Three Winter Paw Safety Tips

December 22, 2021 3 min read

Winter Paw Safety Tips

Winter has officially begun and the temperatures are plummeting. Did you know that dogs can get frostbite in their paws in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit? Frostbite occurs during long exposure to cold temperatures. In an effort to keep heat nearer the body's core, the dog’s blood vessels will constrict. Tissues that are further from the dog’s core, if left exposed to low temperatures long enough, will begin to freeze. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to frostbite. These include smaller body size and shorter-haired breeds. Wet fur, age of the dog, and any medical condition will also affect the risk of a dog getting frostbite when exposed to low temperatures. One of the most common areas to get frostbite is a dog’s paws. Besides frostbite, in winter temperatures, you also have to worry about ice cutting the dog’s pads, snow packing in the web of the paws, and ice melt chemically burning their paws. In this blog, we are going to cover three easy tips to help keep your dog’s paws safe during the cold, winter months.

Protective Dog Boots

The easiest and most effective way to protect your dog’s paws in the winter is using protective dog boots. Dog boots will protect your dog’s paws from ice and snow, keep their paws from coming in direct contact with cold surfaces, protect from ice melt chemical burns, and assist in retaining tissue body temperature by providing some insulation against outside temperatures.

Dog boots come in many forms, materials, and styles. One of our best-selling dog boots is the Lewis Dog Boots, offered in two different designs and sold as a set or individually. The Lewis Dog Boots are either vented or non-vented. For winter protection, we recommend the non-vented version to keep water and snow from entering the boot and non-vented will lessen the loss of body heat. Another great option is the Ruff Wear Polar Trex Boots, which are specially engineered for winter weather. These boots not only provide protection from ice, snow, and extreme cold temperatures, but also provide additional traction similar to how humans would wear snow boots with specific treads.

Winter Dog Boots for Paw Safety

Dog Paw Balms

Boots are the best solution for protecting paws in the winter months, but not all dogs are willing to wear boots. The next best option would be using a paw balm to coat the dog’s paws. We both sell and highly recommend the Vermont’s Original Bag Balm in the 8 ounce tins. Bag Balm has been the go-to paw balm for over 100 years. Another great paw balm is Mushers Secret, which was developed in Canada for use on sled dogs. Rubbing paw balms on your dog’s paws, over their pads, and in their webbings will provide a protective layer against snow and ice melt chemicals. Applying balms in the webbings will also aid in preventing snow from packing between the toes of your dogs. Additionally, balms have the benefit of keeping paws soft and supple to prevent cracking during winter months. Another benefit to using balms is that if there are any cuts or abrasions on the pads, balms will help soothe and heal them.

Keep a Towel Handy

The last tip is not necessarily protection, but more of prevention, from additional stress or damage to their paws. Having a towel handy for after walks or outside work to wipe down and remove any ice or snow will minimize any further damage from the salt, ice and snow, or other debris picked up. As mentioned above, snow-packed paws can damage the dog’s toes and cause damage to tendons and nerves. For this reason, it is important to clear out any packed snow as soon as possible. If you are concerned with exposure to ice melt, have a bucket of lukewarm water ready to give each paw a quick dip before drying them off.

Conclusion

Just as we take great care of our feet, don’t forget to protect your dog’s feet. Following the above tips will help protect your dog’s paws in colder temperatures and wintery conditions. It is also a good idea to keep walks and outside work to a minimum during inclement weather and extreme cold,  especially when it’s very icy.

We hope you found these tips useful and you and dogs have a fun, but safe, winter season.

Thank you for reading!

Michael Cassatt, LCS Director of Marketing


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Dog Image