It’s winter in Michigan, which means a virtual grab bag of nasty weather, from freezing rain to driving snow and all points in between. To help keep our driveways and walkways safe, we use a variety of salts and other products. None of that matters to your dog, of course. They will still want to frolic and play the Eskimo way regardless of the weather. Their fur helps to insulate against the cold and snow, but their paws are exposed, just as our bare skin would be. This can lead to a variety of of issues from paw health to unwanted debris being tracked through the house in winter. In this post, we are going to take a look at ways that you can protect your pup and keep your home interiors looking good, too.
An easy and common way to protect those paws from the hazards of winter weather is with dog booties. Sled dogs regularly where booties to spare their paws the discomfort that ice and snow can bring, particularly from extended exposure. While your dog might not be training for the Iditarod, his or her paws could still benefit from some booties. It’s worth noting that it might take a little time for your dog to adjust to its new kicks. There might be a brief period of funny walking. With some patience and treats, though, most dogs take to booties fairly quickly.
Removing Little Snowballs
Snow can easily gather between the pads of your dog’s feet, especially for breeds with longer hair. That snow can become packed and even form little ice balls. As you can imagine, these snowballs can cause your dog some serious discomfort. Your dog’s only means of removing them is to chew at them, which can also lead to ingesting rock salt or de-icer.
While your first instinct might be to just pull the snowballs out with your fingers, the better option is to use a warm washcloth on the paws. This will be comfortable to the dog and melt any snow or ice, rather than having it tugged out. If your dog has longer hair that can grow between the pads, you can do your pup a huge favor by ensuring that the hair is groomed properly.
Moist wipes, such as baby wipes, are usually safe for pets, too (always check!). That said, cleaning wipes are an easy and convenient way to wipe away mud, sand, salt and anything else your doggo may have picked up. As a bonus, cleaning wipes are super convenient when traveling with your four-legged friend.
Moist wipes and warm washcloths can be effective, but nothing is as effective as a bath. Since the aim here is to take care of those paws, you don’t need to give your dog a full bath. Just enough water to submerse the paws, to allow for easier rinsing of the dirt, snow, and the like. If your dog is a smaller breed, you might even be able to use a sink. If your talk is a particularly large breed, try just getting the paws in the tub (two at a time if need be) and using a detachable shower head. Whichever method you employ, take extra care to ensure that your dog’s paws are completely dry before the next trip outside.
Getting Between the Pads
It can be easy to give those puppy feet the once over and get back to what your were doing, but be sure to check between the pads, too. Salt and sand can gather all over your dog’s paws, including: between the toes, the sides of the pads, under the nails, etc. Simply part your dog’s toes now and again to check. That accumulation can lead to irritation and, sometimes, even wounds.
Have a Hand Towel Nearby
A fluffy new layer of snow is enough to drive some dogs wild with excitement. They romp and play and … track wet and/or muddy puppy prints all over your floors. Keeping a towel on hand is a quick and easy way to dry those paws, protect your floor, and even prevent slips.
While you are cleaning those paws, also be sure to inspect for cuts, abrasions, and dry/cracked pads. Just like with human skin, the dry winter air can lead to chapped and cracked paws. This can be further exacerbated by walking around on ice and packed snow. Getting salt or de-icer in cracked skin can be painful, as well. If you are noticing cracks in your dog’s paws, consult your vet for the best course of treatment.
If you or someone you know is in need of commercial snow removal services, don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a call at (517) 990-0110 today!