dogsnowIf you haven’t already realized dogs love to play in the snow. But when the mercury drops,  the bitter cold and  snowy winter months can take a huge toil causing chapping and cracking of your dog’s paws & pads. As loving pet owners it is important to be aware & beware of the dangers that snow and cold weather present to our pets paws. Making dog paw care a top priority will save your dog a lot of paw-ache, pain & trouble.  Here are some winter paw care pet tips to minimize pain and discomfort while keeping your pups paws healthy.

1. These Booties Are Made for Walking! Grit, salt & ice melting granulates & chemicals from sidewalks and streets can be very troublesome to your pet. The salt can irritate their pads and cause painful cracking. So, introducing a pair of booties into your dogs wardrobe will protect your dog’s feet from salt, chemical de-icers and grit. As well as lower your pets risk of getting hypothermia by helping to retain body heat.

If you and your dog are not keen on the idea of booties be sure to rinse and dry your pet’s feet after being outside in snow and icy conditions. Often times your pet will lick their paws when they are wet or to sooth irritation, leading to ingestion of these toxic substances. Instead opt for a non toxic & pet friendly deicing solutions. Sand, gravel and non-clumping cat litters are the safest option for traction on ice and snow.

2. Apply a soothing paw balm. To prevent ice balls from forming during longer outside adventure’s, rubbing your dogs pads with a soothing paw balm or vaseline before going outside can help. Be sure to use and edible all natural balm, because dogs will lick away.

Always check your dogs paws after coming indoors to make sure paws are free from rock salt debris which can cause cracking & drying. Snow, grit and de-icing products can accumulate in these cracks and contribute to blisters, sore pads and infections. Balm should be applied after a long walk outdoors.

3. Keep Nails Trimmed. Nails that are too long can cause a considerable amount of discomfort when walking on cold, hard surfaces. Always keep your pet’s nails trimmed to a comfortable length.

4. Pave the way! We all love a shoveled walk way free of ice and snow, and so does your pet. Always give you and your pet a safe path, free from the winter elements. Sharp pieces of ice or snow can cause abrasions on the pads.

Injuries happen from stepping on items obscured by snow, sharp edges on ice, and sometimes from snow toys and implements used to remove snow. So when you are done shoveling the sidewalks & walkways make sure to put tools away.

5. Give a Warm foot bath. Wash your dog’s paws in warm water when you get home. It will warm his feet up and melt ice that has formed between his toes. Not to mention it will wash off any toxic salt or deicing chemical residue on his paws that your dog might be tempted to lick off. Salt & deicing chemicals can cause vomiting, diarrhea and death if ingested so be diligent and keep paws squeaky clean. Once paws are cleaned apply a soothing paw balm.

6. First Aid 101: It’s a good idea to check your dog’s paws thoroughly & daily for any abrasions, cracked pads and grit stuck between his toes. Treat your dogs paw injuries promptly. If dog has a minor injury gently cleanse the wound with warm water and a mild soap, and apply pressure to stop bleeding. Paw pads are very thick and slow to heal; deep cuts to the paw pads usually require sutures for proper healing and will require vet assistance.

7. Trim Fur between the pads. Compacted snow, grit and salt on the bottom of your dog’s paws or your boots can make walking difficult, and affect you and your dogs  ability to stay on your feet. Snowy slush is attracted to your dogs fur. Keeping the fur between pads trimmed will reduce the amount of slush that clings to their vulnerable paws and prevent your pup from slipping and sliding on the sidewalks.

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