Winter can be especially hard on a dog’s paws. Unprotected from ice, snow, and slush, and bitter cold, their paws need special care in winter. By taking a little extra time to keep your dogs’ paws well-groomed, you can minimize problems with cracked, sore pads, blisters and infections.
Keep in mind that if the ice and snow doesn’t hurt the foot pads of your pet this winter, the salt most definitely will. Rock salt and most chemical de-icers can irritate a dog’s paws and turn a winter walk into a painful ordeal. Stay away from heavily salted areas as much as possible when walking your dog. Following are some easy ways you can keep your dog’s paws healthy and protected. I like to call it DOGGIE SPA AT HOME 🙂
1) Inspect paws after walking in areas where salt and other de-icers were spread around. Make sure to check between toes and examine the foot pads for cracks in the skin. Look closely at any inflamed areas for splinters, embedded gravel.
2) Snow, especially wet snow, clings to long haired dogs as they run and play in the snow creating the horrifying “snowballs”. Saying this make sure to trim the hair in between your dog’s paws and around their foot to avoid the snow getting stick to the hair beneath a dog’s paws. You can use a sharp grooming scissors and if there are any mats between the pads, be very carefully when cutting the mat out. At this point getting assistance from a grooming venue is advised. Believe it or not sometimes pieces of rock salt and gravel along with the snow get stuck in the “snowballs”. When this happen the walk hurts.
3) Always wash paws with warm water and some organic dog soap after outdoor play and winter walks, and I mean ALWAYS!! By doing this you will get rid of any chemicals from the road salt and any other de-icers, as well as melting any snowballs. Remember if you don’t the chances to have crack paws are bigger. If you prefer you can always use no-odour baby natural wipes. Although I am a big fan of the warm water instead. Your dog will enjoy it more!
4) Keep the de-icers in a safe place and away from your dogs. Ingesting rock salt or chemical de-icing products can have a toxic effect. You can get pet-safe ice melting but I like to have it sure so, just put the products were fido can’t have access to it.
5) After washing, apply Vaseline or Bag Balm to foot pads to soothe irritated paws. I usually use the Bag Balm (you can find it at stores that have horses products) before every walk on Mylo and it has made a difference!
If you follow these simple 5 TIPS during winter season you will have a happy dog enjoying walks and outdoor play time while you save some bucks from NOT having to go to the vet!
Happy Doggie Spaw!
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