Learning how to protect dog paws in Winter is a very important part of caring for your dog properly. Just as our skin can become dry and irritated during the cold weather, so can your dog’s paws. Without the right care, your dog’s tootsies can begin to crack and bleed. Dogs also have the added hazard of sidewalk salt to deal with, which can further wreak havoc to their tender paw pads. But, with a little knowledge and some tender loving attention, your dog can enjoy soft, supple paws and happy feet.
HOW TO PROTECT DOG PAWS IN WINTER – WASHING AND SOFTENING IS THE ANSWER
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- Do not leave your dog outside for extended periods during extremely cold weather. Some dogs may really enjoy being outside but we need to show the common sense they don’t seem to possess. My Lab would stay out all day if I let him, but during really cold weather, I play the bad guy and make him come in.
- After being out, especially if walking on surfaces treated with salt, wash your dog’s feet to remove all the salt and chemicals. There are several options for doing this.
I started by washing my dog’s feet with a washcloth, dipped in warm water, repeating several times with each foot. If you start doing this when your dog is young, they don’t seem to mind.
Another option is to fill a small plastic pan with warm water and dip your dog’s feet, one at a time, in the warm water, then dry thoroughly. The final options and ones I am liking a lot are the Paw Wash or Dog Paw Cleaner. Both are great at cleaning dog paws.
The Dog Paw Wash is a self-contained dog paw washing station. It holds warm water, to which you can add a bit of an antibacterial wash solution if you like. You can place it beside the door your dog enters and clean his feet before he comes into the room. The dog’s foot is inserted into the opening. There is a cleaning pad in the bottom with soft, flexible fingers that cleans the dog’s feet.
The dog paw cleaner is a simpler version of a dog paw washing device. The cup holds warm water and the flexible fingers on the side will clean your dog’s paw as you slide it in.
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Actually, in any weather, these paw washers are great ideas. Just think, your dog comes in from outside, jumps on your bed and his paws that had just been running happily through dirt, mud and bodily droppings, are now depositing the same on your clean linens. Ewww, Yuck and Gross! Wash those paws!!!
How to protect dog paws in winter would not be complete without mentioning conditioning of your dog’s paws after washing. Applying a dog paw softening cream will help prevent dry, cracked dog paws. I also use these creams on my dog’s dry, cracked nose which is a real problem for him in winter.