Keeping Those Pawtastic Paws Protected In The Winter

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I love my dog’s paws.

I love the hugeness of them. I love the furriness of them. I love the feel of them.

And I even love the smell of them.

Because I love those paws of theirs so much I want to keep them happy and healthy, which can be somewhat of a challenge in the winter months since we spend so much time outdoors. Winter can be just down right cruel at times, and while there are several dogs who don’t enjoy being out in the snow for extended periods of time, my dogs are not among them.

I have issues trying to get my dogs to stop counting snowflakes long enough to come and defrost for a few minutes.

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Besides that, my biggest challenge in the winter is snowballs.

Everybody likes a good snowball except when your dog has them stuck between their pads. These can be painful and cause dogs to limp, they can cause mats to form, and they can cause a lot of irritation to the skin on the bottom of the paws.

Here a few ways that I try and minimize the damage that winter and snowballs may have on Sherman and Leroy’s pawtastic paws.

  • Trimmed paws. I keep their paws nice and trimmed. I use straight shears and cut so that the hair is even with the pads, but you have to be extra careful when using straight shears. If you’re not comfortable with using scissors, clippers or thinning shears will work just fine. When I’m trimming I check for mats that may have formed and carefully cut those away. Again, you should only do this if you are comfortable. Most dogs are very ticklish with the hair on the bottom of their feet so it can be challenging.

 

  • Wipe. When the boys come in from being out in the snow I will often use a warm washcloth or towel to wipe their paws to help melt the snowballs. This also helps to remove any salt or deicers that they have walked through on the sidewalks. I always follow up by wiping with a dry towel. Wet paws can lead to raw paws, which can be very painful.

 

  • Paw balm. Paw balm works great to try and keep snowballs away. I usually apply it right before they go outside or before we go for a walk. It can also work as a barrier to protect from deicers. We’ve used Mushers Paw Balm in the past and I’ve known some people that just use Vaseline, but you have to keep in mind that most likely your dog is going to lick at their paws after being outside, so whatever you use make sure that it is dog friendly.

 

  • Dog boots. I’ve tried these before and that aren’t something that work for us and many boots don’t come large enough for bear paws, but they are great way to keep paws safe in the winter.

 

  • Pet safe deicers. Our back patio gets very icy in the winter and I always have some pet friendly deicer. I make sure it’s salt-free, eco-friendly and does not contain any toxic chemicals. While I do my best to try and not let the back patio get icy, sometimes that is beyond my control. If I need to use a deicer I try and do it when I know the dogs won’t be walking on it for a few hours, but I can’t control when my fellow neighbors throw their deicer down.  I’ve heard that some people use cat litter, gravel, or sand as a natural way to remove ice but that just wouldn’t be a safe option here since Leroy likes to eat anything that resembles a rock.

 

  • Stop the licking! I do my best to try and keep Sherman and Leroy from licking at their paws. Constant licking can lead to irritation and infection, so if I see them licking I try to refocus their attention with belly rubs.

 

Winter is a fun time of year for Sherman and Leroy and I want to make sure they are safe and protected from the dangers that can come along with it, and of course, keep those pawtastic paws gorgeous.

SUPER FUN!  This week I’m going to try and make our very own paw balm. I’ve been researching it for the past few days and I’m off to go and get the supplies! If it works, and I have faith that it will,  I will share next week!

So how about you? Do you tips to share on how you keep your dogs paws looking pawtastic during the winter months?

 
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45 Comments on Keeping Those Pawtastic Paws Protected In The Winter

  1. Vlad & Barkly's Dee
    December 4, 2013 at 1:20 am (5 months ago)

    I do most of the same as you except for using a warm washcloth when they enter. I’ve always just plugged the blow-dryer up in the area where I bring them in and melt it that way, and then dry with a towel. Vlad seems to love the snow as much as Dannyboy did, and his coat did exactly the same as Dannyboy’s did when it snowed a few days ago. It turned into snow-dreadlocks. I also put the balm on their noses and lips since I’ve seen those, too, crack in the past from salt dropping onto the drive off of the trucks.

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm (5 months ago)

      The blow dryer is a good idea. My problem would be that with the amount of snow that they bring in and then shake all over I would get electrocuted. Seriously, stuff like that happens to me.

