The winter months can be tough to get through for us humans, but they can take a toll on your pet as well. Although we don’t often get snow or ice in our region, when it does happen we need to be cautious about how it affects our pets. When it is cold outside, we typically use deicers and salts to melt the ice on pavement, sidewalks, driveways and road surfaces to make them less treacherous. While we are able to navigate these areas with our winter boots and shoes, our pets are not as fortunate.
Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to burns on your pet’s paw pads, and long exposure to cold surfaces can lead to frostbite as well. Instead of taking long walks in winter months, shorter, more frequent walks are recommended. If you can, keep your pet on grassed or snowy areas instead of on the pavement.
Some dogs have long hairy feet with longer fur that grows between their toes and paw pads. These hairs can trap water and freeze causing ice balls to form. Ice balls can also contain the chemicals from deicers, so keeping these hairs trimmed during the winter months can be helpful.
To avoid ingesting toxins from deicers and salts, you can wipe your pet’s paws with a soft cloth in warm water when you return from your walks. You can also use Bag Balm or Vaseline on paw pads during the winter months. A thin layer applied daily can prevent paw pads from cracking and bleeding, and using a Paw Wax prior to walks can help to keep their sensitive feet from exposure to chemicals on the ground (this works for protecting paws on hot pavement surfaces in the summer too).
If possible, you can use pet friendly products around your home to prevent slippery areas, like sand or kitty litter or commercial products like Safe Paw Deicer. There are also options for pet boots, sock like coverings with velcro to keep them on. Booties should not be too tight and may take some time and practice for your pet to adjust to wearing them. You can start with having them wear them for short times around the house and then longer as they adjust.
If you have any questions about pet care, please feel free to contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital – we are happy to help you!
Longview Animal Hospital is honored to serve Longview and surrounding areas for over 420 dog years (60 years!) Although we recommend you call ahead for a pet health appointment, we welcome dog care and cat care walk-ins as well. If your schedule doesn’t permit staying for an animal services appointment, we’ve got you covered. Simply drop off your furry friend for the day. Give us a call today – (903) 758-2082 or click here to request a pet health appointment.