With the current cold weather and snow that has fallen in the UK, it is important to be aware of how to prevent certain problems with your dogs paws as a result. So below are a few things to be aware of to keep your dog’s feet in tip top condition and avoid problems:-

*Before going for a walk in the snow, rub either some paw wax/protector or vaseline to the underside of your dog’s paws. This will protect the pads from the cold of the ice and snow, and the abrasive qualities of any grit or salt, as well as preventing ice balls forming on the hair between the toes. These ice balls will cling to the hair and be very uncomfortable, as well as having the potential to cause ice burns. Even if you have applied vaseline or paw wax, check your dog’s paws throughout the walk (especially if your dog seems uncomfortable or is limping) in case any ice balls have formed, then you can remove them. Hairy paws will obviously accumulate ice balls easier, so keep the hair on the underside of paws trimmed close to the pads.

* The grit/salt on the roads at this time of the year are not only hazardous to your dog’s paws, but they could also contain a chemical de-icing ingredient which can cause chemical burns, and if ingested are highly toxic, as are car anti-freeze and de-icer products. So if your dog has been in contact with gritted or treated surfaces make sure you thoroughly wash and dry his paws off when you return home from your walk. If your dog happens to get de-icer on his paws, he may then lick it off (sometimes these products can have a sweet smell), so that is another reason to wash the paws off.

* Just as we often get dry and chapped skin in the cold weather, your dog may also suffer from the same problems on his paws. So once you have washed and dried his paws, apply a layer of conditioning paw balm to the pads, or consider using dog boots when outside. This can be purchased from some pet stores (Lintbells do a good paw balm) or there are recipes online to make your own.

If you take a little extra care with your dog’s paws this winter you will avoid any problems and ensure your dog is happy and comfortable!

Polite Paws Dog Training 2018