Although not all dogs were built for winter, every single one of them deserves a little extra love during the cold months. We humans can complain all we want about winter being too cold and a general nuisance, but we can always bundle up to make sure we are comfortable. Now think about your beloved four-legged creature, particularly their paws which are exposed to toxic chemicals and the elements. As a result, their paw pads are prone to cracking, chemical burns, drying, trauma and frostbite. To avoid all this and keep your furry friend comfortable during the cold, here’s what you can do:
Use protective balms
While there are balms available for your dog’s paws, you can use products made for humans. Make sure to apply a thin layer of the solution before heading out for a walk. Use a warm washcloth to wipe your dog’s paws after a walk to remove ice, snow and ice melt. Apply another layer of balm to alleviate irritation as well as prevent it from drying up.
Groom your dog’s paws
Make sure to keep the hair between on your dog’s paw pads short so it doesn’t come into contact with the ground. Doing this prevents the formation of ice balls around the paws. Keeping their nails short also makes it less likely for ice to accumulate between the pads.
Let your dog wear boots
Although not every dog will like this idea, it is an effective way of keeping the paws of your pet dry and safe from the elements. A number of shops sell this product and they can also be found online. Since not all dogs take kindly to being asked to wear boots, try and get them used to it by letting them wear the boots around the house for short periods. Once they seem fine with it, increase the length of time they have to wear it.
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Other winter care tips for dogs
- Keep in mind that salt and de-icers are toxic to dogs. When walking your dog in the winter, don’t lead them on roads and sidewalks that have been treated with ice and de-icers. There are pet-friendly de-icers available so you can use those in your area.
- Wash your dog’s paws after a walk. Wet a cloth with warm water and use that to wipe the paws of your dog. This removes snow and ice and prevents their formation around the paws.
- Watch your dog closely. While you should do this all the time, pay extra attention that your canine doesn’t eat slush or drink from a puddle close to areas with treated roads and sidewalks.
- Keep walks short. Hypothermia and frostbite are just two of the things your dog is susceptible to during the winter, so try to take shorter walks. Plus, be on the lookout for anxiety, shivering and slow movement as these are signs of hypothermia.
Dogs need exercise but winter can be a trying time for their paws. That said, the tips presented here ensures you’ll have a fun time with your pooch even during the cold months.