6 Tips for Protecting Your Pup’s Paws This Winter
Taking your dog out in the winter season comes with some additional cautions. Even if you have a fenced-in yard for them to run around in, there are still some steps you should take to help your puppy’s paws be protected this season. In the winter season, there are some additional concerns that pose a risk to your dog’s health, especially for their paws. Here are some of the best things you can do to help your puppy’s paws be protected this season.
1. Take them out when it’s warmest. While it might require you to adjust your work, sleep or general schedule, try to take your dog out when it’s warmest. Cold temperatures can affect your dog, especially if they have arthritis or another medical condition. Taking them out in the sunlight will help them feel a bit better, and it’ll help to melt away any ice or snow built up on the ground. Make sure your pup has a quality dog collar and leash set to wear while you take them out for walks! This way, they will be more likely to stick with you on walks instead of running out and getting set off by a smell or sound they hear.
2. Invest in dog socks and shoes. Did you know they make dog socks and shoes? That’s right. You can easily find them a pair of socks and shoes to wear out in the winter weather. This will prevent them from getting an infection or burns in their paws from the treatment on the roads and sidewalks. Dog socks and shoes will also help to keep their paws warm while outside. You wouldn’t walk on bare feet out in the snow and ice, so why should your dog? Do yourself and your dog a favor and invest in some dog socks and shoes for them to wear out in the winter this year.
3. Keep a blanket or two handy. Having blankets for your dog to step on when coming in and out of the house can go a long way to keeping their paws healthy this winter. Choose a soft, cozy blanket for dogs that they will love to pad on near the door of your home. A good dog blanket is one that doesn’t collect a lot of hair but also retains heat. Some dogs with shorter fur will need a thicket blanket, while dogs with a double coat or long fur will need something a bit thinner. Either way, venture on the side of snuggly. That will go a long way in helping their paws feel taken care of this winter!
4. Have a towel and a spray bottle of water available. When you do take your dog out, or they happen to accidentally run off before you can put their socks and shoes on, make sure you have a towel and a spray bottle of room temperature water available. When your dog comes back inside, wipe their paws off with the towel after spraying them with the room temperature water. You’ll want to ensure the water is room temperature because warm or hot water can cause your dog to go into shock or disrupt their sweating.
Did you know that dogs only sweat from their paw pads? Because their sweat glands are so limited, it’s important for dog owners to ensure their paw pads are protected and healthy. Otherwise, dogs can experience overheating. If your dog wears socks and shoes while outside, it might be difficult for their sweat to release properly, so making sure you clean their paws when you return will help their body temperature return to normal.
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5 Find a pet-safe balm. Not every dog will take to wearing socks and shoes. If your dog refuses to wear their socks and shoes, you might not be able to use them. Sometimes it’s easier to do what your dog wants. Forcing them to wear socks and shoes when they’re entirely uncomfortable can elevate their heart rate. For pups that have pre-existing medical conditions, this can make things worse.
A pet-safe balm is a great alternative to socks and shoes that most pets can easily use. These balms feature a protective barrier that keeps skin moist. Consider it Vaseline for pets! Pet-safe balms will be clearly marked. Because pets tend to try to lick things that either smell different or feel odd on their skin, they can be ingested and won’t harm them. Perfect for picky dogs!
6. Shovel and treat your driveway, sidewalk and yard. One of the best things you can do for your dog is to treat your driveway, sidewalk and yard with a pet-safe de-icer. You should also shovel as soon as it’s safe, making a clear path for your pup. This will prevent issues with snow sticking to their paws or ice building up in their paw crevices.
Of course, once you shovel or treat, it doesn’t mean you’re done. Instead, make sure you’re checking throughout the upcoming days and nights to ensure no more ice is building up. Most of us know that when snow melts, it turns into water. That water, if it gets below freezing at night, then becomes ice. If you aren’t careful, the ice can severely irritate your dogs’ paws. Make things easier for you and your dog by shoveling and treating your driveway, sidewalk and yard frequently.
One of the main challenges of dog ownership is learning all the tasks and things you’ll need to do to keep your dog safe and healthy. Many pet owners overlook their pup’s paw health in the winter. Unfortunately, many dogs end up at the vet or in the emergency room with cracked, bleeding paws. Get ahead by taking steps to protect their paws this season. You won’t regret it!