Welcome to the 2012 Winter session of W2G. As a dog, there are only four times a year that I like to go out and play – winter, spring, summer and fall! But going out in each season presents its own challenges to doggie paws.
Now that winter has arrived, we have to be especially careful with road treatments. Cinder, salt, ice-melting chemicals and ice can all cause damage to sensitive pads on our feet. There are some things that you can do to minimize this damage.
1) Keep our nails trimmed. Longer nails makes our pads spread out when we walk outside allowing snow and ice to build up. This can be painful on long winter walks. Untrimmed toes can also effect the way we walk, giving us less traction on snowy and icy paths.
2) Trim the fur between our pads. By doing this, you eliminate the amount of snow and debris that can build up between our toes. Compacted snow will make it harder for us to walk
3) Check our pads regularly in the winter season. Chemicals and salt can dry out the pads and cause them to crack. This can be very painful and can even get infected. You can apply cream or vasoline to our pads to help keep them from drying out.
4) If possible, wash our feet in warm water after a wintry walk. (though some of us may protest at having this done, we greatly appreciate it) This will serve not only to cleanse our paws of chemicals, ice and salt, but will also warm them up. This is important because, as you all know, when something hurts us dogs, we tend to lick that spot. Chemicals and salt can cause stomach problems and we certainly don’t like that!
5) For dogs that will let you, you can always try doggie booties. Personally, I wouldn’t dream of letting my mom put them on me. I’m a lab! We don’t’ wear booties. BUT a dog with more delicate feet might benefit from this. A dog can lose heat quickly from his or her feet and can even lead to hypothermia. It is obviously not natural for us dogs to wear boots so it may take a while to adjust. As our parents, it’s your call as to whether you think we need it.
But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t let winter deter you from taking us out to play and exercise. Like our beloved humans, we are more apt to gain weight in the winter months. It will benefit us all if we maintain a regular exercise and play schedule. We count on you, just as you can count on us.