that the hair does not touch the ground. This will prevent ice
ball formation around and between the paw pads. Ice formation is
extremely painful and can be traumatic to the dog. Apply balm to
pads. Although the nails should be trimmed all through the year,
it is more important to do so in winter as the long nails compel
the paw to wideout. This makes it more probable that ice and snow
will collect between the pads.
Apply balm as a thin layer before you take out your dog for its
winter walk. Wipe the dog's paws after you two finish the walk.
Use a warm washcloth to wipe and remove ice, ice melt, and snow.
Once you do this, apply another layer of balm. This will soothe
the irritation, and it will also prevent the paw from drying out.
If you cannot locate balm, then regular human-use vaseline will
do the trick. Another excellent alternative to protect your dog's
paws is to buy dog boots. They are sold in most pet stores. The
boot is sock-like and has velcro straps. The straps keep the
shoes in position. A few boots come with soles which offer the
extra benefit of traction. The boots help the paws to stay dry.
They also prevent exposure to de-icers and salt. After you strap
on the boots, make sure they are not too tight. The fit should be
a snug one. It should not be loose as the boots will come off.
You should acclimatise your dog to wear boots as canines do not
like to wear them