Winterize Your Dog

March 4 | 5 Comments

_DSC4319We live in the south now so snowy paws aren’t much of an issue anymore but when we lived in New York it was a big deal.  Not only did Bo get the ice crystals stuck in his  paws he also got the salt in there.  You always knew when this happened on our walk because he would promptly stop wherever we were, like the middle of the road, and start licking his paw. It’s been a while since I had to deal with this so I went to Way Cool Dogs for some good tips on how to keep your dog’s paws safe.

Winterizing dog paws are on the same level of care as clean water, healthy dog food and freedom from disease. Dog paws are the most vulnerable and exposed part of the dog’s body. What most dog owners do not realize is that the paw of the dog causes them the most damage.

Darkening winter months bring to mind blowing arctic winds, bottomless drifts of deep snow, and bitter freezing sleet. Because we over-estimate our dog’s resistance to the winter cold, many dogs develop frostbitten pads or cracked paws, while dogs with cancer are more vulnerable than ever during these cold months.

Damage to dog paws is considered a winter menace, due to things like low temperatures, chemical deicers, cracked pads from walking on winter terrain, hypothermia, snow or ice packs inside the pad of the paw, or soft tissue injuries from falling on slick grounds. By winterizing dog paws using preventive measures, your dog will able to remain safe and dry.

 The pads on the bottom of the dog paw are sensitive, with hair around it collecting snow and ice. What causes the damage is when a hard ice ball forms within the pad, making it impossible for the dog to walk on it. Eventually, the dog will go lame if the ball is not removed.

Ice ball prevention in dog paws

Keep the hair trimmed around the pads of the feet

Some owners apply a ‘tiny bit of petroleum jelly or olive oil when the dog is preparing to go outside

Because dogs lick their feet a lot during the winter month, make sure the oils are edible

 Dog boots for dogs

 Know what size to buy ­

Measure the width of the paw from the outer edge of the two outside pads, or trace his feet on paper

Compare what is on the dog to what is on the boot chart for a good fit

Learn how to put them on properly

Train the dog to get used to the boots before going on a long walk, by placing the dog outside immediately

There are many types of dog boots: high fashion, snow boots, rain boots, orthopedic, sneakers, sandals, slippers, socks, reflective and disposable dog boots­­­­

Dog boots run from under $13 to over $43

In addition to ice packs in the central pads of the dog’s feet, their paws can get splits in the webbing between their toes from winter conditions. In addition, a good pair of winter dog boots has traction on their bottom in addition to being water resistant. Winterizing dog paws will prevent damage during the winter, in addition to preventing their pads during the hottest times of the month on searing pavement.







5 Responses to “Winterize Your Dog”

  1. Way Cool Dogs on March 4th, 2014 7:26 pm

    Hey Lisa,

    NICE ARTICLE! ha ha Truth is, not enough people know about winter care of their dog’s paws. This is something that just does not get around enough, agreed? I have dogs who just go out to toilet for a short time, and come in holding up one foot or another, crying to me. When we pick them up and hold them, their little feet are like ice. Even a little crocheted bootie is better than nothing. We keep our porch door open a little, so they can come in and warm their feet on the porch rug. Other than that, we stand by the porch door window and watch when they come in….open shut door, open shut door, open shut door. Meanwhile, the kitchen is damn cold!

    Thanks for the words.

    Nancy and Holly Higgins

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