Austin is primarily warm nine months out of the year. We are free from the typical winter hazards like the snow and brutal cold native to northern states. But does that mean we should not concern ourselves with protecting our dogs’ paws from the cold?
Absolutely not! The fact is, Austin’s average winter low temperatures can reach near freezing during the months of January, February and December. During these months, your dog’s paws can be affected by the cold in more ways than meet the eye.
The Dangers of Cold Weather
Winter cold is just one of winter’s hazards ranging from wind, ice, sleet and antifreeze to road salts. Their paws can become frostbitten, cracked, chapped, lesioned, dry, itchy and flaky. Additionally, ice melting chemicals used on roads and sidewalks can lead to painful and toxic chemical burns.
What transpires next is a scary downward path of sudden, and sometimes chronic, paw licking and chewing, secondary infections and pain for your dog. Additionally, when your pooch licks the chemicals from their foot they can be ingested – causing internal chemical burns in their mouth, throat and internal organs.
Protecting Your Pup
Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can protect your canine furry friend. Good professional grooming and paw care is one of the easiest. Be sure to trim your dog’s nails and keep hair between and around their paw pads short. This will prevent sleet, ice and burrs from collecting and damaging their paws.
You can then apply a paw balm conditioner on their paw pads like Musher’s Secret. Paw balms are breathable organic and natural moisture barriers frequently used to soften, protect and condition the pads.Other popular and reputable brands include:
Dermoscent Bio Balm Skin Repairing Care for Dogs
Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Protection
Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter
Particular Paws Dog Healing Balm
Paw Soother from Natural Dog Company
Please, understand these paw palms are not intended to serve as a replacement for veterinary care or first aid after injury or irritation has already incurred.
While nothing is foolproof to escape the dangers of the cold, dog booties are perhaps the closest you can get. A good quality dog boot will encompass the canine’s entire paw and continue up their ankle between 2-3 inches above the paw itself and will be waterproof. They are best secured with both zipper and velcro enclosures to prevent slippage. Some will even have reflective strips, which are great for joggers who love to take their dogs with them for a run.
Most dogs will tolerate dog booties after a little practice around the house. My friend’s dog Zach actually prances around with his on like a child that just got their first set of light-up sneakers, complete with a superdog cape! Others however, may think of them as a new chew toy if you leave them lying around. You can find dog booties at your local pet store and online retailer. We highly recommend trying the booties on your dog first for the best results.