Doggone It’s Cold! How To Protect Your Dogs Tender Paws This Winter

Now that winter weather is officially here, it's time to make sure that your dog's paws are protected. You might not realize this, but the cold weather can cause serious damage to your dog's paws, especially if they regularly go out in the snow. Booties are a good option for protecting your dog's paws. Unfortunately, not all dogs find them enjoyable. In fact, some dogs downright hate having things on their paws. If your dog has turned up its nose at winter booties, here are four steps you can take to protect its paws from cold weather damage:

Clean and Dry Their Feet After Each Walk

There may be snow on the ground, but that's not going to stop your dog from needing to go outside a few times a day. Unfortunately, each time you venture into the snow with your dog, it's exposed to ice, snow, and even de-icing salt. All those elements can harm your dog's tender paws. To protect them, you should clean and dry their paws after each walk. Carefully wash your dog's paws with lukewarm water and a mild soap. Dry them thoroughly to avoid moisture damage between the pads.

Apply Moisturizer Once a Day

During the winter, you probably apply a good moisturizer to your hands to prevent dry skin. Applying moisturizer to your dog's paws can provide the same benefit. To help prevent chapping, chaffing, and dry skin, apply a light moisturizer to the pads of your dog's paws at least once a day. If your dog spends a lot of time outside during the winter, you should apply the moisturizer at least twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.

Keep the Fur Trimmed

If your dog has long fur around its toes, you should keep that area trimmed during the winter. Snow and ice can build up in the fur, causing serious damage to the soft tissue of the pads. If the fur is kept trimmed, snow and ice can't build up. If you don't feel comfortable trimming the fur around your dog's toes, schedule an appointment with your dog groomer. They can keep the fur trimmed all winter long.

Watch for Signs of Winter Damage

If your dog refuses to wear booties during the winter, you'll need to keep a watchful eye out of damage. Pay close attention to the pads and the area between their toes. You'll want to look for things like cracks that are bleeding, or have been bleeding, as well as areas where the skin might have rubbed off the pads. If you find that type of damage, you should have your pet's paws checked out by the veterinarian. They'll need to check for signs of infection.

Contact a vet office like Sepulveda Animal Hospital for more information and assistance.