A good pet owner ensures that his dog gets plenty of exercise along with all the love and care in the world. However, it is not always easy to do so, especially in winter, when the snow and cold can be brutal on your dog’s paws. The extreme weather often leads to cracked or peeling paw pads that are both painful and uncomfortable for pooches.

To keep your precious furry friend’s paw protected this winter, make sure you follow these tips.

1) Groom Your Dog Regularly
Keep your dog clean and well-groomed during the winter season to avoid frostbite. Cut his nails before they grow too long. Some dogs also have fur between their pads and toes. If yours is one of them, trim the fur to an appropriate length to keep snow from sticking to it and turning into a lump of ice. Regularly inspect your pet’s paws by gently pressing on the pads to see if there are any injuries or abnormalities.

2) Moisturize Your Dog’s Paws
By keeping your pet’s feet moisturized, you can prevent cuts, cracking, or peeling that happens due to continuous exposure to the cold weather. Apply petroleum jelly or cooking oil onto your dog’s paw pads before taking him out for a walk. Reapply the balm once you are back at home. Doing this regularly will help you keep your pet’s paws soft and supple at all times.

3) Buy Dog Boots
It is the ultimate protection for your dog’s soft paws! Dog boots not only help your pet retain body heat but also prevent his feet from coming in contact with salt, sharp items, and other harsh antifreeze chemicals outside. Keep in mind that your dog may not initially enjoy wearing boots. Still, follow a gradual approach — by letting him wear booties for short periods and showering him with praise — to make him accustomed to the feeling of wearing boots.

4) Keep Walks Short
Since the weather is freezing, it is a good idea to switch to frequent short walks instead of a single long walk. By limiting his exposure to snow and cold wind, you can prevent the chances of him getting frostbite on paws or hypothermia. Also, try to take walks when it is not dark for you and your pet’s safety.

5) Use Non-Toxic De-Icer
It is common for people to use salt and other ice-melting granules to thaw ice in their outdoors. These elements can not only irritate your dog’s paws but also prove to be fatal if ingested. The best thing you can do is to use non-toxic options instead of regular salt or chemical de-icers for melting ice in your lawn. Even if you do use the de-icers, make sure that they are ‘pet safe’.

6) Keep Your Dog Hydrated
In wintertime, pets normally burn extra energy to stay warm from inside. This often leads to dehydration and dry skin. This is the reason why you need to make sure that your pet is getting plenty of water to drink during the cold weather.

7) Wash Your Dog’s Paws After Walks
Once you are back home, rinse your dog’s cold paws with warm water to wash off any salt or de-icing chemicals. Keep a bowl of warm water just inside your door for use. If you notice any problems with your dog’s way of walking, such as limping or walking awkwardly, immediately take him to a veterinarian for a check-up.

8) Carry A Towel
When taking your dog outside for a stroll, make sure to carry a soft, dry towel with you. This way, you can wipe your pet’s feet every once in a while and remove any ice, toxic chemicals, or salt crystals sticking to them.

For more guidance on dog training or pet care, talk to our experts at Dog Day Afternoon. Reach us at 703-779-1333!