Doggy Paws & Winter Wonderland

As the leaves fall, temperatures drop and autumn comes to a close, our thoughts often go to blissful winter evenings in front of the fire, sipping hot cocoa and listening to our favorite holiday songs. While some dogs may be joining us in these thoughts (minus the hot cocoa,of course) others are super excited for brisk walks and play dates in the winter air, not to mention the remaining piece of winter, Snow!

Winter activities can be so fun for your pup so let’s prepare their paws to keep them safe and comfortable.

For dogs with especially furry paws, icy snowballs can get built up in-between their toes. Sometimes these snowballs get so huge that they can become uncomfortable for your dog until they melt off. Trimming the fur on the bottom of their foot and around their paw pads helps prevent this from happening allowing them to be more comfortable playing in the snow.

For dogs with short fur or dogs with sensitive paws, booties are an excellent solution to playing on the frozen ground. They come in many styles and fabrics for different sizes and shapes of feet as well as different uses. Often, the ones with rubber bottoms will be waterproof and less likely to become soggy over time for longer walks or play sessions, while fleece ones may be more appropriate for quick application for short walks. Be sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed when using booties. Not only will their booties fit better, but they will be more comfortable too.

Use caution on roadways and sidewalks that have had ice melt applied. Most ice melts are not dog safe. The chemicals in them that melt the ice can burn paw pads or may stick to/coat paw pads or fur for the dog to later lick off/ ingest, which is also unsafe! It is always best to assume ice melt is of the not safe variety unless you know otherwise. If your dog does walk through a treated area, wipe their paws as soon as possible and check for any irritation of the paw pads and in-between toes. When possible, using sand to increase traction on ice is preferable and safer for dogs.

Winter romping in the snow with doggie friends can be such fun! We also know, however, that where there is snow, there is often also ice. Ice often has sharp edges from melting and refreezing that can slice paw pads. It also makes any snow on top of it quite slick and creates a big slipping hazard. Slipping on ice can create injuries that affect the whole body. Be sure to check play areas for icy patches and try to plan playdates for locations with good traction under the snow.

The wintery air can lend to many adventures for our dogs. With a few preparations and considerations, a winter wonderland can be a safe and delightful experience for all!