Winter Paw Care
Winter can be a tough time for your dog’s paw pads. Prevent winter weather-related paw pad injuries by following some basic dog paw care tips and the use of products designed for paw protection.
How To Prevent Paw Pad Injuries
One of the biggest threats to healthy paw pads is the salt used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. Prolonged contact with deicers can lead to chemical burns on dog paws. If your dog is limping toward the end of a walk, deicing products may be hurting his feet. Whenever possible, get your dog off the salty sidewalk and into the grass or snow for walking.
Another threat from deicers is ingestion. Dogs may lick their paws or your boots and ingest deicing salts. To prevent your dog from ingesting deicing salts, keep a shallow bowl of warm water and a cloth near the entryway to your home so that you can wipe your boots and your dog’s paws when coming in from the cold.
Another common cause of sore paws during the cold winter months are the ice balls which form between the pads and toes of hairy-footed dog. To reduce the risk of ice balls, keep inter-pad hair trimmed neatly and short during the winter months. Not only can hairy feet contribute to the development of ice balls on the feet, paw hair can retain a lot of those nasty deicing salts. If your dog has hairy feet, trim them throughout the winter.
Dogs left in the cold for long periods of times are also at risk for frostbite on paws (and other extremities – ears, tail, etc.) and hypothermia. It is not advised that dogs spend hours in the cold. In winter, more frequent short walks are better for your dog than a single long walk. If you suspect your dog has hypothermia or frostbite, get him to a vet right away!
Additionally, just like the dry winter air can dry out human skin, it can contribute to the drying and cracking of dog paws. Bag Balm, a product available at nearly every pharmacy, applied in a thin layer daily or every other day should help keep your dog’s paws from cracking and bleeding. Keeping a humidifier in the house should also prevent dry, itchy skin for both you and your pet.
Products For Protecting Dog Paws
There are many products on the market designed to protect dog paw pads during the winter month, from “pet safe” deicing products to protective waxes and dog booties.
Safe Paw is a common pet-friendly deicer, but sand, small stones, and kitty litter (non-clumping) are also options for deicing while protecting your dog’s pads from injury and chemical burns.
Musher’s Secret is one of the most popular paw waxes. Paw wax is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk; forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty sidewalk or pavement. Paw wax will wear away after extended exercise, and should be reapplied before each walk.
The best protection for your dog’s paws and pads are dog booties. Just as wearing boots in the winter protects your pads, dog booties will prevent injury to your dog’s feet. Dog boots can protect your dog’s paws from salt, ice balls, and cutting his pads on sharp items that may be hidden under the snow or sharp ice. Proper sizing of dog booties is especially important in ensuring that the booties are comfortable for your dog to wear and maximize paw protection.
Muttluks and Ruffwear are two popular providers of dog booties. If you are crafty, check out this great DIY page for a guideline on how to make your own home made dog booties.
Dog booties may look silly, but really are the ultimate protection for your dog. Human snowsuits look silly also, but are they not the best for keeping sledding kids warm? Just as your kid may not want to wear a snowsuit, your dog may not initially like wearing booties. With a little time and patience, you can train your dog to love wearing his dog boots!
Teach your dog to be comfortable having his paws handled by people before even trying to apply the boots. When your dog is comfortable having his paws handled, begin introducing the boots one at a time, and for very short periods of time. Use lots of yummy treats when the dog has the boots on, to teach him that it is nothing to worry about – in fact, boots on his paws make really good stuff happen (initially treats, eventually walks)! Once he’s ok with a bootie on each paw individually, put two boots on in random combinations. Then introduce all four boots, and let him practice walking around the house. Once he’s comfortable in the house, walk him around the back yard and front yard. At this point, your dog will realize that “these boots are made for walking!” So bundle up, both of you, and get out there in the snow for some safe, wintery exercise.
January 21, 2010 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | cold weather pet care, PAWS, prevent pad and paw injuries, winter paw care
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!