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, and snow, snow, and more snow!
The combination of these conditions can lead to icy, slippery roads and sidewalks. These 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 in the wild grew up 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 your dog end up with a snow or ice-related paw injury, first things first: control the bleeding by applying pressure or putting a soft wrap around the paw.
There are several ways to protect your dog's paws from injuries this time of year, and only a few of them may temporarily embarrass him.
- 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 paws.
- Shoveling a path through the yard and keeping sidewalks and porches clear of crunchy snow will also help your dog navigate slippery paths more easily.
- Accessorize your dog's paws with pet booties. Many pet stores carry protective booties that go over the paws and stay in place with Velcro. These take some getting used to on your dog's part, but they are very effective and easy to use! Most booties come in a set of four, 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 your dog may require some additional outdoor prep as well to protect his paws from injuries. There is no shame in doggy accessories!
Talk with your veterinarian about additional winter weather tips for your dog. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!