Keeping Your Pets Paws Safe This Winter
Harsh winter temperatures can cause us to bundle up, turn up the heat or get the fire going to stay warm. Our pets usually enjoy bounding through the fluffy snow. However, as pet owners, we have more than just ourselves to worry about staying warm during wintertime. Our pets are also susceptible to the cold, and we need to make sure we are taking the necessary steps to keep them warm and comfortable.
Keeping Your Pets Paws Safe This Winter
Harsh winter temperatures can cause us to bundle up, turn up the heat or get the fire going to stay warm. Our pets usually enjoy bounding through the fluffy snow. However, as pet owners, we have more than just ourselves to worry about staying warm during wintertime. Our pets are also susceptible to the cold, and we need to make sure we are taking the necessary steps to keep them warm and comfortable. An area on your pet that you should pay special attention to is their paws. Unfortunately, many pets, namely dogs that spend more time outside can become too cold. Even our precious hypo-allergenic goldendoodles with their soft, fluffy furs get cold in wintertime. Though some breeds can adapt more easily to the cold, just like humans, they can suffer in frigid temperatures. Your pet’s paws are very sensitive, and the winter weather can pose some risks to them. Since our furry friends cannot tell us if their paws are bothersome in the cold, you should take necessary steps to ensure that your pet’s paws are being protected and properly cared for. But - how do you keep your pet’s paws safe? Here is some helpful advice for making sure that your pet’s paws are not in pain or suffering in the cold this winter.
Wearing Boots or Pet Socks When Outdoors
Even though to some pet owners, it may seem silly, having your pet wear protective booties or socks over their paws is just like how we wear boots ourselves to protect our feet from the cold. Your pet can walk freely across the snow and icy areas without any pose to freeze their sensitive paws. Keeping them safe from freezing snow is a priority in the winter. Chemicals in things like salt or sand put down to prevent ice can also cause a reaction or pain to your pet’s paws. That barrier eliminates any contact with those harsh chemicals and prevents the sand, salt, or ice from getting stuck in between their toes. Make sure to use boots or socks that fit your pet correctly to stay in place, and there is no risk of them falling off. You also should make sure that they aren’t too tight around your pet’s paws so that it causes pain in a different fashion. Finally, check that you can still get them off and on quickly but that they don’t move around too much when your pet walks or runs.
Petroleum Jelly or Paw Balms
If you don’t feel that wearing socks or boots is going to work, or your pet keeps trying to pull them off, you may need to look for another solution to keeping their paws safe. Vaseline or any petroleum jelly-based products, even ones specific for pets like a paw balm, are a great alternative. These types of products keep their paws hydrated and prevent their pads from drying out and cracking. Apply liberally before going outside to ensure there is a barrier across their sensitive pads. You should also take measures to have a towel or wipe handy so that you can wipe it off before letting them back indoors, keeping those slippery, greasy paw prints from damaging your floors and rugs.
Beware of De-Icers and Use Pet-Safe Ice Melts
The average de-icers used on walkways and driveways contain chemicals that can irritate and even burn your pet’s paws. They also can make our pets sick because they can stick to their paws. Then, when your pet lick at them, they can cause more problems - mouth burns, diarrhea, and other health concerns. Take note when walking your pet outside if there are de-icers sprinkled on sidewalks or walkways, and work to avoid them. Take note of how your pet reacts after coming back indoors. If you notice that it is licking or biting at its paws, or you see redness in the skin surrounding the paw pads, remove any ice balls and wipe their feet clean. You should be sure to contact your veterinarian if they need to see your pet and provide additional treatments. Many de-icers are safe for pets, and these are what you should be using at your home. This way, when you take your pet outside, you can be sure that it is safe walking within your residential area. Pay attention to areas of the ice, and ensure that your pet avoids these as well since sharp edges on the ice can damage their paws.
Shovel Pathways and Walkways Often
Keeping areas where your pet will walk as clear as possible also helps prevent any problems with their paws. Shoveling and clearing pathways, driveways, and sidewalks frequently help to protect them. You can also take it a step further and put straw down, which will help to keep snow off of their feet. Keeping on top of the shoveling is a great alternative to boots or balm, especially if your pet is only taking short, quick potty breaks outside. Keep in mind that your pet will probably still need some sort of exercise, so be sure to keep them entertained with fun toys, games, treats and chews, or playtime indoors during the colder months.
Pets can contract frostbite in their paws, and the most common way they do this is from being outdoors for long periods. Avoid this by keeping your pets indoors more often in winter, and watch for signs of frostbite such as discoloration of their skin or trouble moving their extremities (besides their feet, it could be their tails or ear tips). Be sure to consult a veterinarian if you suspect that your pet has gotten frostbite. Whether you choose any of the options to help keep your pet’s paws safe in the wintertime, it can be helpful if you simply clean their paws and remove any ice or salt from them anytime they are outside. Taking a proactive approach to ensuring your pet’s paws are safe and cared for is the best way to transition to the cold weather easily.
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