Your pet’s paws are among some of their most adorable features, but for as cute as those little pads are they are equally durable. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, your best friend’s feet can hold up in harsh weather – until they start to dry out, crack and bleed. As a result, winter paw care should be a priority this time of year.
Super Tough and Sturdy
It seems like pets come perfectly equipped to handle whatever weather extremes are thrown at them, and use their adaptability to survive harsh conditions. But just as heat stroke can be extremely dangerous to pets in the summer, icy winter weather brings a set of unique risks. In addition to protecting them from hypothermia and other seasonal threats, owners need to embrace a proactive approach to winter paw care.
Beyond the Cold
Chemicals deicers and snow-melting salts are responsible for drying out the paw pads. If not removed and treated right away, the pads can begin to crack and bleed.
Also, antifreeze products can be stepped in and then licked off. Due to their highly toxic nature, it is critical to your pet’s health to take extra care of their feet this winter.
Frosty and Bitter
Paw pads provide cushioning and shock absorption, so your pet’s bones, tendons and ligaments suffer less impact when running, jumping or simply walking about. They also provide insulation from cold (or hot) surfaces, and traction on different types of terrain.
Time Is On Their Side
Winter paw care can include any of the following tactics:
- Customize how long your pet is outside and exposed to dangerous temperatures. The longer they remain outdoors in harsh conditions, the more likely their paws will need special protection. If it’s too cold for you, it’s definitely too cold for them!
- Watch out for any signs of pain, limping, shivering, and any loss of coordination.
- Be sure to keep the hair trimmed around and between your pet’s paw pads. This helps reduce ice and snowpack from attaching to their feet.
- When you return home, rinse their feet in a bowl of lukewarm water and dry carefully with a soft cloth.
- A thin layer of protective balm can reduce damage to their paw pads. Be sure it is a non-toxic product in case your pet licks it off their feet.
- Booties might be an option, but your pet will probably need a little time to get used to them. Once they do, you can feel satisfied that their feet stay warm, dry and protected from the elements.
- Limit how much you bathe your pet during the winter months. They depend on their skin’s natural oils to heal dry skin.
Winter Paw Care
Since your pet relies on their feet to get them everywhere they need to go, their overall wellness hinges on a proactive approach to winter paw care. Without tending to their feet, they may suffer cracked pads, frostbite chemical burns and more.