How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws in the Winter
The winter season is on its way. The days will soon be shorter, Christmas lights will be up and you will be making hot coffee to combat the winter chill.
Winter presents unique challenges to dog owners, particularly if they live in areas that experience extreme weather changes.
If you’re a Chicago dog walker for many winters, you would have to deal with blizzard conditions, sub-zero temperatures, and make sure your dogs were safe. You would also learn what dog owners should do to survive the cold months.
These are some essential items that every dog owner should have in winter.
1. A Box of Red Paws Rubber Boots and a Container with Musher’s Paw Wax
Snow and ice can cause discomfort and even danger for dogs’ paws. But even more dangerous is the salt that snowplows or shovelers spread on the streets and sidewalks in order to melt the ice. The salt and ice combine to create a reaction that can cause a burn in dogs’ paws.
Two great ways to avoid this are dog booties or paw wax. People swear by boots that attach with Velcro for dogs, but I have found them difficult to manage and fall apart easily.
Rubber booties are a better option. They are waterproof and can be worn for a long time, provided you choose the right size. They can also be reused for a very long time.
Paw wax is for dogs that will not allow anything wrapped around their feet. You can apply a wax-like cream to their paw pads or between their toes.
If you don’t want to leave waxy paw prints all around the house, this will need to be removed at the end. However, it helps keep your paws from getting burned.
2. A Dog Jacket
A dog’s natural defense against cold is their fur coats. However, dogs with very short hair or who live in extreme cold regions will need a jacket harness.
It should be at least moderately waterproof to prevent snow from settling in. Also, it should allow you to attach a leash to your dog for walks.
To find the perfect coat for your dog, it is important that you follow all sizing instructions. Uncomfortable coats can make your dog feel uncomfortable. A coat that is too tight will cause discomfort. A coat that is too loose will make it more susceptible to the cold and will drag on the ground.
3. High-Dexterity Gloves
On a grey background, an orange glove with black gripping material is displayed.
You will need gloves to protect your hands from frostbite when you are holding the leash in freezing temperatures.
It’s amazing how many times you will need to use your hands while on a walk. However, there will also be times when you have to clean up their fur, remove any debris from their feet, and pick them up after themselves. You’ll need to move your fingers while keeping warm.
4. Boots that Are Waterproof
On a white background, men’s and women’s winter boots are displayed.
It may seem that you can avoid walking through snow by staying on plowed streets and sidewalks. Sometimes, however, it’s best to take your dog for a walk before snowplows arrive. As the snow melts into snow, you’ll be stomping through puddles everywhere.
Wet socks can make it more difficult to walk and chill faster than dry socks. Waterproof boots that can withstand snow and ice are essential.
5. Hand Warmers
On a white background, a box of hand warmers is displayed.
Your extremities can get cold even with the best boots and gloves. Frostbite is possible if you don’t keep your extremities warm.
It’s important to take good care of your feet and hands, especially since you will be walking a lot. Warming your hands with hand warmers is a soft product that causes a reaction and produces heat when it’s shaken.
These are great for stuffing in your boots or gloves on cold days. Keep your hands and feet warm to help you grasp the leash, keep your feet on the ground, and respond quickly.
6. Warm Underclothes
Arrange in layers if you want to deal with the cold on winter walks. It is best to start with a tightly-fitting, warm layer that traps heat and stays close to your skin.
Layering in winter is something I don’t recommend enough. In Chicago’s winter, underclothes were a lifesaver. Certain types of underclothes can draw heat away from your body, which can make it more comfortable to walk your dog in colder climates.
7. Ice Melt that is Pet-Friendly
On a white background, a bucket and a smaller Safe Paw ice melting container are displayed.
Salt is bad for dogs’ paws when it gets icy, as I said earlier. However, you don’t have to allow the snow and ice to accumulate around your driveway or front steps. Salt-free and pet-friendly options are available. They work well and leave fewer residues than salt.
They are non-toxic and safe to use on pets, children, plants, bricks, and stone paths. Although they are more costly than regular salt, you will be saving your dog from pain and possible vet bills for treatment.
8. Doggy Towel
A black dog shows off a blue towel that looks like a dog bathrobe against a white background.
No matter how long you spend cleaning snow clumps from your dog’s fur they will still be tracking in a lot of moisture around your home. This can lead to slippery conditions and make your home, especially in urban areas, muddier.
A towel is a great idea to keep near the door, as well as a doormat for sweeping off snow. However, if your dog runs wild, there will be snow everywhere.
A few products look somewhat like dog bathrobes. These are a great idea. They absorb some of the moisture from your dog’s skin. They can also be used all year round for rainy days, after baths, and trips to the lake.
This winter gear will make it easier to handle the snow and cold when you take your dog for a walk. What winter gear do your dogs use?
Snowy winter walks for dogs can be magical, especially when the weather is perfect. The outside world can be even more exciting for dogs when it is freshly fallen snow. You’re likely to be wearing many layers, including a hat and boots. Safety reflectors and lights are essential if you plan to walk at night.
It is equally important to protect your pet from the elements as well as keep them safe while on winter walks.
Winter weather can present some risks for your dog’s health, especially their paws. Also, ice and snow can dry out paw pads and cause chapping or cracking. Cracked paws, just like chapped lips can be irritating and painful.
The elements can be dangerous for your dog. If you let your dog try to lick it off, the chemicals and sidewalk salt could cause chemical burns on their paw pads.
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