Protect Your Dog’s Paws From Snow and Ice
By Stacey Brecher
With winter in full swing, the ground will inevitably be covered with snow and ice, both of which can cause wear and tear to your dog’s paws. But not to worry. You can still enjoy walks by taking certain precautions.
- Limit the amount of time your dog spends outside when it’s extremely cold or snowing. “In the case of snow, salt and ice, use a balm or Vaseline to protect its paws before and after taking it out,” says Irma Cedeno, author of Guide to Perros, About.com’s Spanish-language guide to dogs. “The ice and snow can get stuck between its pads and cause cuts, cold and discomfort.” Once you arrive home, wash your dog’s paws with a warm cloth to remove any excess residue between the pads.
- Booties are another way to protect your dog’s paws. “They come in many colors and styles, and many dogs are tolerant of them,” says Cedeno. “Distract the dog with a toy or treats while you put them on.”
- Stop your dog from licking its paws. Road salt and other deicers contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride, both of which can be very hazardous to your dog. “The salt gets stuck on the paws, causing the dog to be in pain,” says Cedeno. “Your dog may then try to lick it to get it off. Road salt can cause an upset stomach, pain, blisters, vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to an emergency trip to the vet.”
- Your dog’s paws, ears and tail are all susceptible to frostbite, which starts with swelling and numbness in the affected area. To alleviate frostbite, Cedeno suggests using first aid procedures, such as patting the area with a warm cloth and then soaking it in warm water. Don’t delay in contacting your vet.
Stacey Brecher is a freelance writer. She has contributed to Animal Fair magazine, and her blogs have previously appeared on The Dog Daily.