Walking Kia around the neighborhood track was always a joy. We followed the same course each day and she was a happy chow mix – until the day she stopped mid walk and began whining and crying, She held her paws up and would not continue walking. At first glance, I saw no cuts or injury. But after removing my gloves and inspecting closer, I noticed ice had formed on the hair between her toes and was causing her pain. I rubbed her feet until they thawed and we headed back home.
This winter much of the country has been experiencing record cold temperatures and snowfall. Many areas have seen temperatures drop to below zero with windchills at -25 to -40 degrees. This cold temperature is a danger to dogs and dog walkers.
Protecting a dog’s paws is essential in these conditions.
We all know that street salt can burn a dog’s pads and cause extreme pain. While pet-safe salt might be used on the driveway at a pet’s home, it can be hard to avoid on the street. When returning from a walk, sitters should thoroughly wash and dry a dog’s feet to remove the salt – protecting the paws and preventing the pet from licking and ingesting the salt.
A good solution to protect dog’s feet is to coat them with a paw wax in advance. The wax – similar to a petroleum jelly is a natural solution to keep dog paws soft and free of pain. There are several brands known as musher’s wax – invented for sled dogs in Canada.
Friends and customer’s introduced to the wax this year, report great success.
One customer reported having a problem this year because her dog Ellie was extremely sensitive to rock salt. Ellie was in pain on walks and didn’t want to go out.
“The Musher’s salve is fantastic!” she reports. “Works wonders. Is made of all natural wax. No need to wash it off; just wipe with a soft cloth. Ellie went nuts, ran like crazy and pooped a ton.”
Another customer, with a chihuahua found her pet did not want to go out this winter, until she started applying wax to her feet.
“It seems to help Poppins a lot. If I forget to put it on her, she starts to limp right away. If it is on, she leaps around and wants to stay out longer!” she said.
Dogs with longer hair between their toes, like Kia, should be groomed so the hair is clipped short to prevent ice build-up in this sensitive area.
The hair on feet should be kept even with the pads. Avoid cutting it too short or the fur won’t offer protection from the snow. To avoid trimming out too much hair, keep your scissors even with your dog’s pads and cut the hair that sticks out.