Dog Paw Protection for Winter Snow and Ice

Most dogs love snow. Their natural protection of hair and paw pads allows them to enjoy the icy wonderland for longer than we can before becoming distressed. There is a limit, however, to how much exposure a dog can take before he becomes at risk to injury or illness in and from the snow. Like any other extreme weather condition, precautions should be taken to protect your dog from the natural elements. Dog paw protection for winter snow and ice is critical. Here are some common hazards caused by snow and what you can do to prevent them.

dog paw protection

As dog owners, we often think of dressing our dogs in sweaters or coats to protect them from the cold. But dog paw protection is just as important.

Dog Paw Protection for Winter Snow and Ice

Dog Paw Protection from Frostbite

Even though dogs have the extra added protection of padded feet, they can still get frostbite. Just as with us, frostbite is a serious condition that requires immediate professional treatment. If you suspect your dog may have frostbite, warm the affected area in warm – not hot – water. Dry the warmed area very gently with a towel (not a hair dryer), being careful not to rub. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Limiting your dog’s exposure to wet and cold, as well as protecting his paws with booties, is the best dog paw protection against frostbite.

Dog Paw Protection against Snowballs in Between Toes

If you have a long-haired dog and live in a cold weather climate, you’ve no doubt had to deal with those nasty little snowballs that form in between your dog’s toes. These quickly turn to ice and can be difficult to remove, while in the mean time cause your dog a significant amount of discomfort or pain. To remove them quickly, place your dog’s feet in warm water – not hot – until the ice melts. It is better to prevent them from even forming in the first place however. This can be accomplished by keeping the hair in between your dog’s toes trimmed very short during the winter months for extra dog paw protection.

dog paw protection

Dogs with long coats can easily develop little snowballs between their toes. To avoid this from happening, be sure to keep the hair between your dog’s toes cut very short in wintertime.

Dog Paw Protection from Frozen Objects that Cut

Icicles aren’t the only sharp hazards outside in winter. Things that might normally be fairly harmless – like sticks or twigs – can turn into dangerous objects once frozen.  If your dog licks his paws obsessively after being outside, be sure to check closely for any signs of lacerations and treat accordingly. To prevent this type of injury, try one of the many products you can find online or at most pet stores. There is everything from protective wax that you apply topically before going out to insulated, waterproof booties.

dog paw protection

Dog booties are the best way to provide dog paw protection during snow and ice conditions in winter. Image credit: Frank Kovalchek

Dog Paw Protection from Salt and De-Icing Chemicals

Many of the products we use to melt ice from drives and walkways can be very dangerous for our dogs in two ways. The chemicals can be very irritating to a dog’s pads, causing them to dry out, crack and bleed. Once this happens, the risk of infection becomes another issue. A dog’s normal reaction to this type of irritation is to lick his paws, and in doing so actually ingests those toxic chemicals. Once in the intestinal tract, your dog can become ill and start vomiting or develop diarrhea. Booties are a good preventative for this hazard as well, but better yet, switch to one of the many “paw safe” de-icing products now widely available.

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dog paw protection

28 Comments

    • I agree, GiGi! I used to have a little pug and she would march when she had them on, raising her feet up as high as she could. She was adorable.

  1. It is so important to protect your dogs paws in the winter. We trained our dogs to wear mitts when they were puppies. The city uses a lot of salt in the winter.

    • We had one dog several years ago that was particularly sensitive to cold on her paws. Putting booties on her was the only way we could get her to go outside if there was snow on the ground.

  2. I think these booties are excellent for pets. We used to have them for ours when they had to go outside. Can you imagine putting on 20 of them? At one time we had 5 dogs lol…it took forever in the winter to let them out but I felt good knowing they were protected.

    • Yes, Ruth! Some dogs love the snow so much they would stay outside playing way too long. We wouldn’t dream of sending our children out in the snow without protective clothing … we shouldn’t send our dogs out unprotected either.

    • We’ll be spending most of this winter where it doesn’t snow. I’m looking forward to that difference and I’m sure my dog is, too! He’s only five pounds and he gets really cold.

  3. Those are cute booties. I know my dog just wouldn’t like them though. Although maybe it wouldn’t be as bad in snowy conditions. Maybe he would behave differently. But it would be hard to have a dog in those conditions and to take care of him.

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