When it gets colder out, we humans put on boots, gloves, scarves, hats and heavier coats. Unfortunately, dogs don’t have the same choice to simply put on protective outerwear on their own—they rely on us, their owners, to help them out. Keeping your dog safe and warm during the winter calls for more than just a cute warm sweater, though—too often, dogs’ paws suffer due to chemicals on the sidewalk, cold, and more. Follow our tips to help keep your dog’s paws healthy all winter long.
Keep Hair Trimmed
If your dog has long hair, be sure to trim between his or her toes to ensure that the hair doesn’t soak up chemicals or snow when you take your dog for walks. This not only minimizes discomfort, but can protect your dog from getting these harsh chemicals stuck against their skin, which can result in painful chemical burns.
Make Sure Paw Pads Are Moisturized
One thing that can help safeguard against irritation is to make sure that your dog’s paw pads aren’t dried out or cracking when you take them outside. Using moisturizers or Vaseline on their paws can help protect the skin from harsh conditions outside. This can also soothe chapped paws.
Clean Off Your Dog’s Paws
Every time you come inside from a walk, use a warm, damp cloth to clean off your pet’s paws. This not only ensures that you are removing any chemicals or ice that have clung to your dog’s paws, but it also warms up their feet—what’s not to love about that after a cold walk outside?
Consider Using Boots
Of course, if your dog will put up with it, having them wear boots when they go outside will keep their paws most protected from the elements as well as from chemicals like ice melter crystals. Many dogs will want to kick boots off, but if you are persistent and put them on each time you go outside, most dogs get used to wearing them after a while.
Keep Walks Short
If the weather is very cold, and if your dog simply refuses to wear boots, you’ll want to keep their walks short so that they don’t get hurt. Try to keep dog walks under 20 minutes. This might mean more walks, but that’s okay—if you need help keeping your dog properly exercised during the day, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker to stop by a few times a week.