Snow, slush, ice and cold weather all take their toll on a dog’s paws. In addition, rock salt and other sidewalk treatments can leave your dog with painful, sore feet. During the winter, you’ll need to take extra steps to prevent problems like cuts, infections, sores and painful paws.
1. Wash the paws with warm water after going for a walk or play time outside. You want to wash off harmful irritants like salt and prevent your dog from ingesting any of the chemical de-icers by licking their feet. This also eliminates any ice or snow that has built up between your dog’s toes that could make walking painful.
2. Inspect your dog’s paws after every walk, particularly when you’ve walked in areas treated with salt or another de-icer. Be sure to check between the toes and look at the pad for any cracks or sore spots.
3. Cut your dog’s nails and trim the hair on his feet regularly. Hair that is too long attracts snow and slush which can cause problems. Keep from cutting the fur too short, however, as it offers protection for your dog’s feet.
4. Apply petroleum jelly, bag balm or baby oil to your dog’s paws to help sooth irritated feet. Be careful not to apply too much or too often as pads that are too soft can also lead to irritation. You can also apply just before going outside as it can help protect your dog’s feet but take it off when you get back inside. Ask your trusted pet supplier for special waxes that works the same way.
5. Purchase dog boots for your pet if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and cold or if your dog is susceptible to problem paws. The boots fit over your dog’s paws and offer warmth and comfort. You may want to look for some that have added traction on the bottom so that you’re dog has an easier time walking on the snow and ice.
6. Treat any cuts, sores or infections that develop according to your vet’s instructions. If you notice that your dog seems to have painful feet even without sores, take a day or two off from walking in the snow.
You and your dog will both be happier, safer, and have more fun out in the elements this winter, by following these simple steps. Enjoy!
Kelly Hartshorn is co-owner of Metro Mutts, an insanely popular “buy local” petstore on line and in-person, in Washington, DC’s hip and trendy Capitol Hill-H St corridor neighborhood. Recipients of 2010 Best Retailer Awards, Kelly, husband Lee, and business partner Anna are sought after for their knowledge and helpfulness related to all-things for pets and their passionate pet-owners. All four-leggeds are welcomed into the store. Whether you live in DC or visit the area, find out where you can catch a Mutts Yappee Hour at a local pub or deli, sign your baby mutt up for a Puppy Play Date, get a dog walker to help you out, or participate in Mutts Movie Night. You and your mutts will have the time of your lives! Get more info and join Club Metro Mutts, today.
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