While your dog may be happy to grab a walk no matter the weather, when the temperature drops it can cause them serious pain to walk on ice, salt or chemical treatments. Learn about some of the most painful winter hazards for dogs and what you can do to maintain good dog safety this winter.
Cold-weather dog safety
If you’re in an area of the U.S. that gets below freezing in the winter, your pooch could have to worry about ice. Ice shards can cut a dog’s paws, while the salt or chemical de-icer can eat away at the bottom of your dog’s feet, Kimberly May, director of professional and public affairs with the American Veterinary Medical Association, noted on Exceptional Canine.
“There’s a risk of physical injury from rough or sharp surfaces or edges that can cut or abrade the paw pads,” she explained. “There’s also a risk of frostbite or cold damage, and the risk of chemical burns from non pet-friendly ice-melting chemicals put on roads and sidewalks.”
Look for the warning signs
The AVMA explained on its website that pet parents can do their part by checking for trouble in their dog’s paws. Simply look at your furry friend’s paws when you’re relaxing at home. If you spot a cracked or bleeding paw pad, they may have cut themselves on ice or experienced a bad reaction to de-icer. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment to avoid infection or serious pain.
If you notice lameness in one or multiple paws, your dog might also be in trouble. While you’re out walking, lameness can point toward an ice buildup on the paw, the AVMA explained. Keep an eye out for injuries caused by hooks, glass, splinters or other year-round paw dangers as well.
Prevent any problems
Make sure your dog doesn’t have any trouble with these paw dangers on your property by using pet-safe de-icer that eliminates pesky ice without causing paw pain. However, when you travel on public roads or farther afield, you don’t know what types of chemicals might be in use.
Consider trying some winter booties for your pooch. These protect against chemicals, salt and ice shards. Additionally, the AVMA explained that cutting the fur at the bottom of your dog’s paw can help prevent ice buildup. However, this fur is also protective, so consult your veterinarian before snipping away.
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