We are all happy to see the "thaw" after a spell of extreme cold or snow, especially since it makes walking our dogs easier. However, the dangers that were once hidden by the snow are still there, especially salt and antifreeze chemicals.
Salt not only is harsh on your dog's paws due to the corrosive nature of the industrial salt that gets dumped on streets by cities, but also because dogs also often lick their paws after being outside. Licking this salt means they are ingesting the ice melt chemicals, which can be toxic.
3 Steps To Protection:
1. Protect from the get-go. You can also train your dog to wear booties that will protect his paws from other dangers like ice or sharp rocks. If your dog will absolutely not tolerate booties, using a product like Musher's Secret to protect your dog's sensitive paws can keep them protected during walks. This prevents ice and salt buildup and keeps your dog more comfortable. You can also make your own paw balm. Click here for a recipe.
2. Wipe paws after walks. Some dogs don't like tolerating this, but distract them with a favorite treat or toy and do your best to remove the salt, antifreeze, and ice buildup with a warm wet towel.
3. Soothe tender feet. If your dog is already feeling the effects of a walk on salty roads, petroleum jelly has been known to be a good non-toxic salve to soothe pain. If there are open cuts or sores, a trip to your vet is required.
Click here for other tips to consider while walking your dog in the winter!
Sources: The Dodo, AKC