Does a dog need to be looked after differently in winter? First of all, it is important to look after your pet’s immunity and the condition of its coat – but that is not all. Many pet owners forget that their dog’s feet and paws also need special attention in winter. This is especially true for pets living in or near cities, where pavements and streets are gritted with salt. Frequent walks on such surfaces can become the cause of many problems. So how do you look after your dog’s paws in winter? Find out what to bear in mind during winter walks!
Dogs’ paws need more attention in winter
Some dogs love winter and the colder weather, others don’t want to leave the house at all during this time. Whichever group your pet falls into, they will still need to go out for walks – and it will be your job to keep them healthy and comfortable during this time. What are the risks to your dog’s pads in winter? The biggest threats to your dog’s paws during this period are:
- frostbite (in very cold weather);
- salt irritation, leading to cracking of the skin, abrasions and wounds or even ulcers;
- skin infections resulting from the persistence of moisture between the toes.
Risk of frostbite and irritation to dogs’ paws
Pet owners often observe in winter that their pets shiver when walking in severe cold weather, shuffle from foot to foot and refuse to move forward. A dog’s pads in winter are exposed to both the cold and the pinching and irritation-inducing salt. Therefore, if your pet categorically refuses to walk, check the condition of its paws. If the pads are blue, swollen and painful, be sure to consult your vet as this could be a sign of frostbite!
Tips to help keep your pet comfortable
The basis of how to look after your dog’s paws in winter is to follow a few basic rules:
- Try to avoid pavements and streets that have clearly been gritted with salt.
- If you have to walk along a road that has been cleared of snow in this way, take your pet on your hands (if they are small) or lead them along the grass.
- For longer walks, go to meadows or woods, places where there is no salt.
- Always clean your dog’s pads very thoroughly after a walk – in winter this will mean washing your pet’s paws in warm water.
- Remove any accumulated snow and ice from between your dog’s toes and dry his pads thoroughly.
Above all, keep a close eye on your pet! Check your pet’s paws regularly: that there are no wounds, what colour they are, that the pads have not become painful and that the space between the toes looks normal and is dry.
Washing and lubricating pads
Washing your dog’s paws in lukewarm water after every winter walk is extremely important to remove the dirt and salt that has accumulated on them. It is also important to remember that it is not only a danger to your dog’s pads in winter, but to the whole body. If your pet licks it off his paws, he could end up with serious poisoning.
However, washing alone is often not enough. There are special ointments on the market to lubricate and moisturise your dog’s pads so that they do not crack and peel. Some are applied before the walk to protect the dog’s paws with a protective film, others are applied after returning home. It is important never to apply them to paws that are dirty from salt – they need to be washed first.
Dog paw pads
Particularly sensitive pets (older or very delicate pets) may have difficulty walking in severe cold weather. For this reason, many dog guardians opt to purchase special protectors (boots). This is certainly the most effective way possible to protect a dog’s pads from frostbite and irritation in winter, but… most pets do not know how to walk in them. Getting your pet used to this type of paw protection takes time, exercise and a lot of patience!
Winter friendly for your pet
Many pets really enjoy winter – the lack of heat promotes unlimited play. How do you look after your dog’s paws in winter so that your pet can enjoy walks as much as in summer? It’s not that difficult! At Rexproduct, we know how to care for your pets’ daily comfort. If you are looking for practical tips on caring for your pet in winter, take a look at our blog. And in the shop, you’ll find essential dog accessories to help your pet rest comfortably after a winter walk.