In the colder months, dogs’ paws can really take a beating. While humans wear socks and shoes when walking outdoors, dogs aren’t afforded the same luxury.
For some furry friends, there’s ice, water and snow to contend with while out and about, and it makes for lots of discomfort for your precious pooch.
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Here are some options to ensure your dog’s paws are kept warm and toasty…
Take Them Out
Dogs are not made to spend all their time indoors. While the colder months often mean snuggling on the couch in front of the heater, dogs need to explore. They need to be let out to roam for a bit.
And it won’t do you any harm either. Cold weather shouldn’t stop you from taking your dog out to investigate, meet, and play with new friends, and enjoy the sights and smells of the great outdoors.
In fact, it’s crucial for your dog’s mental and physical health. Despite this, approximately 40% of dogs aren’t being walked every day. This can have a huge impact on the dog’s overall health, and can also affect their behavior. So what can you do to protect those precious paws when outdoors?
In extreme weather conditions, it may be necessary to pop on some booties. Booties, much like shoes, offer warmth and full coverage, plus they’re durable. They’re great for those breeds who aren’t intended to handle cold weather.
The good thing about the booties is that they can be used in warmer weather too. Everyone knows that paved, concrete streets can get hot. And just like it’s hot for your bare feet, it can also get a tad too warm for your dog.
As the saying goes, the best protection is prevention. Before walking on super cold surfaces, rub some paw balm on your dog’s feet. The balm will nourish your dog’s feet while also repairing any damage done by the cold surface.
Similarly, when a dog’s nails grow too long, walking or wearing booties can become painful, so make sure to trim your dog’s nails every two or three weeks. It’s especially beneficial for cracked paws, which are often caused by your dog walking along the cold and icy ground. Remember to reapply the balm when you get home from your walk as well.
Keeping a towel by the front door and in your car isn’t just about drying your pup’s fur. It’s also about wiping down their paws. As mentioned before, paws aren’t protected like your feet and while they’re pretty tough to withstand everything they walk over, some damage can be done by things that are lying on the ground and by the cold ground itself.
By wiping down their paws as they hop off their feet, you’ll be minimizing the damage that may be caused by the residue. If you’re really concerned, and you think your dog will tolerate it, you can dip each paw in some lukewarm water before towel drying. Just make sure it’s not too hot as that can be quite a shock to your pup’s system.
Stick to Short Walks
It may sound pretty self-explanatory, but in the colder months, it’s a good idea to keep walks short, especially if you live in an area where the weather can get extreme. It’s necessary to get them out, but a walk in the cold for too long can lead to frostbite.
Again, you’re rugged up. Your pups’ fur and paws won’t protect them from everything. If you really want to go for a lengthy walk, it may be a good idea to grab a dog coat or jacket. As a rule of thumb, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pup.
Responsible pet owners will recognize that dogs need to get out and about, no matter what the weather. It’s not good for them to be cooped up inside and a bit of fresh air will do wonders for their physical and mental health, and their behavior.
But as a responsible pet owner, it’s necessary to identify the hazards, one of which may be the weather. Plan ahead for the cold you may encounter and make sure those paws are kept in tip-top shape.