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Tips For Caring for Your Dog’s Paws in the Winter

Canadian winters are no joke.  Just as we put on layers and bundle up, pets need protection from the elements too.  Gear like coats and booties can help your dog tolerate and even enjoy the cold for longer.  Some breeds like Huskies, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands for example are better suited for colder months and may not need winter gear to protect them.

Cold tolerance differs between each dog, so know the signs to watch for if your dog is too cold.  Regardless of breed, all dogs need their paws to be properly cared for in winter.  The risk of frostbite is increased when you’re walking in snow or ice, and paws can get really dry in winter weather. We’ve put together some tips to help your pooch keep their paws safe and healthy this winter!

  1. From balloon boots to thick boots with velcro, there are a lot of “paw ware” options out there.  You may have to test out a few styles to see what your pet can tolerate and give them time indoors to adjust to them too (with lots of treats and praise of course!).  This layer between their paws and the ground can help prevent frostbite and keep any chemicals off their paws.
  2. Booties aren’t the only option! There are paw balms or petroleum jelly-based products that can be used if your pet doesn’t adjust to the booties.  You can rub the product on your pets’ feet before a walk as a barrier and wash it off your dogs’ feet afterwards.  These products can also help keep your pet’s feet moisturized too.
  3. Clean paws after walks. Chemicals and salt are used in winter to help keep the sidewalks free from ice.  Your dog’s paws can come into contact with these things on their walks.  Once indoors, a footbath is recommended to remove these chemicals so that your dog does not lick them off. These chemicals can damage their paw pads or cause your dog to become seriously ill, so it’s best to take this seriously.
  4. Moisturize! A dog’s paw pads can become dry and cracked in the winter.  Paw balms or petroleum jelly products can help moisturize their paws and keep them safe on walks.  You can even go an extra step further and use these products indoors to moisturize too!  Or even a natural product like coconut oil can do the trick!
  5. Hydrate.  Just like humans, a dog’s paw pads and skin need to stay hydrated.  Ensure that your dog is getting the water they need to keep them healthy!
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