Take care of your dog's paws this winter
Dog's paws are very sensitive to cold, but how your dog experiences the cold on his pads is individual to him. Some get cold cramps quickly, others dry pads. Here we go through what you can do to care for your dog's paws this winter.
Cramps and frostbite
Your dog can get cold cramps under their paws that often cause them to stop on walks and pick up their paws. They usually don't want to walk anymore, and they may limp on some legs. Your dog may also lie down if they get cramps on several paws at the same time.
If this happens, the best thing you can do is try to warm the dog's paw with your hands. If you have a small dog, you can pick it up and carry it in your arms for a while. If your dog gets cramps often, it may be a good idea to settle for short walks when it's freezing. Your dog can actually suffer from frostbite if you don't pay attention to your dog's signals. Paws, along with other protruding body parts, are particularly susceptible to frostbite. Contact a vet as soon as you suspect your dog has suffered a frostbite injury.
You can also prevent frostbite by putting shoes or socks on your dog, which can be bought at the pet shop. This prevents your dog's paws from coming into direct contact with the snow and ice, allowing them to go for longer walks.
Road salt and dry paws
Your dog's paws can become very dry and even crack from road salt, so make sure you walk on salted roads as little as possible during the winter. If you live somewhere there is always salt, it is a good idea to wash and dry off their paws when you come in from a walk. Also, grease their paws with an oily paw salve to further protect them.
Preventive paw care
Shave the fur between the pads regularly to help your dog cope with the cold. The paws will then dry out more quickly and your dog will not get ice lumps stuck between the pads.
Your dog's paw pads will generally be drier in winter, so it's a good idea to apply a thick paw salve to the paws to prevent cracking problems. You can find specially formulated paw rubs at the pet shop. After you've moisturized the paws, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your dog to make sure he doesn't lick all the ointment off. If you know your dog likes to lick, you can use a cone until the ointment has soaked in.
Feel free to use shoes on your dog if your dog has a lot of problems with dry and cracked paws. There are varieties that can keep moisture out and those that help keep warm. Depending on where you walk your dog, different variants may be more or less suitable. Get help from your pet shop to find the ones that are best for you.