If you are an adventurer and a dog parent, you will likely be taking your pooch along for the ride. Or maybe, you and your fido call a cold place your home.
While the winter holds no candle to your pet’s enthusiasm to go out and play in the snow, as a pet parent, you need to be mindful of a few things. Protecting your dog’s paws in the winter should top the list of all things necessary for a fun and healthy winter for your pet.
Why Should You Protect Your Dog’s Paws in Winter?
Most times, the cold weather brings with it hazards and potential threats to your pupper:
Paw Injuries: Snow or ice crystals and other sharp objects buried underneath can pierce their paws and cause serious injuries.
Frostbites: One of the most common hazards for dogs and other pets is the painful frostbites during the winters. If not protected, they might end up damaging the delicate nerves on the toes and paws.
Hypothermia: This is not just a paw issue but the complete body issue where the dog can undergo shock due to extreme cold. Hypothermia should be treated immediately by an expert. If you are stuck in a place where reaching a vet is hard, you can rely on veterinary telehealth services like WaggleVet for emergency aids.
Poisoning: Many anti-freeze and ice-melting elements contain toxic chemicals that can stick to the dog’s paws. Dogs tend to lick their paws and, as a result, may end up ingesting these chemicals as well, which can lead to an upset stomach, or worse, severe poisoning.
Caring for your dog’s paws in the winter is crucial because their sturdy yet sensitive structures are more prone to damage and injury than any other part of the body. Even winter-bred dogs like Alaskan Malamute or the Siberian Husky too are susceptible to paw damage, especially the young ones.
This may be because the snow or cold grounds may lead to frostbites or extreme dryness that can be very painful. Imagine living with bleeding, chapped lips all through winter. This is what happens when dog paws are not given the proper protection when the mercury dips.
Icy sidewalks are usually cleaned by sprinkling salt or chemicals to melt the snow and clear the path. These elements are corrosive and very damaging to the dog’s paws.
Pet paw care during winter is all about simple tweaks that can help protect and heal their paws during the cold or bitter winters.
Protecting Your Dog’s Paws in Winter
If you think it is too cold for you outside, it is probably the same for your pet as well. How to protect your dog’s paws in winter? There are many answers to this question, but we will be focusing on the most doable ones that can make everyday life easier for you and your pooch.
1. Hydration is Key
For humans or dogs, hydration is vital for survival during winter. Your pet’s skin and paw pads require proper hydration to stay flexible and healthy. This is harder to achieve in dry months. Ensure that your pooch continues to lap in water all through the day and carry a bottle when on long walks. You can also use a humidifier to keep the skin moisturized.
2. Keep the Paw Pads Well Groomed
Irrespective of the amount of fur on your dog’s body, the paws are always covered with a layer of fur. It is to protect the soft pad. However, letting them grow is not a good idea as they attract dirt, grime, and chemicals that dogs may ingest while licking their paws.
Set up appointments with your local groomer, or snip off that extra hair every month yourself. Dogs are usually antsy when getting their paw pads groomed – calm them down by talking to them or using a harness to keep them in place.
3. Keep the Paw Pads Moisturized
Before taking walks, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or your favorite paw balm to keep the paw pads supple and moisturized. The balm creates a barrier between the paws and external elements like snow and chemicals from coming in contact.
However, there is something like too much balm, and that may cause your pup to slip. Check if your dog has trouble walking or their paws keep sliding back. In that case, lightly wipe the extra layer away.
4. Invest in Dog Booties
Dog booties are the latest trend in dog fashion. As the name suggests, they are boots for dogs to protect from harsh environmental factors and, of course, keep them warm and safe during winters.
Investing in dog booties will also help heal damaged paws and give them ample protection against dryness and chemicals. Many such booties have non-slip soles, which makes them the perfect choice on icy grounds.
However, as a pet parent, you need to ensure that you have the correct size. Too tight may intervene with the circulation, while too big booties can lead to falls and accidents. We suggest you get your dog’s paws measured by the manufacturer.
The footgear is a little complicated for dogs to understand since they go against their natural instincts. However, allow them to take their time and start rewarding them for keeping their boots on.
5. Wash Your Dog Paws After Coming Home
On walks and outings, your dog might have picked up grime and chemicals. Keep them squeaky clean and safe by washing them after coming home. This not only negates the chance of infections but also the ingestion of poisonous substances.
6. Keep Your Dog Warm Overall
While this is not limited to only the paws, covering your dog’s whole body will do a whole lot better for your pet’s overall health. The heat from the body will care for the pupper’s safety and keep the paws warm. However, don’t forget the booties.
7. Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Paws
Is your pup limping? Do they yelp when they step on the snow or the cold ground? The matter runs deeper than just cold – your dog’s paws are either injured or extremely sensitive to cold hard surfaces. Check your pup’s paws for tenderness or injuries and consult your vet for the following steps to treatment.
8. Use Non-Toxic Ice-Melt
This is one of the best things you can do to keep your pooch safe from the harsh impact of chemicals. When you use non-toxic ice melt, you not only clean your sidewalks but also protect your dog from licking the chemicals from their paws. After all, prevention is better than cure! It also helps to shovel your yard regularly as it will keep your tasks to a minimum while protecting your dog against the cold ground.
9. Keep Walks Short During Winter
We know that dogs need a lot of exercise and movement. However, it is important to keep your walks short during winters so that you can protect your dog and their paws against frostbites.
Keep Your Pooch Safe this Winter!
Protecting your pupper’s paw is very important for their safety and mobility. While you can take the measures as mentioned earlier to ‘pawtect’ their paws, going for a more comprehensive plan will keep them safe and tail-waggingly happy.
If you are an RV traveler or a homeowner, having pets adds a sense of responsibility, and it increases multifold during the bitter cold. MyWaggle Pet Temperature monitor measures the ambient temperature for your pet where you are home or in your RV.
With real-time notifications, you can check whether your pooch is warm and safe. In case of temperature drops, you can immediately attend to your pet and bring them to safety.
Don’t brave the cold without a plan! MyWaggle Pet Temperature monitor can be the best gift to your pooch this winter!