[photo credit: BuzzFeed.com]
When we humans want to huddle around the fire, we often find that our pups still want to head outside for a walk. Unfortunately, the elements of winter are harsh on paw pads. Here are some tips for keeping a balance between playing outside and keeping paws comfortable.
1- Trim extra fur around the toes and paws. This will stop ice balls from developing and keep chemicals from salt and other de-icers out of their fur, and take away the danger of the dog ingesting it.
2-Use petroleum jelly. Rubbing paws with petroleum jelly before going outside will protect from salt and other chemicals, and provide some moisture to them. This also repels snow and ice. Wipe it off if you need to before going back into the house. Olive oil can also be used for this.
3- Don’t walk where there are de-icers, if you can. Many products designed to keep ice at bay contain chemicals that can irritate paws. When this happens, a dog is likely to lick at the paw pads, which can be toxic.
4-Wear booties. Many dogs will not tolerate booties, but this is a good option to protect paw pads from the elements. Practice with them before it gets cold, and your dog may end up getting used to them. Ruffwear is a great company that makes many comfortable clothing options for pets, including booties.
5- Clean your dog’s paws after going indoors. Use a towel to wipe them down, and check for cuts or irritation. Sometimes ice can tear paw pads, especially if the dog has been running in a snowy, icy area.
6- Know the signs of cold paws. If your dog is outside lifting up his paws like he doesn’t want to walk, this is a big sign that it is too cold. Another sign is a dog that continually sits down despite being healthy and active. This means that it is just too cold to play outside or go for a walk.