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Winter wellness: protecting your pet’s paws from the cold

Photo of a dog in winter boots

Although your dog comes with its own fur coat, it may not be immune to the hazards of winter weather. Sure, certain breeds thrive in cold conditions, but exposure to ice and snow can lead to drying, cracking and even frostbite in those paws. And it’s not just about the cold  harsh chemicals used in de-icing streets and walkways can harm your dog’s health. Here are some tips to help you keep your pooch’s paws healthy through the winter.

 

  • Take pre-winter precautions. Before the cold weather sets in, talk to your vet about your breed’s specific needs and vulnerabilities related to cold weather. They can inspect the paw pads and identify any potential issues to keep an eye on. Then, have a groomer trim those nails and paw fur to minimize the accumulation of ice and salt.  

  • Boot up in style. Just as a good pair of winter boots will protect your feet, dog boots can help keep your furry little buddy's paws in good form. They require some adjustment and must be properly fitted to stay in place without impeding your pup's natural gait. If your dog is resistant to wearing booties, start him off indoors and give him treats as a reward for wearing them.

  • Apply a waxy barrier. If you're concerned that boots will compromise your dog's agility, you can protect their paws from the elements by applying a protective coating before going outside. Vaseline can do the job or use a specially formulated paw balm or wax to provide a much-needed barrier against ice and salt.

  • Don’t neglect after-walk care. Whether your dog wears boots or balm, give their paws a good wipe-down as soon as the walk is done. It’ll prevent your pet from tracking ice, snow and salt through your home. More importantly, it’ll reduce the risk of your dog licking and ingesting harmful chemicals. For extra care, dip those paws in warm water before wiping them off.

  • Create a safe outdoor space. If you have a large, fenced yard, consider creating a dog run by shovelling paths through the snow where the dog can move freely without exposure to de-icing agents. Although you may still need to take him out for longer walks, this backyard play space could reduce the amount of effort required for you to care for those paws.

 

Dog hospital in Scarborough

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital can handle dog care needs for every season. In addition to routine checkups and grooming, we do microchipping, dental care, and emergency services. We also offer dog food and supplies for sale and delivery through our online shop for your convenience. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.

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