Winter is the time of the year when injuries to paws can occur from snow and other winter pet health dangers. According to Dr. Lee Herold, Chief Medical Officer at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, dogs with long hair have an increased risk to frostbite between their toes. Dog health, especially the health of their paws, should be closely monitored during the winter. Dog insurance can help with costs incurred if an accident or illness should plague your pet.
1. Watch Your Step
De-icers are a major cause of paw injuries during the winter. The chemicals used to de-ice roads and sidewalks can cause chemical burns on their pads if they are exposed for prolonged periods of time. The rock salt used to melt snow can create small cuts on their pads and cause dog paw injuries.
Be cautious of where you take your dog for a walk, and if possible, alter your path to avoid recently salted or de-iced pathways.
2. Keep Paws Neatly Trimmed
Another winter paw hazard is snow clumps that form in between the pads of long haired dogs. The snow attaches to their hair and forms snow balls between the pads. In addition to causing pain, snow clumps can cause frostbite. Frostbite is a serious concern if a dog’s paws are exposed to the cold for long periods of time. It is best to take your dog on several shorter walks as opposed to longer walks to reduce their exposure.
Keep the hair on your dog’s paws trimmed to prevent snow clumps and always check your pets’ paws after he comes in from outside.
3. Wear the Right (Dog) Shoes
You can help protect your dog’s paws by having them wear dog booties. Dog booties keep the paws warm, dry and safe from de-icers. If your pet refuses to wear booties, you can purchase specialized waxes that form a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and the elements.