      Reply
  2. Lauranne
    December 4, 2013 at 4:13 am (5 months ago)

    Some brilliant tips, thanks for sharing, you have reminded me that I need to get hold of BDs grooming kit when I have him next week as I think OH is crap at cutting out the mats and bits!
    Lauranne recently posted…Identity unknownMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 4, 2013 at 11:59 pm (5 months ago)

      Thank you and best of luck with the mat cutting!

      Reply
  3. emma
    December 4, 2013 at 7:21 am (5 months ago)

    Mom has to trim our GBGV paw fur, but other than that, we never seem to have issues with our paws. Katie doesn’t either. I do get clumps between my toes when it is wet snow but Mom gets them out for me. With the Newfies big paws, they could probably just borrow your husbands boots!
    emma recently posted…Who Wants To Ride Along To The Beach? | GBGV | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:00 am (5 months ago)

      That’s great that you don’t have any issues in the winter with your paws! You have some brutal winters over there!

      Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:02 am (5 months ago)

      I’ve heard of bag balm before. I got all my supplies to try and make some paw balm this week. I hope it turns out well or I’m going to have a lot of beeswax!

      Reply
  4. Melf
    December 4, 2013 at 9:04 am (5 months ago)

    I live Musher’s Paw too. Jasper and Cupcake have to have their paw fur trimmed as well. We do that a lot in winter. Daisy has less of a problem with snow balls between the toes, but her feet get cold quickly, so she wears Pawz. They are booties made out of rubber and work so much better than any boot I have tried. Daisy doesn’t even walk funny in them.
    Great advice. We feel your winter pain.
    Melf recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #168 – Fun with an OlloclipMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:05 am (5 months ago)

      I’ve tried a few things to keep their feet covered but they just take them off, well in Sherman’s case Leroy took them off his paws for him and then tried to eat them.

      Reply
  5. Sue at Talking Dogs
    December 4, 2013 at 9:15 am (5 months ago)

    Great tips and I’m looking forward to hearing more about your homemade balm. I use balm on Rudy’s paws. Jeffie wears boots (and doesn’t mind at all). Rosie’s paws are more furry than Rudy’s, though not as much as Jeffie’s. They’re forecasting our first snowstorm for tomorrow, so yesterday everybody got a paw trim. Will be interesting to see how Rosie’s paws do.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday at For Love of a Dog JewelryMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:06 am (5 months ago)

      I’m working on trimming paws here too for some snow that is headed our way!

      I got everything I should need for the paw balm today. I hope it goes well!

      Reply
  6. Roxy the Traveling Dog
    December 4, 2013 at 9:24 am (5 months ago)

    Those are good winter tips. Torrey’s paws are a snow magnet, so I have to do all those things too.

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:07 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you and poor Torrey! Hopefully you’ll be staying away from the snow this year???

      Reply
  7. Peggy
    December 4, 2013 at 10:01 am (5 months ago)

    Great tips. I hear that Mushers stuff works well.
    Kelly has long fur on her feet and gets those ice balls in between her toes. I wish we had a fireplace so she could thaw out in front of the fire and the ice could melt away!
    Peggy recently posted…Deluxe Accommodations for your Best Friend at Walt Disney WorldMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:08 am (5 months ago)

      Poor Kelly! The fireplace would be great for her! We have a fireplace but don’t use it often, I’m hoping to change that this year!

      Reply
  8. Two French Bulldogs
    December 4, 2013 at 11:08 am (5 months ago)

    That is very good information regarding your feets. Now how about the snowballs in your furs?
    Lily

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:08 am (5 months ago)

      The boys pick those out of each other and eat them ;)

      Reply
  9. Fini
    December 4, 2013 at 11:39 am (5 months ago)

    Bailey is much, much smaller but boy can she get the snowballs!!! Will have to check out the Paw Balm and will anxiously await your report on the homemade version!

    Oh! I absolutely love that picture!!

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:09 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you! I will be sure to share how our experiment goes!

      Reply
  10. retro rover
    December 4, 2013 at 11:45 am (5 months ago)

    this is great info our problem is our bark yard is concrete, its a car port really, so it turns into an ice slick in cold weather. we use dog safe ice ice melt but still its tough on them. boots definitely don’t work for us and they lick the balm we do use balm sometimes but luckily with fairly lazy guys, at least with the pugs, we tend to stay inside on snowy days accept for short walks. now Bob loves the snow and his feet never seemed bothered

    retro rover

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:10 am (5 months ago)

      I hear you on the concrete issues. We have a big stamped patio that gets icy too. It makes me so nervous so I do my best to try and melt it!

