Winter can be an extremely difficult season for your dog's paws. Not only are there environmental irritants, but also certain toxic chemicals that are more prevalent such as snow and ice treatments. Don't worry though, we have you covered with these tips to keep your pup's paws pampered and protected this Winter.
1. Wipe off her paws: This may seem like a no-brainer but it's a very important, yet often skipped, task after a romp out in the Winter weather. Not only are your pup's pads probably a little damp, ice, snow, salt or other unknown chemicals distributed can be painful and harmful to your dog's paws.
2. Dog boots exist for a reason: A really great option for dogs that love to run and play outside in the snow are boots. With the proper traction these will help prevent your dog from slipping and potentially injured, as well as keep them protected from irritants. Plus, you won't have to worry about them tracking in any leftover substances from the fur around their paws.
When choosing your booties, the AKC recommends:
- The material of the sole should be textured, with a good grip for traction.
- Choose boots made from waterproof or water-resistant material.
- The sole should be flexible so your dog can walk naturally.
- Choose a boot with adjustable Velcro straps.
- Most dogs won't like the feel of shoes or boots. Prepare him by trying them on him in the house for short periods of time and praising him as he gets used to wearing them.
- Always check the manufacturer's guidelines for size, and measure before you order.
3. Paw wax for the bootie adverse: If the snow shoe thing just doesn't work for your dog, that's okay! There are plenty of products on the market to help protect their pads. Mushers is a solution originally developed in Canada for sledding dogs and is made from a mix of food-grade waxes and is safe, non-toxic, and semi-permeable allowing perspiration to escape through your dog's toes. Among others, the Natural Dog Company has an entire line of paw protecting products, including those that work in the Summer on hot surfaces.
4. Get them comfortable: It's not necessarily natural for a dog to have their paws touched. Some love a nice paw massage, while other's tug away immediately. Start touching their paws or even holding them during relaxing times throughout the day - possibly right before bed when they know it's time for rest. Getting them comfortable not only helps during winter and Summer paw care, but also for nail clipping!
Just as our feet and hands need a little extra care during the Winter months so do our furry best friends!