The first snowfall of the year can be a mixed bag of joy and pain for dog owners. On the one hand, a fluffy pile of snow could be heaps of fun for pets - jumping and diving in cool, cushiony fluff. On the other, snow generally implies ice and ice-melting chemicals, like rock salt.
While snow itself poses little threat to dog paws, salt and dog paws can be a dangerous combination. Extended contact with salt can lead to irritation and chemical burns on sensitive dog pads.
Moreover, the salt chips, meant to thaw away problematic ice, are rough chunks of industrial salt that carry a mixture of toxic melting chemicals along with them. Dogs can accidentally lick or swallow salt and its accompanying chemicals, which can result in painful and even fatal medical complications.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of ways to help you and your dog avoid the potential dangers of salt and dog paws:
Use warm water or a wet towel to gently wipe away any salt or debris that might have gotten stuck on your dog’s paws. Cleaning not only soothes paw irritation, but also keeps your furry buddy feeling fresh.
Waterproof shoes with rubber soles are a neat way to keep your dog’s paws safe not only from salt and toxic chemicals, but also from hot pavement and slippery streets. Recently, disposable booties have been rising in popularity since they fit snuggly without zippers or straps and can be tossed out without the hassle of cleaning.
More comfortable than clunky dog shoes are doggy socks, which are often available in cute colors. Non-slip dog socks have a rubber coating that protects paws similar to the way shoes do.
Temporary paw pads use non-toxic, non-slip medical adhesive to guard dog paws from external harm. They have great traction and adhesion, but their use is a more temporary than long-term solution.
Applying a balm, rub, or cream is perfect way to help prevent paw irritation and heal wounded paws. Spending a few minutes to moisturize your dog’s paws can greatly reduce the risk of more serious health problems.
Paw Wax is a type of cream that you can spread onto your dog’s paws to protect them from chemicals and harsh weather conditions. Applying a little bit before a winter walk is an easy way to keep your pet healthy and happy on the road. Paw Wax is readily available in pet stores and online, and can even be made at home following an all-natural, organic recipe.
You can fortify your dog’s paws by conditioning them against rough surfaces, regularly cleaning and grooming them, and supplementing them with zinc and omega-3, which help strengthen and moisturize paw skin.
Keeping a keen eye on your lovely pet may be the easiest (and cheapest) way to steer your dog out of harm’s way.