Winter has blown in and the country is feeling the effects of snow, ice, and cold north winds. To keep people safe on roads and sidewalks, many communities salt the ground to help ice melt faster. But the combination of snow, ice, salt, and cold weather can really do a number on your dog's paw pads. Consider the following suggestions for keeping his feet healthy during the cold months.
Keep walks short.
You might think that your dog's natural winter coat and tough paw pads would keep him comfortable even when the snow falls, but you'd be wrong. His coat is probably not thick enough or long enough nor are his feet as tough as you think.
Keep your walks short---just long enough to "do his business" and have a short bit of exercise. During extreme cold, you might skip the outside exercise, too. If it's too cold for you to enjoy a walk or jog, it's too cold for him, too. Being outside in the cold can lead to frostbite for your canine pal as easily as for you.
Consider a blanket or coat for him when you venture outdoors.
Put a towel by the door.
As soon as you get back inside, dry Fido off completely, including his paws, his nose, and his ears. If your community uses salt on sidewalks and roadways, use warm water to dip his paws in when you return to the house. Toweling him off in the house will make him much more comfortable and reduce the damage ice or salt between his toes can do.
Even before you head out the door, rub some paw balm into his pads. Salt can cause dry skin and damage to his paws, but paw balm creates a barrier between his feet and the elements. Store bought or homemade, rubbing some balm in after you dry him off will help keep his pads soft and supple.
Footwear for dogs
So maybe you think dogs in booties look weird. That's okay, but don't let it stop you from buying a good set that will keep him comfortable outside. You wouldn't think about going outside barefoot in the winter, right? Don't make him do it, either.
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