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Protecting your Dog’s Paws in the Snow and Ice

Your dog’s paws can take a beating in the winter unprotected from the snow, slush, ice, cold, rock salt and chemical de-icers on the ground. Without a little attention, they can develop cracked, dry foot pads, blisters, and even infections. There are some steps that you can take, however, to keep your dog’s paws clean and healthy throughout the winter season.

Take some time before you take him out for a walk to prepare his paws for the conditions. For dogs with long hair, clumps of ice, salt and sometimes even gravel can easily gather in between their toes and it can really hurt for them to walk. Help avoid this clumping by keeping hair between the toes trimmed. Also keeping their nails trimmed is another way to avoid clumps of ice forming in between the toes. Long nails cause the toes to separate further apart when they walk.

After a walk or playtime outdoors, always make sure to clean your dog’s paws with warm water. While you are washing, make sure to inspect the paws to make sure that there aren’t any sore, red areas or cracks that need special attention. Use petroleum jelly on any areas to sooth these areas. Petroleum jelly can also be placed on the dog’s pads before venturing out into the winter weather for extra protection.

Some areas where you may take your dog will be heavily salted or may contain various other melting agents. It is important to try to stay away from these areas. Salt can cause extreme dryness in the foot pads that leads to cracking and blisters. Dogs can also ingest the salt and chemicals by licking the paws, which can cause serious health issues. There are many pet-safe melting agents available on the market these days. And, in special cases, neoprene booties can offer the ultimate protection.

By taking a few extra minutes to pay attention to your dog’s paws this winter, you can ensure that your pal will be healthy and ready for that 5-mile hike come spring!


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