Protect Your Pooch's Paws this Winter


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 and sidewalks."

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


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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.

Applying balm

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.

Dog boots

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

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