There’s no denying winters in Canada can be harsh, for both dogs and humans. For dogs, exposure to the cold air and snow can cause dry itchy skin, cracked paws or discomfort during dog walks. Extra care also needs to be taken to ensure paws are kept clean from ice-melting chemicals, which can be harmful if left on the skin or ingested.
Luckily there are a few products and steps you can take to provide care and relief for your pup’s irritated paws and skin this winter.
Grooming is an important part of keeping your pet’s paws healthy this winter. If your dog has long hair, trim the hair between the paw pads and around the paws. This serves several functions: it minimizes painful ice balls from forming on your dog’s paws; it reduces the amount of road salt and de-icing chemicals that are picked up; and it makes it easier for you to clean and apply moisturizing balm to your dog’s paws after your walks.
Don’t forget to keep your dog’s nails trimmed all year round, including the winter. Long nails tend to splay your dog’s paws while walking, making it easier for irritants to get between paw pads.
As for your dog’s skin, brushing your dog’s coat on a regular basis will help get rid of dead hair, distribute natural oils throughout the coat, and help invigorate the skin.
Keep paws clean
Thoroughly wash and dry your dog’s paws after its walk, making sure to also clean the area between its toes. This gets off any de-icing chemicals that may be on your dog’s paws. Use this opportunity to inspect your pet’s paws for any cracks or redness. Once the paw is clean, you can apply a paw balm or petroleum jelly to sooth any irritation or treat dryness. Avoid using moisturizers made for humans, since this can soften paws and leave them vulnerable to injury.
Being exposed to cold, wet weather followed by warm, dry air inside your house can cause your dog to develop itchy, flakey skin. If dry skin is a problem with your dog, consider getting a humidifier to control the humidity in your house.
Less bath times
While it’s important to keep your pet’s feet clean, try to avoid bathing your pet too often in the winter. Frequent washing removes essential oils, which can dry out your dog’s skin. If you must wash your dog in the winter months, ask your vet for recommendations on a gentle moisturizing shampoo.
While your dog may not love them, dog boots can help minimize contact between your dog’s feet and harmful chemicals. Another option is to use a paw balm or petroleum jelly to create a protective layer on your dog’s paw pads. You should still wash your dog’s paws afterwards to make sure your pooch doesn’t accidentally lick any chemicals left on its paws.
We all know how rough winter can be, so minimize the impact the cold weather and icy conditions will have on your pet by following these tips.