If you’re a dog walker or pet owner, you know that autumn and winter can wreak havoc on your pup’s paws—especially if they’re not used to walking outside in cold temperatures. Luckily, some simple things can be done to ensure your dog’s paws remain healthy as he adjusts to this new season. Here are our tips for taking care of your dog’s paws in winter:
Protect from salt and chemicals.
If you have to walk your dog on a sidewalk, make sure they’re away from salt and chemicals. These can cause damage to their paws and make them vulnerable to infections.
If you must use streets or sidewalks that have been salted, make sure to thoroughly clean your dog’s paws when you get home.
Keep them clean.
Speaking of cleaning your dog’s paws, there are particular ways it should be done. You should clean your dog’s paws with soap and water when you come in from the cold. Use lukewarm water, as you don’t want to burn your furry friend.
- Gently wash your dog’s feet and legs, being careful not to get soap or water on their fur.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water by running a stream of water between their toes.
- Dry completely by patting dry with a towel or blow drying on low heat in front of the heater.
Use coconut oil on paw pads.
As a natural moisturizer, coconut oil can be used to keep your dog’s paws from drying out. This can prevent cracking and flaking of the pads, which is especially important in cold weather.
Coconut oil is safe for dogs and is available at any grocery store or health food store. It makes an excellent substitute for petroleum jelly on dry or cracked paw pads because it stays on longer than other ointments without being greasy like Vaseline might be.
Wear booties if necessary.
If your dog is having trouble walking on ice, or if you live in an area where snow and ice are common, it’s a good idea to get booties for them. Dog boots are great because they protect the paws while still allowing them to feel the ground underneath. They’re also easy to put on and take off—you can simply slip them over your dog’s foot like a sock!
Dog boots come in many different styles:
- Soft foam covers that fit snugly around the ankle
- Stiffer neoprene versions that strap onto their feet like gloves for humans
Some dogs enjoy wearing their protective gear, but others might growl at being forced into something new. If you have trouble getting your pup used to his new outfit, try training them to get used to the booties at home before heading out. With treats and plenty of praise and they will get used to it in no time!
If you have questions about how to take care of your dog during colder months, don’t hesitate to visit VIP Animal Hospital. We’re here to help you and your dog stay happy and healthy this winter!