Us humans have the luxury of wearing shoes which protects our feet from hot asphalt, sharp, freezing ice and snow, rocks or glass and even stinging insects.
But our dogs walk everywhere bare-pawed, putting their feet at risk for injuries.
So how can you help protect your pooch’s paws from the seasonal elements?
I’m a Veterinary Technician of over ten years and I’ve gotten this question a lot from owners, especially during the hot summer months and freezing winters of Indiana.
So, if you’re looking for tips to keep your dog’s paws safe, then keep reading to find out!
By Allison Salonko.
Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.
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Protecting Their Paws: The 4 Seasons
Each season comes with its own unique set of potential problems when it comes to pets – especially their paws.
Here is a breakdown of each season, the risk they pose to your dog’s feet and how you can protect them.
Spring usually brings a lot of rain, which means the areas that you and your dog walk will probably have puddles of water or mud to encounter at some point.
When your dog’s paws stay moist, the pads get a little softer, making them more susceptible to cuts and scrapes.
Allergies are another issue associated with spring, and many dogs are plagued by them.
Usually, symptoms of allergies start with their paws, manifesting in the form of them licking, chewing or biting their feet until they are red.
A way to avoid injuries to their paws during the spring season is to provide your companion with protective doggie footwear.
Your dog may not love them at first, but they should get used to them over time.
When it comes to allergies, you can wipe their paws off with a damp washcloth after they have been on the grass.
This will remove any topical allergens they have picked up in the yard.
I also like to recommend purchasing or making your own paw balm for your dog’s feet.
Its protective oils and wax will keep your dogs paws shielded and moisturized, ready to hit the road for their next adventure!
What Is Paw Balm??
Paw balm is a commonly recommended topical substance that can be applied to a dog’s paw pads. It is non-toxic and completely healthy!
Most paw balms are made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, vitamin E and beeswax.
Even better, you can make your own paw balm at home with less than 5 ingredients!
If you’re not feeling crafty, you can also purchase them online or at pet stores.
A popular and well-loved brand is called Mushers, used to protect the paw pads of active and running sled dogs in the frigid winters of Alaska.
Summer brings the risk of hot asphalt, broken glass and insect stings.
I have seen a few asphalt burns and it is always disappointing as it could have been so preventable.
Hot asphalt on a day above 90℉ can reach temperatures from 120-150℉!
The best thing to do is to avoid walking your dog on the black top, sticking to the grass is totally fine.
I also recommend only walking them during the cooler times of the day like the very early morning or late evening.
Glass and sharp objects can be commonly found on the ground thanks to litterbugs.
Bare dog paws are at risk of stepping on these dangerous shards, lacerating their pads and sending them to the emergency vet.
If you are walking in an area that you think they could possibly step on something sharp, then providing them with some protective booties should prevent injury.
Paw balm is also an excellent option for moisturizing and protecting your dog’s paws during the hot summer months.
It will help with the warm sidewalks and protect them from the elements in general.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year with falling leaves, changing smells and cooling temperatures.
When it comes to this season, the risks are similar to spring.
Most owners should worry about continuous moisture and environmental irritants.
I recommend wiping their paws frequently and checking them for any wounds, redness and inflammation.
Paw balm would be a nice application after your dog’s feet have dried after a walk and they are needing some rejuvenation.
The winter season seems to pose the most risk to your dog’s paw pads.
The bitter cold snow, sharp ice, and salt chemicals on the ground are all a danger and can potentially cause injury and irritation to their feet.
Wearing protective booties will help to keep their paws safe from all of these potential dangers, so by default these are the best overall option for the winter season.
Your dog may not be the biggest fan of wearing shoes but they should get used to them over time!
Paw balm would be great for your dog’s feet, especially before and after a walk.
Its protective oils and hydrating formula will keep their feet from cracking after walking on the cold, icy ground.
In general, paw balm is great for all seasons!
So How To Protect Your Dog’s Paws?
Checking your dog’s feet often is one of the best ways to protect them.
As long as everything looks good, they should be ready to go for another adventure!
If you’re wanting to prevent injury or simply prepare for the season, then following these steps should be a big help.