Old man winter is settling in, and for most of us that means more time inside. But, if you have dogs, you know that your dogs can’t stay inside all the time. There are times that your dog needs to answer the call of nature, not to mention run off some of that pent up energy! 

You may know how to protect your dog from freezing temperatures, but have you given much thought to winter paw care? Paw pads are sensitive and need extra attention when snow, ice, and cold are at play. 

Fortunately there are several ways to protect your pet’s paws this winter. Keep reading for Parkside Animal Hospital’s best tips on winter paw care. 

Ready To Go

When you’re walking this winter with your dog, try and notice how cold the sidewalks are and tailor the length of your walks accordingly. If the sidewalks are too cold to your bare feet, chances are they are uncomfortable for your pet, too. 

To help protect your pet’s sensitive paws, you may want to try booties. You may love ‘em, you may hate ‘em, but booties may be the right answer for winter paw care. Although finding the perfect fit can be a challenge, booties can protect your pet’s paws from dryness and cracking, offer extra warmth, and prevent injury. 

You’ll want to train your pet to wear booties around the house first, offering praise, treats, and other rewards. Then, when your pet seems more comfortable, start short walks outside. You’ll work up to longer jaunts in no time. 

Good Grooming

Ice balls and snowpack can easily get caught in between toes and cause problems. To prevent this, trim the long hairs in between your pet’s toes, which tend to catch debris and ice as your pet walks. 

Keeping your pet’s nails short is another good grooming practice for winter paw care. Shorter nails make it easier for your pet to walk and can prevent injury such as torn nails and lacerations. 

Another good practice is to use a product designed to protect delicate, sensitive skin. Musher’s Secret is a paw balm that uses all natural and non toxic waxes and oils to protect your pet’s paw pads from severe temperatures and chemicals. Please remember to wash all products off your pet’s feet after playing outdoors.

After you walk your pet, soak her paws in warm water and towel dry. This will minimize any salt, ice, and chemicals that your pet may have stepped on during her stroll. 

Winter Paw Care and Safety

Speaking of salt, many products that are designed as de-icers can be harmful to your pet. Many pets will lick their paws after walking, so again, drying feet after time outside is necessary.

We recommend using pet-safe ice melts or salts on your property. When you’re out and about, try to steer your pet away from areas that appear to have been heavily treated. 

If you notice any soreness, irritation, or discomfort, please let us know. Not every pet enjoys the outdoors when it’s cold and snowy, but with a proactive approach to their comfort and safety, they may start enjoying the season a bit more.