Salt and de-icers used on winter roads can cause serious damage to a dog’s paws!

Protect my Paws!Though it helps melt the snow and ice faster, making for safer driving, road salt is really hard on a dog’s feet! Prolonged contact with de-icers and salt can lead to chemical burns! It is also dangerous when ingested.

I first learned this when my dog was a puppy and his paws started bleeding! I took him to the vet and they asked me if we were using salt on our front steps. There was the answer! Since then we have used sand instead.

Unfortunately, even if you are not using salt at home, there is likely salt on the streets and sidewalks everywhere you go. If you find that your dog has particularly sensitive feet, you may want to help protect them!

Here’s a recent article from the Knoxville News Sentinel discussing ways to protect your dog’s feet: Pet owners offer a little help for Fido.

Booties

PAWZYou may think it looks silly, but booties may be the way to go in protecting your dog’s feet. The article mentioned above, recommends Pawz natural rubber dog boots.

Pawz is the world’s only disposable and reusable, waterproof dog boot. Made of natural rubber, Pawz are 100% biodegradable. Pawz are designed to go on easily and fit securely without zippers or straps. Fashionable yet durable, Pawz offers serious paw protection.

Bark'n BootsMy dog has Ruffwear Bark’n Boots, which are basically doggie hiking boots! Right before our first backpacking trip together, I noticed that Wesley’s cut paw was not healing as fast as we had hoped! I was worried that if I left it open for him to hike 12 miles on, it would get infected! Luckily there was a pet store nearby that sold these boots. After a few minutes, Wesley didn’t even seem to notice his new shoes and our trip was saved! They stayed on his feet for most of the trip. In the last mile he ended up losing one boot! Luckily, Ruffwear does sell single boots!

After Care

Mushers SecretAfter you come inside and you notice your dog has chapped feet, here are some things you can do. First, remove any salt that might be on his feet using a warm damp wash cloth. After his feet are clean you can apply a moisturizing ointment like vaseline.

Try Musher’s Secret, a 100% natural wax for doggie paws. Musher’s Secret is a dense, barrier wax
that forms a breathable bond with your dog’s paws. Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs, it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions. It is all natural so it is ok for your dog to lick. Also, each application lasts about a week!

Here are a few other things you can do to protect your dog’s paws in winter.

  • Inspect your dog’s paws regularly, so if there is ever a problem, you can catch it early.
  • Keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. Long toenails cause the toes to spread apart, which leads to those pesky little snowballs.
  • Keep the hair between your dog’s toes trimmed short (this also prevents snowballs!)

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