Winter is tough on human skin, so you may find take more care in extreme weather like snow. It is no different for your dog either, particularly with their paws. Although their paws are equipped with thick pads and fur, this isn’t always sufficient for keeping them protected during winter snow. So it is up to you to make sure their paws are in the best shape possible.
The chill factor alone and changing heat extremes from going in and outdoors can cause the skin on your dog’s pads to become irritated, leaving them dry, itchy and even cracked at times.
Taking care of your dog’s paws
Following a few care instructions in the colder weather will help make sure your dog walking is still enjoyable for both you and your dog, and that your pet’s feet are well cared for.
1) Trim long hair – If your dog has longer hair between his toes, make sure it is trimmed shorter to minimise the snow and ice that can build up and cause pain and irritation.
2) De-Icer – Be aware of the strong chemicals that can be used to de-ice roads or paths in the snowy weather as it can be harmful to your dog’s paws. The strong chemicals can be an irritant to the pad skin, and could also be harmful for your dog to ingest if they lick it off their paws. Make sure you clean their paws thoroughly after a walk
3) Towel-Dry – Take a clean dry towel with you on a walk, so you can wipe dry irritated paws as you go
4) Keep the Paws Clean – After each dog walk, wash and towel dry your dog’s paws, paying particular attention remove any ice, snow or grit from between their toes.
5) Moisturise – After you have washed and dried your dog’s paws, rub in a little moisturiser into the pads if they are chapped. Although, don’t use any perfumed or alcohol based products, nappy rash cream is very effective.
6) Petroleum Jelly – Massaging your dog’s paws with petroleum jelly before taking them out on a dog walk will seal in moisture and also protect them from the extreme cold, grit and harsh chemicals.
7) Booties – if the weather is really extreme and your dog is suffering, you might want to invest in some booties before you head out in the snow. They offer great protection and warmth for snowy paws and will minimise your dog’s contact with de-icing chemicals too.
If you notice some damage to your dogs paws this winter, don’t take them for a walk before you’ve consulted your vet – you could make any damage worse.