How to Protect Your Dog's Precious Paws from the Winter Elements
The holidays may be over, but baby, it’s still cold outside.
And, despite treats and lots of encouragement, my dog Fiona definitely gives me that “Are you serious?” face when I attempt to take her out to pee when it’s 20 degrees outside. And who am I to argue? I get to go out into the frozen tundra with snow boots and gear. While she has many sweaters and coats, I feel most sorry for her feet, which touch the cold, cold, earth and pavement every time we walk outside. So, I searched the Internet for some of the most effective ways to protect those precious paws and found these useful tips and products you might want to try.
1. Keep pets dry. All those times your mother told you not to go outside with wet hair, well, she was right — and the same applies to your dog. The ASPCA recommends using towels to dry off after a cold-weather walk, which helps remove water, ice, salt and other chemicals that could be dangerous to your pooch if ingested. I tried the Soggy Doggy Doormat ($39.99) for frequent walks outside my front door and my girl loved it, as you can tell from the front door love-fest above. The company’s Super Shammy towels ($19.99) are equally absorbent and perfect for tossing in the car. (Also, if you use ice melt at home, be sure to use the pet-friendly kind.)
2. ‘Tis the season for doggy booties. In the doggy fashion show in your mind, your pup is strutting around in adorable booties like a canine Kendall Jenner. In reality, your catwalk might be more of a #fashionfail if your pooch isn’t psyched about his or her newest accessories. But never fear, first timers! With a little patience — try dog boots inside a few times, then venture out — most dogs do warm to the idea of wearing shoes on their feet, especially since their toots become infinitely more toasty in them. Fiona tried Ruffwear’s Polar Trex boots ($99.95) and, with time, I’m hoping she’ll slowly finding her footing (most likely by winter 2018).
3. Pamper those paws. Regular nail trims are one way to keep those paw pads in their best shape. Veterinarians usually offer free or low-cost trimmings all year long, but you can maintain nails at home with any of the paw care products on the market right now. I tried Andis’ 2-speed nail grinder ($74.50) which can help keep your dog’s nails smooth and rounded if they’re cooperative during paw-dicures (not all dogs are). Also, the ASCPA suggests using a moisturizing paw balm — I tried Natural Dog Company’s 100-percent natural paw soother stick ($17.95) — which helps heal rough, dry, cracked paw pads, and apparently tastes very delicious, my dog says.