Dog Seasonal Tips
Pets may experience discomfort from walking in the snow due to two primary factors:
The first is the development of ice pellets in the hair between your pet's toes. This occurs because the warmth of our pet's paws melts the snow that clings to it causing the hair on the paw (especially between the toes)to become wet, refreeze, and begin to accumulate more snow. Eventually the ice pellet enlarges and causes discomfort during walking, much like a pebble in the boot would do to us. This is often aggravated by the licking/chewing as the animal attempts to remove the snow accumulation.
The second likely cause is paw discomfort resulting from exposure to the salt commonly used to prevent ice build up on walkways or roadways. Salt can be very irritating to the feet with excess paw hair tending to trap the salt and prolong its contact with our pet's paws.
Preventing Snow Related Paw Discomfort
Fortunately, the solutions to these problems are relatively simple. Begin by trimming excess hair from between your pet's toes. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, enlist the assistance of a professional groomer. If possible, avoid areas that have been salted and use alternate methods to prevent ice build-up on your own property, such as regular shoveling and sand. Ensure that any residual salt is rinsed off or removed with a damp cloth once you are back home, drying the feet afterwards. If avoidance of salt is impossible, consider the use of paw covers. Several companies make different types that are easy to put on, durable, and most pets accept them quite readily.