      Reply
  11. Talent Hounds
    December 4, 2013 at 11:51 am (5 months ago)

    Some great tips thanks! and love Advent Calendars. X Talent Hounds

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:10 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks!

      Reply
  12. jan
    December 4, 2013 at 11:51 am (5 months ago)

    We never have snow and my dogs think that the outside is just for a quick bathroom break before rushing inside. They don’t even look for that perfect spot. And they always try to keep one paw off the ground. The tips sound great but not for my wimpy dogs.
    jan recently posted…Studies show Ice Age may be coming; start your enginesMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:11 am (5 months ago)

      Lol, they keep one paw off the ground :)

      Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:12 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks for the link Peggy! I will check that out!

      Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:12 am (5 months ago)

      Gasp! I could!! ;)

      Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:13 am (5 months ago)

      Lol, I kiss at least 2 a night ;)

      Reply
  13. Kelli
    December 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm (5 months ago)

    Oh, looking forward to the paw balm post! Good luck making it, I can’t wait to see. What a great idea. We don’t get snow and have yet to take Buster on the couple of hour drive to play in it, but he does occ. lick his paws, and it is very irritating to them.. He has, however, learned the command “no teeth,” something we taught him when he would try and always mouth us when he was a puppy, so now when I see him licking, I say no teeth and he stops and puts his chin on the floor for a little pout. ;)

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:15 am (5 months ago)

      That’s a great command! I can just see Buster pouting with those big brown eyes!

      Too be honest, I’m a little nervous about making the paw balm. I’ve never really worked with wax and stuff before, but I got all the stuff today so there’s no turning back now!

      Reply
  14. Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning
    December 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm (5 months ago)

    Great post, never can be too careful. Mom wishes she could find some boots for Phantom, both for inside and outside, but she doubts he would leave them on.

    Woos – Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning
    Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning recently posted…Monday MischiefMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:17 am (5 months ago)

      Maybe Phantom would surprise you and leave them on, maybe? :)

      Reply
  15. KB
    December 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm (5 months ago)

    In the super cold snowy weather, like we have now, I rub Bag Balm into my dogs’ paws at bedtime, just to moisturize and prevent cracking.

    We’ve tried dog boots in the snow but they either fall off or get snow inside them…
    KB recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Winter Sunrise LightMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:17 am (5 months ago)

      That’s a good pint about getting snow inside of them. I never thought about that!

      Reply
  16. SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy)
    December 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about any of these in SoCal…just earthquakes ;)

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 12:18 am (5 months ago)

      I will take the snow over earthquakes any day ;)

      Reply
  17. Dawn
    December 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm (5 months ago)

    These area great tips. I can’t think of anything else to add to your list. BTW, I love the smell of my dogs’ feet too. Someone mentioned once on how their dog’s feet smelled like popcorn. That is the closest smell I can think of too.
    Dawn recently posted…Nearly Wordless Wednesday – The Kibble Drop Puzzle Dog ToyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      December 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks Dawn!

      I totally think dog feet smell like Fritos :)

      Reply
  18. 2browndawgs
    December 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm (5 months ago)

    We make sure to wipe the dogs’ paws with a wet cloth if we have been walking in an area where they used deicer. I am curious about your homemade balm.
    2browndawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 12-6-13My Profile

    Reply
  19. Kimberly Gauthier
    December 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm (5 months ago)

    Great great tips! We don’t have snow, but we have very cold temps and tonight, after the final potty break, I’ll be trimming up the paws, adding some balm, and giving the dogs their first winter paw care break.

    Love the list. I totally forgot the hair trimming part until I read this. Yikes! That would have sucked.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Wag More, Bark Less | An Accidental Litter for Christmas #3TrueDogsMy Profile

    Reply
  20. Kate & Toro
    December 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm (5 months ago)

    Awwww.. this eyes are amazing ! My beloved newfie boy Toro has that eyes too <3
    I would like invite you on Toro's blog ;)

    greetings from Poland ;)
    Kate & Toro recently posted…Śnieg !My Profile

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