While your furry friend may not share your cold-weather woes inside their warm coat, there are still steps we need to take to protect them during the winter months. Your dog’s paws are especially vulnerable on cold, slushy and salty streets and a pair of booties will serve you well in preventing frostbite, painful dryness and cracks as well as chemical burns from toxic de-icing products.
Not all pups are amenable to footwear, so you may want to consider alternative options for keeping those fluffy feet in good shape until spring. Making sure your dog’s pads are moisturized by massaging them with a paw balm or petroleum jelly will offer a first line of defense from injury as a result of cold and salt, and you’ll want to make sure furry paws are kept trim so the hair doesn’t collect clumps of ice and snow that will get stuck in between their toes. Looking after toenails is always important, but especially so in the winter as long nails will cause toes to splay out on the ground, exposing tender inter-digital skin to the elements. Shorter, more frequent trips outside is often advisable during periods of extreme cold.
You may find that giving your pet frequent baths during the winter months can lead to dry, flaky skin by stripping the skin of essential oils that keep things smooth under all that fur. Try rinsing and drying your dog’s feet immediately after walks paired with regular brushing instead and if they need a bath, make sure to use a moisturizing shampoo or rinse.