5 Winter Care Tips For Paws
Every year we welcome winter with Christmas decorating ideas, warm coats, and snowball fights. But that winter wonderland isn't all fun -- especially for our furry friends who have to go on daily trips on wet walks in frigid temperatures. Their paws need a little extra protection and attention when it's cold. Here are 5 winter care tips for paws.
A Safe Clearing
Salt is the most common item used to clear sidewalks of snow and ice. However, it can be very painful for paws when it seeps into cracks and crevices when dogs are out walking or doing their business. There are non-salt ice melting alternatives, but even those can be a problem for paws, particularly if your dog licks them. Choose something that is non-toxic, like gravel, sand, or basic kitty litter to keep Fido comfortable and safe.
Don't underestimate the power of dog booties. They create an extra barrier between your dog's paws and the cold and wet of the snow. But they don't just protect them from Jack Frost -- while we can choose salt-free and non-toxic ice melt for our own sidewalks, our neighbors might not. It's a layer of protection your dog might not appreciate when you're trying to slip them on, but it can save him and his paws from a little bit of pain when he ventures out beyond your own sidewalks.
Just like humans, the cold winter air outside and the sudden warmth from our furnaces inside take a toll on our pet's skin. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water. It doesn't have to come in a water bowl; wet food is a good way to put a little extra water in his diet. Another way to ease arid conditions is by keeping a humidifier running to add moisture to the air; it aids in preventing and soothing dry skin and paws.
We know the seasons are changing when we suddenly feel the need to lotion up our hands every few hours. It's not quite the same for dogs, but their paws do dry out and benefit from a good balm. Some people use petroleum jelly or a specially made salve for paws to lock in moisture. It's easy enough to make at home. Check out Frugally Sustainable's recipe for protective paw wax.
Limit the time your pet spends outdoors. If it's cold for you in the down coat you only wear three or four months of the year, you can bet it's really cold for your dog, who wears the same fur coat all year. While booties are fine for potty breaks and checking on the outdoor garden decor, they aren't going to protect your dog's paws for an extended period of time in sub-zero temperatures. Instead, look for new ways to entertain your pet indoors keep him active.