3 Tips for Winter Safety
Winter is here in full force and while that means lots of fun in the snow, it also means lots of salt on the ground which poses a danger to our dogs. Here are some easy tips to keep your dog safe this winter. "What's so bad about the salt?" you might ask. The salt used to melt ice contains chloride. Contact with your dogs skin can cause irritation and burns, not just on their paws, but on their mouths from licking their paws. This is often the reason why dogs lift their paws during walks, not necessarily because they're cold, but because they're burning or hurting from the salt. The poison can be absorbed through the skin, but it's worse if they ingest it, which can happen when they lick their paws or pick stuff up off the ground. It can cause dehydration, stomach issues and death. This is why it's so important to care for their paws during the winter! Here are 3 easy tips to keep your dog safe from the salt and elements this winter.
1. Footwear. Your dog needs to be conditioned to them. The reason why it's so awkward for your dog to wear footwear is because they can't feel the ground with them on, so their proprioception is thrown off. Boss just got some new Soft Shield Boots from Canada Pooch and he adapted to them rather quickly. This is a dog that hasn't worn boots before. They're not too thick and they stay on really well. I'm very happy with them, especially that I have to protect his paw that had surgery. If boots are too awkward, you can choose what I call "balloon boots", by Pawz, These are the easiest for your dog to wear due to how thin they are. The provide a barrier between their paws and the salt. They don't keep their paws warm and they do tear with use.
2. Paw Protector Balms. Mushers is the most well known and most popular paw balm. It protects your dogs paws from heat and the cold as well as the salt on the ground. The protection isn't equal to that of booties, but it's better than nothing. Another balm I recently discovered is Paw Magik by MuttLuks. What I love about this one is that it comes in a roll on (like lip balm) or stick (like deodorant) format. So much easier to apply to your dogs' paws!
3. Paw Rinse The Mud Buster is great to wash your dogs paws when they're, well, muddy. But it's also great to wash off any salt from your dogs paws. It's gentle and easy to use without having to put your dog in a bath.
No matter what you choose for your dog, make sure they're comfortable with it. Start slow and break it down step by step. For example, you don't have to get all 4 boots on at once. Use lick mats, play, and keep sessions short. If you need help, talk to a Fear Free Certified trainer.
Amelie Koury is the owner and operator of Bon Chien Good Dog. She works as a dog walker and pet sitter and manages the Bon Chien Good Dog website and blog. She is responsible for bringing in guest bloggers and contributors to share their knowledge and expertise with readers. A self proclaimed "dog nerd" and "behaviour geek", she regularly is taking courses, attending workshops and seminars to further her knowledge and improve her work and relationship with the animals she works with. She is a member of the IAABC.. Amelie lives in Montreal, Quebec with her dog Boss.