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How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws in the Winter: 11 Fast and Simple Tips

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog and snow

Are you worried about how to winter-proof your pet’s paws?

You’re not alone. Many dog owners fret about how ice, snow, sleet, and salt will affect their pooch’s paws. While it’s pleasant to walk your dog in the warmer months, the harsh weather of winter can pose a challenge when trying to give your pup his daily amount of exercise. The cold temperatures, snow, and ice can lead to cracked and peeled pads, and even frostbite. Additionally, ice can cut the delicate paw skin, making every step your dog takes a painful one.

So, what exactly can you do to protect your pet’s paws from the cold? Here are 11 fast and simple tips to prevent freezing paws and protect your pup from the snow and ice.

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How to Protect Dogs Paws in Winter

1. Routine Grooming

The first step to get your pup ready for winter is to cut his coat and trim his nails. Long-haired dogs are susceptible to getting ice balls, ice-melting chemicals, and salt crystals stuck in their foot fur. Additionally, long nails can accidentally rake up snow, causing your pup to become uncomfortably cold.

2. Routine Cleaning

Corgi winter
Image Credit: tonyfortku, Pixabay

Thoroughly cleaning your pup’s paws after every trip outside is essential. Keep a bowl of warm water just inside your home’s entryway so that you can wipe his paws (and your own snow boots) when you get back inside. This will ensure that no rock salt is left between his toes or in his fur.

3. Regularly Check the Paws

This is probably an obvious tip, but some pet owners can be forgetful when it comes to checking their dog’s feet. Before and after every walk, ensure that you’re checking your dog’s paws and pads for crack or abrasions. To do this, firmly yet gently grasp and raise their paw to visually inspect it for abnormalities or injuries.

Press down on their paw with your thumb to take note of any discomfort or pain. Lastly, check between their toes for any cuts, lumps, or discoloration.

4. Toughen Them Up

One of the best ways to keep your pet’s paws out of harm’s way is to simply toughen them up. You can do this by walking your dog on pavement or concrete regularly to thicken up the skin on his feet. Uneven, rough blacktop has courser edges, so avoid walking your dog on asphalt to avoid sore paws. If you notice him limping or changing his gate, inspect his paws for injury and then lead him back onto grass.

5. Dog Booties

dog shoes
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Though your pet may look like Bambi trying to walk on ice the first time you put him in booties, these doggy shoes will thoroughly protect his paws from ice and snow. Additionally, they are warm and durable. To find the right fit, measure your dog’s paw from the heel to the tip of the toenail.

  • Check out our top picks for winter dog boots here

6. Puppy Paw Balm

Before heading out into the cold, rub some paw balm on the pads of your dog’s paws. This will minimize the risk of dry skin and any damage rock salt may cause. Reapply the balm when you return from your outing to keep your pet’s paws soft and supple.

7. Keep It Short

During extreme weather, keep your walks to a minimum. Being outside in the cold for too long can lead to frostbite. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pooch!

8. Try Paw Wax

Image Credit: JudiHa, Pixabay

Paw wax is different from paw balm in that it doesn’t soften the pad but creates a barrier between your dog’s sensitive skin and harsh outdoor elements. Originally made for sled dogs, this wax makes a great paw protector if you do take your pet out frequently during the winter.

9. Non-Toxic Ice Melt

Use a pet-safe ice melt on your driveway and sidewalk to avoid any irritation in your furry friend’s feet.

10. Doggy Socks

While not as durable as dog booties, knit socks can help keep your pup’s paws warm for brief exposure to cold winter conditions. Whether your home is drafty or you’re dashing with your dog to and from the car, doggy socks will come in handy. Best of all, many brands come with skid-proof soles, which make walking on slippery snow and ice a breeze.

11. Keep a Towel by the Door

Keep an old towel by the door to quickly dry your pet’s feet off when you come back inside. Wet paws are extremely uncomfortable for cold canines.

From investing in dog booties and socks to routine grooming, checking, and cleaning, use these 11 quick tips to keep your dog’s paws safe from winter weather all season long.

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Featured Image: luca5842, Pixabay

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