Winter can be tough on your dog’s paws and skin.
Thankfully, there are simple ways that you can keep them safe, healthy and comfortable through snow, ice, salt and all the harsh weather that comes during the winter months.
I love my dog’s feet.
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.
I want my dogs to have healthy paws
This can be somewhat of a challenge in the harsh winter months since we spend so much time outdoors in freezing temperatures.
Winter can be just downright cruel at times, and while there are several dogs who don’t enjoy being out in the snow for long periods of time, my dogs are not among them.
I have issues trying to get my dogs to stop counting snowflakes in the winter wonderland long enough to come and defrost for a few minutes.
Besides that, my biggest challenge in the winter are snowballs getting stuck in their paws.
Everybody likes a good snowball except when they’re stuck between your dog’s toes.
These little ice balls 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.
And the chemicals from de-icers on the sidewalk when you go for a nice winter walk can also be harmful to your furry friend too.
Winter Care For Your Dog’s Paws
Here are some ways that I protect my dog’s paws and their skin from snow, ice and salt in the cold winter months:
- Trim the hair between my dog’s paw pads and trim the top
- Wipe the paws when coming inside
- Dog booties
- Pet safe de-icers
Trim My Dog’s Paws
Newfies have the fastest-growing paw hair that I’ve ever seen.
I feel like I trim it and the next week the Grinch paws are back!
But keeping the hair trimmed on the paws of long-haired dogs is super important because it helps keep snow and ice from forming
I like to use my mini cordless clippers but can also use straight shears but you have to be extra careful!
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If you’re not comfortable with using grooming tools such as scissors or clippers, 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.
You can also just take your dog to an experienced groomer and have them do it.
While you’re trimming your dog’s paws, it’s a good idea to also check your dog’s nails to see if they need a trim too.
Long nails pick up snow and ice easily and can also be challenging for canine paws on slippery surfaces.
Wipe My Dog’s Paws
If your dog isn’t wearing dog booties, its paws are coming in contact with a lot of rough terrain, foreign objects, and ice-melting chemicals when they go for regular walks.
Pet owners should always make sure to check their pup’s paws after taking a long or short walk and remove any ice and snowballs.
The best way to get those iceballs out of your dog’s paw pads is to use a warm washcloth or towel.
This will also help to remove any rock salt and de-icing chemicals that your dog picked up.
You can also dip dog paws into warm water or use your DIY Muddy Paw Wash Station, which will help the ice melt faster and prevent any pulling on the hair.
Make sure to get your dog’s feet as dry as possible to prevent yeast and bacteria from setting up shop.
I like to use an antiseptic and antifungal paw wipe that our vet gave us.
These wipes not only clean the paws but also hydrate them too!
Dog boots can be a great addition to protecting your dog’s paws in the winter time but they can be hard for pet owners to find the right size for large dog breeds.
Luckily Muttluks come big enough for our dogs!
We have a pair for Odin and they have always worked well.
They keep his paws dry and are easy for him to walk in on rough surfaces.
Dog booties are also great for senior dogs that are struggling to gain traction in the winter.
Pet Safe Deicers
While the snow might not hurt a dog’s paw much, what’s mixed in the snow might.
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.
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.
Home Remedies To Protect Dog Paws In The Winter
Paw balm or paw wax works great to not only help massive snowballs from forming but it’s also a good way to put a protective barrier between the ground and your dog’s paws.
I usually apply it right before they go outside and once again after I have dried their paws.
We’ve used Musher’s Secret which you can get at most pet stores but you can also make your own Homemade Paw Balm with some coconut oil
If your dog has dry paw pads this will also help to moisturize them safely but don’t overdo it!
Overly soft paw pads can easily rip or tear on rough surfaces.
Winter Care For Your Dog’s Skin and Coat
Your dog’s coat and skin need extra attention during the cold months too!
Good grooming is a must, especially in dogs that have long hair or curly hair.
The dry air in the house makes for a dry and brittle coat filled with static electricity.
Make sure to take a little extra time to hydrate your dog’s coat with a good grooming spray, comb them regularly to prevent mats and even add a little bit of fish oil to their diet.
Monitor Your Dog’s Paws and Skin
During the winter it’s a good idea for all pet parents to check their paws and skin regularly.
Pay close attention to the pads and between the toes.
Check for any redness, cracks, discolorations or wounds.
Also pay attention to your dog’s grooming habits, if they are licking their paws more than normal or itching, make sure to investigate.
Following these winter paw and skin care tips will help keep your dog happy, healthy and comfortable during the winter season.