5 Ways to Protect Your Pets Feet in the Snow & Cold Weather

During the winter, we go to extreme lengths to keep warm and cozy; and unless you have a polar bear as a pet, you should definitely do the same for your little pals. Like us, animals such as cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite which can greatly affect their feet. Those with underlining illnesses are even more at risk as they may find it harder to regulate their body temperature. To prevent the worsening of medical conditions, and keep your little friends comfortable and happy, let’s start with the extremities, pay attention to the following tips below to protect their feet.

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1. Try to Keep Them Inside in Extreme Temperatures

Keeping your companions inside during the cold weather is perhaps the best way to keep their feet safe. If left outdoors for a long period of time, pets can develop hypothermia, frostbite and can even freeze to death. Additionally, you should find different ways and activities to make inside more exciting for them, so they won’t miss the great outdoors as much.

2. Let Furry Pets be Furry!

If you have a little furry friend, refrain from trimming their paws in the winter. Never shave them down completely, as this not only causes internal health issues, but also tremendously dries out their skin and paw pads. Leaving their furry feet for few months will help to prevent cold weather injuries such as cracked paw pads, itchy paws and bleeding.

3. Cover Their Feet

If it is an absolute must to take your pets for a walk outside, it is best to get a winter outfit that covers from their neck to their feet; especially for animals with little or no fur. Allowing your pets to wear a coat or sweater with booties, can prevent harm and irritation to their feet and skin, caused by rock salt and other snow melting chemicals. Also ensure you have several coats or sweater and booties, so you can use a dry one each time they are exposed to snow, as wet ones can actually make the colder. 

4. Use Pet-friendly Ice Melts

Ice melts, though very helpful in the winter, can be extremely dangerous to animals. If ingested, your pet may become very ill and develop gastrointestinal signs, like vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, it is very hazardous to your pawed pet’s skin and feet. Prolonged exposure to such chemicals, may cause your pet to develop chemical burns and extreme irritation on their skin and feet, even if it is simply rock salt. Wherever possible, you should opt to use pet-friendly ice melts instead.

5. Treat and Prevent Paw Irritation

How adorable do those paws look?!  At the end of a cold day, check your pet’s feet for signs of cold-weather injuries, and ensure that no salt or ice is lodged between their toes causing irritation. Petroleum jelly or other paw protectants can prevent and reduce paw irritation when massaged into paw pads. Do this before going outdoors as it adds an extra protective barrier to their feet, and after coming indoors, as it restores moisture. Additionally, wipe all their paws with a damp towel when returning indoors.