7 tips on how to protect dog paws in snow and winter
Does your dog love the outdoors, no matter the weather? Learn how to keep your pup's paws happy and healthy with these easy-to-follow tips!
As a dog parent, you know paw care is key to keeping your furry friend happy. You know it’s important to check, groom, and protect their paws regularly. But what about protecting your dog’s paws in snow? During winter, dogs paws are especially vulnerable. Just like us, dogs are sensitive to cold. Exposure to cold air, rain and snow can cause chapped paws and dry, itchy skin. Then there’s things like ice, chemicals and melting salts that can hurt your dog. Good thing is, we can show you how to protect dog paws in snow and winter.
Does snow hurt dog paws?
It’s complicated. The winter season, in addition to snow, can also bring some risks for dog paws that are worth watching out for. You’ll want to protect your dog’s paws from these potential hazards:
- Freezing temperatures and frostbite
- Toxic chemical agents on streets
- Ice-melting salt
- Sharp ice
- Objects hidden under snow
7 ways to protect dog paws in snow and winter
The salt used to melt ice on roads and sidewalks is not kind to dog’s paws, and nice winter walks can become downright dangerous if your dog starts licking chemicals from ice-melting agents.
In any case, you can keep your dog more paw-sitive by regularly following this simple 4-step paw care routine.
1. Regular grooming
First of all, make sure your dog’s paws are winter-ready. Good grooming is essential for healthy winter feet. Trim long-haired dogs to make it harder for bits of ice, salt crystals or ice-melting chemicals to dry and cling to their skin. Take special care when doing their feet, and trim any extra hair growing on the paws.
2. Regular cleaning
Whether walking through city or country, avoiding all the ice-melting salt on the roads can be almost impossible in winter. So be sure to clean your dog’s paws as soon as you’re back home. Warm water and a cloth should do the trick. Then of course, make sure your dog doesn’t stay wet for too long. Dry your furry friend off with towels and let them sit by the fireplace if you have one.
While walking, have a towel on hand to immediately clean any snow, salt or debris that gets on your dog’s paws.
3. Short dog walks
Dogs left in the cold for long periods of time are also at risk of frostbite on paws and hypothermia. In general, dogs should avoid spending hours out in the cold. In winter, frequent short walks are better for your dog than a single long daily walk.
With the sun going down earlier in winter, make sure you’re familiar with the possible dangers of walking your dog in the dark. And get your dog a GPS dog tracker so you can always keep an eye on them, day or night.
4. Moisturize dog paws
Many of us need a little extra moisture in winter, and we use creams, lotions and moisturizers to keep our skin soft and healthy. Our furry friends can benefit from this too! Use a store-bought dog paw balm, such as Vitamin E cream1, or a homemade recipe like the one below to protect your dog’s paws in snow.
Homemade dog paw balm recipe
- 80 ml olive oil
- 30 g organic shea butter
- 15 g beeswax
- 20 g pine resin (collected or ordered online)
- 3 tsp marigold (don’t have any? ask your neighbor if they have some in their garden)
- 1 small jam glass to store the cream
- Put all the ingredients together in the glass.
- To melt and combine the ingredients, put the glass inside a bowl of hot water for approximately 30 minutes (being careful not to get any water into your mixture).
- When you notice the cream starting to get a medium consistency (not too thick and not too runny), take it out, put it in another glass and leave it to cool down.
This recipe makes 150 grams of homemade dog paw balm. All these ingredients are very powerful when used together; some have anti-inflammatory properties, while others have a calming effect on the skin.
The balm can be applied anytime; after a bath, after exposure to cold air, or just before you put on your dog’s shoes. Your pup will love being pampered after receiving their dog paw moisturizing treatment!
5. Dog boots
Just as wearing boots in the winter protects your feet, dog shoes or booties will prevent injury and protect dog paws in snow. Dog boots will protect your dog’s paws from salt, ice balls and sharp items that may be hidden under the snow. Your pup may not like the boots at the beginning but, with a little time and patience, you can train your dog to love wearing their booties!
Get a matching dog jacket to go along with your new dog shoes!
6. Beware the cold
It’s good to remember that if the weather is too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog. Our furry companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when it’s really cold.
7. Be mindful of your friend
During winter time, try to care for your dog’s feet like you do your own. When your feet get cold, sore, and blistered, the discomfort can make you miserable. Your dog feels the same way. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior to check for any signs of discomfort or distress. Show your dog a little love during winter by taking good care of their paws.
For more tips on how to protect dog paws in snow, check out the video below:
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