How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws in Snow and Wintery Weather

If you think it’s cold outside — your dog probably does, too.

Certain breeds, like Huskies and Malamutes, tolerate cold and snow much better than short-haired breeds, like Chihuahuas and Whippets. But even winter-adapted pups can still be at risk due to chemical or salt exposure.  

When the temperature drops and sidewalks get slippery, here are ways can protect your pup’s precious paws: 

Keeps Paw Pads Moisturized

Slather your pup’s pads in dog paw wax or paw balm, such as Bond Vet Paw BalmMusher’s Secret, Bag Balm, or a beeswax based moisturizer, before hitting the streets for a winter walk (Tip: if you don’t have paw balm, petroleum jelly will do in a pinch). The moisturizing balm acts as a barrier to help keep out ice and harmful chemicals. 

You can also use paw balm to soothe and moisturize your dog’s paw pads after walks. Just make sure to clean away any ice, salt, or chemicals first.

Keep Your Pup Hydrated

Your pet’s skin and paw pads need to stay hydrated and this can be tougher in the dry, cold winter months. Make sure your pooch has plenty of water available and bring some water on longer walks, too (don’t rely on snow to quench their thirst). A humidifier can also help (Plus, it’ll do the dog owner’s skin some good, too!).

Wash Your Dog’s Paws After Walks 

Dip your pup’s paws into a shallow bowl of warm water (make sure it’s not hot!), then towel dry. This will remove ice, salt, chemicals, and any other buildup their paws may have been exposed to. Bonus: it’ll keep your floors nice and clean too!

Avoid Deicing Agents

This means steering clear of very slushy or salty areas while on your walks. Commonly used ice deicers, like calcium chloride and sodium chloride, can harm paws. 

If you’re responsible for deicing outside your home, make sure to use pet-safe ice melters, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Keep Walks As Short As Possible In Harsh Winter Weather

Unless your pup loves running around in the cold and snow and you’re prepared for a long walk, it’s best to limit your pup’s time outdoors. 

This is especially true for senior dogs, puppies, dog breeds with shorter fur, and pets with arthritis or other health conditions.

Keep Your Pup’s Paws Well-Groomed

Trimming your dog’s nails will help with stable footing. And, for breeds with long fur between their toes, trimming this fur will aid with paw cleaning and make it less likely for ice balls to form between the toes.

Purchase Dog Boots or Booties

This footgear can do an excellent job protecting your dog’s paws from salt, chemicals, ice, and other winter hazards. Plus, many are non-slip in icy conditions and keep your pup’s toes nice and dry. 

It’s important to get the right size. Measure your dog’s paw as advised by the manufacturer, then put on the boots so they’re tight enough to stay in place but not so tight as to interfere with circulation.

It may take a little time for your pup to get used to the dog booties. Start with just a few minutes, and offer treats for keeping the boots on.

Monitor Your Dog’s Paws

Take the time on paw care: Check the pads and between the toes for redness, cracks, wounds, discoloration, or any other signs of concern. Also, take notice if your pup seems to be licking their paws a lot. Report any concerns to your veterinarian.

Keep Your Pet’s Whole Body Warm

Keep your dog indoors as much as possible in cold weather, and consider a sweater or coat during walks to help retain body heat. If your dog’s core temperature is warm enough, they’re more likely to maintain healthy circulation to their paws — not to mention, less likely to suffer cold-weather health problems like hypothermia.

About Bond Vet

We’re on a mission to strengthen the human-animal bond through better pet care, and we started with a new approach: urgent care.

Because much like humans, pets often show symptoms for which an ER visit is not necessary, but a primary care clinic may not be able to make time for. We felt there should be a comforting, transparent, and thorough place for pet parents to get answers, quickly.

Since we opened in June 2019 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, we’ve treated tens of thousands of cats and dogs. And as we’ve grown, we’ve expanded our services into those of a full-service veterinary clinic, offering our trademark urgent care, as well as routine care, like wellness exams, vaccines and spay/neuter, as well as surgeries, dental cleanings, and international health certificates.

This range not only benefits our clients — who can almost always get a same-day appointment when needed — but also our medical team, for whom a broad case mix provides opportunities to learn, grow and practice at the top of their license. Diverse cases keep the team engaged and deepens their passion for veterinary medicine.

And that’s what we’re all about — at our core, Bond is focused on the people. That might sound unexpected for a vet clinic, but it’s true. We developed Bond to provide both sustainable veterinary careers and outstanding medical care. That’s a win for everyone because caring for our team helps them care for your pets. And with current trends in pet ownership, there are a lot more pets out there to care for! Below, you can meet the people who dedicate their lives to doing just that.