Updated: Jan 12
If you are asking, “How do I protect my dog’s paws in the winter?” you are in the right place.
Whether you have a natural snow dog or one that prefers a warm fire, your pup needs extra care to keep its paw pads safe during the winter months.
Healthy paw pads are essential to the overall wellness of your dog. Their paws bear their body weight, provide for daily routines, protect bones from shock, and allow comfortable movement. Because of this, you want to keep a careful eye and spend extra effort taking care of their paws in the cold.
Luckily, special gear and preventive actions can help them avoid injury and stay comfortable during the cold.
How Does Snow and Ice Effect Dog Paws?
Injuries can result from salt crystals and objects not visible beneath the snow.
Dogs are naturally inclined to lick their paws when a foreign object is on them. For this reason, toxic antifreeze, ice-melting agents, and de-icing salt can cause an upset stomach or vomiting if ingested.
Cold air and cold temperatures can dry out a pet’s paws and cause their natural protective barriers to break down, leading to dryness and cracking.
If dogs stay out in the cold for too long, they may develop frostbite in extreme cases.
Keeping Excess Fur Trimmed and Dry
The paw pads have fur between them that can collect snow and ice. This fur can hold onto the snow and later melt from their body heat only to refreeze. This can cause a great deal of pain as your dog tries to stay mobile. Be sure to ask your groomer to help you keep this fur short, and always wipe down the fur after a trip outside.
Applying a topical like a salve before and after time spent outside can keep paws strong and healthy and soothe them after exposure to cold.
Suzie’s CBD salve is infused with 50 mg of our full-spectrum, USDA organic CBD oil and packed with a whole host of skin-soothing ingredients, this salve will offer your pet relief from itchiness, dry skin, cracks, soreness, and burns.
When looking to apply a topical, be sure to avoid using human lotions or moisturizers and stick with products made specifically for canine paws.
Your pup’s skin and paw pads rely on proper hydration to stay moisturized and healthy. Using a humidifier can be a great way to help with this. Additionally, you will want to make sure you have fresh water available in multiple places in your home. Be sure to bring water along on walks, as well!
Avoiding Areas with De-Icing Agents
If you live in an apartment complex, gated community, or city that provides the areas they will be treating with deicing agents, try to find an alternate route for walking your dog. You will also want to be sure if you can’t avoid these areas themselves, that you don’t let your dog eat slush or drink from puddles that are near treated areas.
Providing a Path
If you live somewhere where you can shovel snow to provide a more comfortable path for your dog, this can be an easy way to avoid wear and tear during the winter. You can even cover up these pathways with grass clippings or hay to really make things a breeze for your dog!
Booties or Wax
If you have ever seen a dog try on snow booties for the first time, you know this option may cause many laughs and require some patience. If your dog will tolerate them with a little positive reinforcement, they are a great protective option in the winter.
Keep in mind when selecting booties that you find some that fit properly. Booties that are too loose can fall off or trap snow inside. Booties that are too tight can affect circulation and movement.
However, if your pup just can’t get the hang of them, then you can consider a protective wax sealant that keeps them safe on winter walks.
Portable Paw Washer
You want to wash your dog’s paws anytime you take them outside in the winter. An easy way to do this, especially if you are on-the-go, is with a portable paw washer. These also offer the benefit of less mess to clean up!
Full Body Warmth
You want to ensure your dog’s body heat and core temperature are warm enough because if they drop, their paw’s circulation can be affected. You also want to do this to prevent conditions like frostbite or hypothermia. You can do this by buying simple fleece jackets or full-on coats! They’ll stay warm with the added benefit of looking stylish.
Even with following all the measures listed, you will want to check your dog’s paw pads on a regular basis for cracking, drying, burns, cuts, or scrapes.
If you see signs such as limping, excessive licking, or discoloration, treat the paws immediately, avoid going outside and call your vet if needed.
These paw protection measures are worth the time and energy spent to keep your four-legged family safe this winter and allow them to enjoy the season alongside you!