A Winter Paw Care Guide.
Walks are an essential part of any healthy pup’s daily routine. Figuring out the life hacks you need to get through the colder months keeps you and your furry friend happy and healthy. There are two kinds of people — and canines! — in this world:
- Those who look forward to the snowy glamor of winter walks through the park, delighting in every patch of virgin snow as an opportunity to make snow angels with the pooch
- Those who dread every step of the chilly process, cursing under their breath while pining for the warmth of the southern climes
If you live in a cold climate, you take steps to ensure the winter doesn’t wreak havoc on the skin of your face and other exposed body parts. Because you’re so focused on self-protection, it’s easy to forget about your four-legged friends’ needs. They may enjoy the benefit of a built-in winter coat, but their tiny toe beans need just as much attention as your skin. Canine Styles is here to help you through every step of your winter paw care journey.
Paw Knowledge 101
Maintaining the health of your pup’s precious feet ranges from simply helpful to life-saving, depending on the situation. Understanding the anatomy of your canine’s toes is the first step in crafting a fool-proof paw care routine for the winter. A pad of tough skin protects each toe of your dog’s feet, and the big pad, called the metacarpal pad, protects the very bottom of your little guy’s paws.
Paw pads are a layer of fatty tissue that insulate and protect a dog’s feet. They’re covered by a pigmented layer of skin. The paw pads serve as shock absorbers to protect joints and bones. Like human feet, they are a canine’s guide for what lies beneath.
Paw pad texture is entirely dependent on the terrain during your normal walks. If your active pooch roughs it up on hikes or on gravely paths, his durable paw pads reflect that. On the flipside, if he finds himself playing mostly on grass lawns, open fields or AstroTurf, your winter paw care may need to be more rigorous.
While your pup is biologically protected from a certain amount of winter elements, the chemical makeup of ice-melting salt can be extremely dangerous to these precious pads. If you live in an urban area that uses this type of salt where you walk, your paw care must include:
- Being prepared- Keep a towel handy on every walk to routinely clean off irritated paws that have come into contact with salt, gravel or ice. If you can manage to carry a package, wet wipes are a superior option for cleaning paws during your walk.
- Keeping a watchful eye- If your pooch is a paw licker, winter is the time to nip that behavior in the bud. Ice-melting chemicals can be toxic if licked off bare paws, so keep an eye out all winter long so you can prevent expensive vet visits.
- Maintaining regular grooming- Keep the fur around your canine’s paws nice and trimmed to prevent salt and snow from building up. Maintaining the trim for the winter can prevent winter damage. Mat-free paw pads make it easier for you to inspect for salt or ice between the toes.
- Moisturizing, moisturizing, moisturizing! A protective barrier of petroleum jelly is a paw-care essential before any and all winter walks. A finishing layer of coconut oil once back at home can be just the thing you need to prevent any cracked, itchy or flaky paw skin.
- BOOTS- You can avoid the messy moisturizing step by keeping your pup’s paws safe from the elements in booties. Canine Styles carries dog boots> designed specifically for easy walks in treacherous weather for dogs of all sizes.
Ultimately, trust that if your precious fur baby is in pain, he’ll let you know. Watch for any sign of your pet limping or crying. That’s an immediate signal that something went wrong on the walk. If your paw inspection and a towel wipe doesn’t help relieve his discomfort, take your pooch to the vet for professional treatment.
If the weather is too cold for you, it’s too cold for your canine, too. Whether a pampered pooch or noble guard dog, your little furry friend is just a big softy on the inside! The best way to give yourself peace of mind on wintery walks is to wrap up your pup like you would yourself. Consider a warm dog coat, sweater or shirt when shopping for your four-legged family members, from the most easy-going pup to the walk-hating rebel there's a winter apparel piece they'll LOVE.
Maintaining your pet’s daily routine in the winter prevents stress and keeps everyone’s life in balance. That means taking steps to keep your little friend safe and healthy. Your pooch may never acknowledge the things you do for them, but when your pup’s comfy & fit as a fiddle, you know you’ll receive all the love you can stand … and then some. Well keep providing you with the best advice to help you and dog stay happy, all winter season long.