Protecting Your Pet’s Paws During the Winter Months

A very dirty pet on the floor

While summer paw safety relies on avoiding scorched paw pads, winter offers other risks  to your pet’s feet. These snow and ice dangers can harm a pet’s paws without some precautions being taken. Learn to keep your pet’s feet in tip-top shape this season by practicing these essential paw tips.

Be Wary of Winter When It Comes to Your Pet’s Paws

How can you ensure the safety of your pet’s feet and paw pads? First, it is good to know what can harm them. Common risks to the well-being of pet paws include:

  • Cold weather Exposure to cold weather can cause hyperthermia and frostbite. Paws are susceptible to injuries of the feet and paws when Old Man Winter strikes.
  • Toxic chemicals on the streets and sidewalks Chemicals in deicers and rock salts are very toxic to pets when licked off paws and ingested and can be abrasive to sensitive paw pads.
  • Buried sharp objects – Metal objects, jagged rocks, and other sharp items can be buried under the snow. 

Be aware of other outdoor winter dangers, like antifreeze, which is highly toxic to fur friends. 

5 Great Tips for Paw Care

Despite the risks that winter brings, you can keep your pet’s tooties in good shape. Here are some 5 tips for maintaining paw health and safety. 

  1. Grooming – Take care of your pet’s skin, coat, and paws by maintaining their grooming needs. Shampooing and conditioning, as well as grooming around the feet and paw pads, help maintain good health and alert you to any problems going on with their feet. Most professional groomers will look for signs of dryness and injury to the paws, so you can better protect them.

  2. Booties – If you don’t have booties or shoes for your dog, we highly recommend them. Booties will keep the paws from being exposed to cold weather as well as outdoor chemicals. They are also great for keeping feet and paws in better shape.

  3. Shorter walks – During the winter, keep walks outside shorter than normal to avoid frostbite and other injuries. Supplement the walks with indoor exercise, such as a game of fetch with a Nerf ball or an indoor agility course.

  4. Clean and dry the feet – Any time you are outdoors, clean your pet’s paws, feet and legs with a damp washcloth and dry well. This prevents dryness and problems with the skin, and also deters the possibly of them licking noxious chemicals, like deicer, off of their feet.

  5. Put some paw balm on – Invest in a bottle of high quality pet paw balm, which both protects the skin and conditions them to prevent dryness, scaling, and cracking.

We hope some of these suggestions are useful for when you head out in the snow with your best friend. If you have any questions about keeping your pet’s paws in great shape, please contact us. Stay safe, warm, and pawsitively happy on those walks!