Protecting dog paws in winter – Dog News

Walking in snow and ice –
Paws need special protection from cold, grit and road salt

Wiesbaden. Most dogs – and that's over 80 percent – live with us in cities, almost a third even in large cities. In winter this means for the four-legged friends: They often have to travel on gritty roads when there is ice and snow. Whether Berlin or Buxtehude, their sensitive paws therefore require a lot of care on frosty days.

When the first white flakes fall, some dogs rush out, others prefer to stay in the warm room. “When going for a walk in winter, be sure to pay attention to whether your dog is shaking,” recommends Patrick Schwalm, chairman of the pet care specialist group at the Central Association of Zoological Specialist Companies (ZZF). “Small dogs with short fur and puppies in particular, as well as older or sick animals, freeze quickly.” When temperatures are low, Schwalm advises that dogs should not stay in the cold for too long. “Walk for shorter periods of time and walk more often instead of going for a long walk once a day.”

Avoid scattered areas if possible
What can be a problem for all four-legged friends in winter is road salt. “On the one hand, road salt can remove moisture from the paws and dry out the pads and, on the other hand, it can cause pain in already brittle pads,” explains Schwalm. “Even the smallest cracks in the skin can cause an unpleasant burning sensation if the road salt dissolved in the defrost water penetrates the pores of the bales.”

When walking the dog, walkways and streets that have been sprinkled with salt should be avoided. If these areas cannot be avoided, the bales should definitely be cared for additionally. Schwalm recommends washing the dissolved road salt off your paws with lukewarm water after your walk. “To remove grit, slowly run your fingers through the furry area between the dog’s toes.”

On long-haired dogs, the fur between the pads should be carefully trimmed regularly in winter using rounded scissors. “In this way, no clumps of snow and dirt stick to the hair, which can hinder your dog's running and cause inflammation,” explains Schwalm.

Apply lotion to paws carefully
After the foot bath, the pads should be dried thoroughly and treated with paw care to keep the skin nice and supple. If you want to prevent your dog from leaving greasy marks all over the house, you can use special products based on essential oils that are absorbed more quickly. Before going for a walk, very high-fat products provide additional protection. Owners can get advice from pet shops or dog salons about which care products are best suited to the needs of their four-legged friends.

In order to protect not only the paws of the four-legged friends, Schwalm points out another measure: “Make sure that your dog does not lick its paws that have come into contact with road salt at home and that it does not eat dirty snow when going for a walk.” Depending on whether and how heavily the snow is contaminated with road salt or grit, this can irritate the stomach lining. The consequences can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Especially in animals with sensitive stomachs, contaminated snow can lead to acute inflammation of the stomach lining, a so-called gastritis. If the dog shows one or more symptoms after the walk, a veterinarian should be consulted.

So that Bello & Co. can enjoy dog ​​walks in winter as carefree as possible, the ZZF appeals to residents and tenants to avoid road salt and use alternative gritting materials such as sand, gravel or ash. This protects dog paws – and the environment.

Photo: © WZF/Adobe Stock, Aleksandr Bryliaev