Thursday, 3 January 2013

Winter Paw Care Tips

Dear Pet People,

Paw prints in the snow ...

... so cute; but winter can be very hard on your dog's paws. 

Snow, ice, freezing temperatures, rock salt and chemical de-icers can make your dog's paws very sore.  Many dogs experience chapped paw pads, irritation and dry flaky skin during the winter months.  

Here are a few tips to help your dogs stay on top of winter:

-Trim the fur between the toes and pads of your dog's paws. The fur between a dog's toes can collect salt and balls of snow that will irritate paw pads.  Also remember to towel dry paws when your dog comes in from playing in the backyard.

- Rinse your dog's paws when coming in from a walk.  Rinsing will remove salt and other de-icing products that can cause burning and irritation to the paw pads.  A warm water rinse followed by towel drying will also prevent your dog from ingesting salt and chemicals if your dog licks his paws.  Also remember to clean salt off door mats, boots and floors, especially if your dog likes to lick your boots or chew mats.

- Humidify your home. Many dogs experience dry, itchy flaky skin on their bodies and their paws during the winter.  Proper home humidification helps alleviate dry skin on your dog.

- Be aware of the weather conditions.  If it's too cold for you, it's likely too cold for your dog.  Most breeds of dogs should not be left outside in the cold for a long time.  Frostbite can occur on a dog's paws, ears, tail and other extremities.  If you suspect your dog has frostbite or hypothermia, you must to take her to a veterinarian for proper assessment and treatment.

- Inspect your dog's paws regularly. Get in the habit of giving your dog's paws a quick daily inspection.  Sharp ice can cut the paws, and prompt treatment of other skin ailments is important.

- Use pet-friendly de-icers. Visit a pet supply store for a pet-friendly alternative to rock salt and other chemicals to melt ice on sidewalks and driveways.

- Use balms and paw wax. There are many brands of soothing balms that can be applied to sore paw pads.  Paw wax is a product that is applied to a dog's paw pads before going for walks.  Visit a pet supply store or ask your veterinarian for some recommendations.

-Buy booties.  If your dog will wear them, dog booties provide the best protection against the winter elements.  Proper sizing is important for a comfortable fit and maximum protection.

Winter can be a great season for your dog.  Following these steps can help your dog have fun with his friends all winter long!

Enjoy your pets,


** If you have any concerns regarding your dog's health, please visit a veterinarian, as this blog is not a substitute for proper medical care.