As the cold weather approaches, it’s important to ensure that our four-legged friends are protected from the hazards of winter.
Often times constant walking on salt covered walkways and roads can dry out and crack their paws making them very painful. Whenever possible avoid walking on salted sidewalks and roads. Try walking on the sidewalk yourself and having your dog walking beside you on the snow. This will minimize their contact with the salt, and their feet are better designed to handle walking on the cold snow.
When avoiding walking on salt is not possible, physically protecting their paws is the next best thing. The best way to protect their feet is to use protective booties. They are available in a variety of different sizes to ensure that there is a size that will fit your pet. Often times they take some getting used to, but they help keep your dog’s paws salt and dirt free. If your dog will not tolerate booties on his paws, then another great option is to use a protective balm on their feet. One that is often used on sled dogs to keep their paws hydrated and soft is Mushers Secret Paw Protector Wax. Applying a thin layer to the pads of your dog’s feet before going for walks is all that is needed to help protect them. If you are unable to use a protective balm or booties then at least washing and drying your dog’s feet well after going for walks will be helpful.
Written by: Dr. Kelsey Milmine, DVM