VCA Animal Hospitals
Published: Dec 19, 2012

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As winter approaches and snow starts to fall, you might be pulling your boots and heavy socks out of storage to protect your feet from the elements - but what about your dog? Cold isn't usually an issue for dogs' paws, but salt and chemicals used to melt snow and ice on sidewalks can be brutal on the pads of the paws.

You can prevent dog injuries on your own turf by using sand instead of chemical deicers on your sidewalk and driveway, but you might still encounter these substances if you walk around the neighborhood or city with your canine companion. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your pet's paws all winter long.

Cover them up
Dog booties may seem like a fashion statement, but they are actually designed to keep your pets' paws safe, dry and free of chemicals. Whether you buy booties or make your own, they can be beneficial in preventing dog wounds from sharp ice or items hidden under the snow and ice.

If your canine does not like wearing booties, there are several balms you can use to seal up the surface of the pads, creating a protective barrier so chemicals cannot damage this skin. Try to reapply this product before each walk for the best results.

Give a little extra care
Another way to keep your pet's paws in tip-top shape is to pay a little more attention to them during the winter. After walks, it may help to soak your dog's feet in a dish of warm water to remove chemicals and salt. This can be an effective way of treating pain in dogs, especially if your pooch has open cuts or sores that may have been exposed to salt or chemicals during a walk.

Soaking your pet's paws is especially important if your dog has been licking his pads after a walk. Chemical deicers and other substances on winter streets can be toxic to canines and cause dog vomiting or diarrhea. 

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