Walking the dogs in the Snowy weather is fun but ice and snow can cause damage to your dog’s paws. Snow and ice can get stuck in between the pads on your dog’s paws, causing cuts and uncomfortably cold toes. Even a small amount of build-up under your dog’s feet can pull the sensitive hairs underneath and cause a noticable loss of traction. In addition, rock salt, anti-freeze and other sidewalk treatments can leave your dog with painful, sore feet. During the winter, you’ll need to take extra steps to prevent problems like cuts, infections, sores and painful paws.
When you’re just coming in from a snowy walk and wonder how to free your dog’s feet from caked snow, the best way is to simply let it melt off in the heat of your home. You can dry of your dog with a towel and clean your dog’s paws with a babywipe, give special attention to the areas between the toes. If salt is stuck in the fur or ice between the pads don not try to pull it of this will be hurtful for the dog, try to soak the paws in some water and try again with some tissue or babywipes. To prevent these painful paws you could also consider dogboots, especially when you live in a climate with regular snowfall this is adviced. Dogs will have to get used to wearing dogboots/dogshoes but it can be a prevention and solution for problems with snow or in summer with hot pavements. Some funny video examples here: Bulldogs in Boots
Instructions on how to Care for your Dog’s Paws:
- Wash the paws with slightly warm water after going for a walk. You want to wash off harmful irritants like salt and prevent your dog from ingesting any of the chemical de-icers by licking their feet. This also eliminates any ice or snow that has built up between your dog’s toes that could make walking painful.
- Inspect your dog’s paws after every walk, particularly when you’ve walked in areas treated with salts or other sidewalk treatments. Be sure to check between the toes and look at the pad for any cracks or sore spots.
- Cut your dog’s nails and trim the hair on his feet regularly. Hair that is too long attracts snow and slush which can cause problems. Keep from cutting the fur too short, however, as it offers protection for your dog’s feet.
- Apply some oil to your dog’s paws to help sooth irritated feet. Be careful not to apply too much or too often as pads that are too soft can also lead to irritation. You can also apply just before going outside as it can help protect your dog’s feet but take it off when you get back inside. Pet stores also sell special wax or other products that work the same way.
- Purchase dog boots for your pet if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and cold or if your dog is susceptible to problem paws. The boots fit over your dog’s paws and offer warmth and comfort. You may want to look for some that have added traction on the bottom so that you’re dog has an easier time walking on the snow and ice.
- Treat any cuts, sores or infections that develop according to your vet’s instructions. If you notice that your dog seems to have painful feet even without sores, take a day or two off from walking in the snow.
Special thanks to Jane Morgan for her input.