Protecting your dog's paws from ice and snow is essential to his well-being. In freezing temperatures, dogs are susceptible to various conditions ranging from dry, cracking paw pads to frostbite. Additionally, paw pads may come in contact with toxic chemicals from ice-melting agents on the ground. If your pet licks his paws afterward, it may result in illness. Before taking your dog for a walk in the snow, protect him from the elements just as you would protect yourself.
Trim the hair between your dog's paw pads to prevent the formation of ice balls. Place the shortest guard on a beard trimmer, and trim the hair level to the pad, so there is still some insulation between paw pads. If your dog has long hair on the sides of his paws, trim it shorter so it's not touching the ground.
Protect your pet's paw pads with a commercial paw wax product for dogs. Apply the wax before taking your dog outdoors. The wax forms a barrier and stops snow from sticking to his paws. Upon returning, moisten a washcloth with warm water and clean your dog's paw pads. Remove any ice, snow and salt residue. Dry your dog's paws with a towel, and apply a fresh layer of the wax to prevent dry pads. Baby oil or petroleum jelly can serve as alternatives to commercial wax.
Invest in weather-resistant dog boots. Dog boots slip onto your dog's feet and are secured with a Velcro attachments. Many come with non-slip soles, and just like human shoes, they're available in different sizes. The boots are waterproof, and they protect your dog's paws from moisture, salt, snow and ice. Put the boots on your dog indoors for a short time, so he can get used to them.
Bring your dog indoors if harsh weather conditions are predicted. Continuous exposure to cold temperatures, rain and winds can be harmful and even fatal for your dog.
Measure your dog's foot so you can purchase the correct boot size. Trace your dog's paw, including the toenails, on a piece of paper. Measure the traced drawing, from the front tip of the paw to the back of the paw. Compare your measurement with the merchant's sizing chart to find the right boot size.
Protect older dogs, toy breeds, short-haired dogs and puppies from winter elements, because they are especially sensitive to cold temperatures. Northern breeds, such as malamutes and huskies, may also require extra protection if they're not accustomed to being in cold temperatures.
Keep your pet's nails short year-round. Long nails open up the paw when walking, and this can allow a buildup of snow between the pads.
Items You Will Need
- Beard trimmer
- Dog paw wax
- Petroleum jelly or baby oil
- Dog boots
- pet dog feet paw image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com