Frostbite, cuts from ice or rock salt, harmful chemicals…there are many winter dog paw hazards that can affect your pup.
However, you can’t very well keep your dog cooped up until the spring thaw, so if you live in a cold climate, it’s a good idea to recognize your options for dog paw protection.
Here’s How to Protect Your Pet’s Paws During Harsh Winter Months
You wouldn’t go for a winter walk without dressing accordingly, why should your dog go out without preparation? Here are 4 ways to prepare your dog before your walk and to clean up afterwards.
1- Paw Balm – Rub a little paw balm on your pet’s paw pads before your walk and viola, your dog has instant protection on those pads. Why? Because paw balm is specially formulated to act as a protective moisturizing layer.
2- Consider Booties – Yes, it will talk your dog some time to get accustomed to wearing them but they’re the best way to protect your dog’s feet. They’re waterproof which means your pup’s paws will stay warm and dry. And since your dog’s paws won’t come in contact with ice or toxic ice-melting chemicals they also won’t track snow, mud, and chemicals inside.
3- Wash Your Paws – If you’ve ever looked closely at the underside of your pet’s paws, you know there’s a lot going on there. There are nooks and crannies where all sort of stuff can hide including lumps of ice. That’s why it’s important to wash your dog’s paws when you come in from walks. Between the slush, mud, chemicals used to melt ice, and the chance of ice shards stuck in there, it just makes sense to wash your dog’s paws. Some people like to keep a shallow pan of water (like a cookie tray with sides) near the door for their dog to walk through after they come home. Then you can pat them dry with a towel and double check for any potential problems.
4- Use Pet-Safe Ice Melters – Some of the chemicals used to melt ice are dangerous to dogs. And we all know how dogs like to lick their paws after they’ve walked through something. One of the ingredients that aren’t safe for pooches is common rock salt. Did you know that rock salt can get trapped in your dog’s paws – deep in one of those crannies – and it can heat up to 170 degrees?
It’s true. 170 degrees is enough to burn your dog’s paws. As if that isn’t bad enough, the salt will dry out your dog’s paws and entice your dog to lick the affected area which adds more salt and therefore more dryness.
To find a pet-safe ice melter, make sure the packaging doesn’t say anything about keeping it away from pets and children. And stay away from rock salt. Two chemicals that are safe for dog paws are modified crystalline carbonyl diamide and eco safe glycol. If you must use harsh chemicals to melt ice, be sure to wash your dog’s paws thoroughly.
Ultimately, winter can be rough on our pet’s paws. But with a little planning, you can protect your dog’s paws.