Winter can be rough for a human, but it can be just as bad for our furry pals. They do have fur, but that only helps so much. Their paws can get frostbite on them if they are exposed to the elements for too long. Taking care of your dog's paws is important any time of the year, but in winter it can be even more important with dangers such as de-icing salts and other chemicals on the ground, plus ice and snow. See below for some winter paw care for your dog.
Limit Outdoor Exposure
Try your best to limit your dog's time outside. Your dog may be looking for more time to play outside, but it could be very dangerous. If you spot your dog lifting his paws from the ground it means they're beginning to freeze. Bring your dog inside immediately and keep his paws warm. Don't rub your dog's paws in an effort to warm him though, as you can worsen frostbite. Instead, cover your pal with a blanket or towel after bringing him inside. Dry his paw pads carefully and remove any ice from his paws.
Give Your Dog Some Outerwear
It may sound silly to dress your dog for winter, but it can save your dog from getting too cold outside when trying to alleviate himself. Give you dog some booties to wear outside and also give him a coat or sweater to keep his body warm as well. You can give your dog these items to wear around the house just to get him used to wearing them, using positive reinforcement and treats can help with this if your dog isn't too keen on wearing anything at all. Be sure the booties and any clothing isn't too tight, as it can restrict blood-flow and cause your dog to not breathe properly if it's too restricting.
Inspect Your Dog's Pads Often
Inspect your dog's paw pads throughout the cold winter months to be sure they aren't cracked, red or bleeding anywhere. If your dog's pads look dry or cracked, add some petroleum jelly to them to help moisturize and protect them. If they are bleeding and irritated, take your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup and to ensure they are not infected.
Your dog is looking to you to take good care of him. Keep a close eye on his paws during winter and if you spot any problems, take him to a clinic like Berlin Township Animal Hospital right away for a checkup.