Protect Dogs Paws From Snow

Protect dogs paws from snowSome dogs frolic in the snow, cherishing every step, no matter how deep the drifts, or cold the ice. On the contrary, other dogs are not so fond of the blistery winter weather, displaying signs of discomfort when the pads of their paws make contact with the cold ground beneath them.

But there are measures that can be taken to protect dog’s paws from snow, and ensure they remain comfortable throughout the winter season.

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Why Do My Dog’s Paws Hurt In The Snow?

When I was growing up we had a Boxer that would often yelp when he walked outside on the snow and ice. A friend of mine has a small dog that lifts her paws in the air while walking in the snow as if she doesn’t want them to touch.

So, what’s going on?

All paws are not created equal. Depending on the size and breed of the dog, some just cannot withstand the snow and ice as well as others, especially if they are accustomed to living indoors.

But, there’s more…..

Clumps of ice and snow can cling to their fur and get stuck between their toes causing discomfort, or even cuts. This particularly seems to be an issue when the temperature climbs upward causing the snow to become wet and heavy. When the temperature gets colder, and the snow a bit more powdery, it tends to cling less.

In addition, if there is rock salt sprinkled on the ground for de-icing, this can cause great discomfort for a dog’s paws as it contains calcium chloride, which can be an irritant, and cause stinging and burning. To further complicate matters, the salt pellets can get stuck in their paws, which means prolonged exposure.

Salt As A De-Icer…Is It Toxic For My Dog?

The salt that is commonly used to de-ice roads and sidewalks, known as rock salt, contains calcium chloride which is toxic to your pet. When dogs walk on the salt it can get stuck in their paws, and once indoors they oftentimes lick their paws to remove it. Consumption of salt in large quantities can cause gastritis or kidney failure.

You should avoid walking your dog in areas that have rock salt. If you need to de-ice an area where your dog roams, there are many brands that offer alternative ‘safe’ de-icing products that won’t harm your dog.

Safe Paw Ice Melter

Ways To Protect Your Dog’s Paws From The Winter Elements

  • If you have a dog whose paws are sensitive to snow and ice, use a dog paw balm on the pads of your dog’s feet both before, and after, going in the snow. It will restore moisture, and help prevent/repair cracked, bleeding, or dry paw pads. Alternatively, for irritated paws, you can clean them, smear on some Vaseline, and cover them with a sock (if your dog allows it).
  • Wipe your dog’s paws off with a towel or baby wipe when coming in out of the snow. Or, you can rinse them off, or have him step into a bucket of lukewarm water, and towel dry. This will get rid of any snow, ice, or salt stuck between the toes.
  • Have your dog wear dog booties. These aren’t just to be cute, some dogs actually need them in order to be comfortable outdoors. In addition, it will prevent exposure to de-icing salts.

This is the dog paw balm that I recommend (you can purchase Here):

dog paw balm

Protect dogs paws from snowHow Can Dogs Tolerate Bare Paws On Ice & Snow?

Dogs possess a kind of system that scientists call a counter-current heat exchanger. In this system warm blood reaches the pads of the paws without allowing the rest of the dog’s body to lose too much body heat. The paws retain a perfect temperature due to the arrangement of the blood vessels, allowing for dogs to run around barefoot year round.

Even so, dogs shouldn’t be left out in the cold too long as they can, and do, get frostbite. The ears and tail are usually the most susceptible.

Which Breeds Tolerate Cold Weather The Best?

Large dogs with thick coats tend to tolerate the harsh cold of the winter months the best, such as St. Bernards, German Shepherds, or Huskies. Large dogs that are slimmer in stature and short-coated can tend to get cold easily when temperatures drop, along with smaller dogs, and in particular the toy breeds.

It is also important to note that puppies, elderly dogs, or sick dogs can be very sensitive to the cold weather so time outdoors should be limited, and care should be taken to keep them warm.



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