4 Ways To Prevent Paw Pad Injuries In The Winter
Winter can be a challenging time on the paw pads of your pets. Trekking through the outdoors in rain, snow, and cold weather can leave their precious paws at risk for damaging injuries. Is there anything you can do about this, or is cold weather just harmful to their feet? Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to protect your pets’ precious paws and prevent paw pad injuries.
The 4 Ways to Prevent Injury In The Winter:
1. Avoid prolonged contact to deicers
One of the most common threats to your pet’s paws is the salt used to melt ice on roadways, driveways, and sidewalks. Extended contact with these types of deicers can lead to chemical burns on dog’s paws. If your dog is limping towards the end of the walk, some deicing products may be hurting his feet. If possible, get your dog off the salty sidewalk and have him walk on the grass or in the snow. After arriving home from a walk, it’s a good idea to towel off or clean your dog’s paws. You can also check for redness between the toes and cracks in the paw pads.
2. Keep pad hair trimmed
Another common cause of sore feet for your dog during the winter is ice balls which form between the toes and the pads of a hairy-footed dog. To decrease the risk of these ice balls keep their inter-pad hair neatly trimmed and shorter during the winter weather. Hairy feet and paws can aid in the development of harmful ice balls, as well as retain a lot of those nasty deicing products. Shorter hair will minimize the threat of ice and chemical build-up in your dog’s paws.
3. Do not leave your dog in the cold
This one seems pretty self explanatory, but some people may not realize that just like leaving your dog in a hot car in the summer, leaving your dog in the cold is also not advisable. If your dog remains in the cold for a long time, he is at a greater risk for frostbite in his ears, tail, and paws, as well as hypothermia. To combat this, taking your dog on more frequent short walks is recommended in the winter, over one long walk. If you think your dog may have frostbite or hypothermia take him to the vet immediately.
4. Use dog booties
You may have noticed dog booties can be a popular fashion accessory for pups in the winter, but they also serve an important purpose. You can buy them or make them yourself, and although they may look silly, they can prevent paw injuries. With a little patience, you can teach your dog to like having his paws covered. First, make sure your dog is comfortable having his paws handled, then slowly introduce one booty at a time for very short periods of time. Give him treats while he has the boots on so he will associate the booties with good things. Once he is comfortable wearing all four booties inside the house, have him try walking in them in the front yard. After he gets the hang of walking with the booties outside, he should be okay with wearing them during the winter to prevent paw injuries.
As you can see winter can come with harsh weather, but that doesn’t mean your dog has to miss out on the fun of playing outdoors and taking walks in the snow. Paw injuries can lead to infection, distress, and unhappiness in your pet, and we know you want to avoid those as much as possible. These tips should help prevent paw pad injuries and keep your dog happy and healthy during the winter.
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