Well, it's official: Old Man Winter has come and is here to stay in Wisconsin. As all of our Wisconsin friends know, with winter comes cold temperatures, breath taking wind chills, snow, snow and more snow! The combination of some of these conditions can lead to icy, slippery roads and sidewalks. The slippery surfaces are hard enough to manage on two human feet with warm, treaded boots to help support us. Imagine how difficult it is for our dogs!
Obviously, dogs grew up from the wild surviving all kinds of environmental conditions without the conveniences of store-bought booties or veterinary care for wounds. The pads on their paws are tough and can withstand heat and cold very well. But when they encounter the hard, crunchy snow and sharp icy paths, the tissue on the pads can only take so much!
Should Fido end up with a snow or ice related injury to a paw, first things first: control the bleeding by applying pressure or putting a soft wrap around the paw.
There are several ways to protect your dogs' paws this time of year, and only a few of them may temporarily embarrass them.
- First, when throwing salt on your sidewalks, use a pet-friendly product such as Ice Melt or Safe Paw Ice Melter. This is recommended because some road salts can be toxic and harmful to the pads on the underside of their paws.
- Shoveling a path through the yard and keeping the sidewalks and porches clear of crunchy snow will also help Fido navigate more easily.
- Accessorize with pet booties. Many pet stores, such as Petco and Animart, carry protective booties that go over the paws and stay in place with velcro. These take some getting used to on Fido's part, but they are very effective and easy to use! Most booties come in a set of 4, ranging from $20-$50, depending on the lining and sizes.
So when you are bundling you and your loved ones up for fun in the snow, remember that Fido may require some additional outdoor prep as well. There is no shame in doggy accessories!