January Grooming Tip of the Month: Winter Paw Care

by Claudia Loomis

Paws need extra care during the winter months. Dog's paws are especially susceptible to becoming dry and cracked because of frequent trips out in the cold, encountering wet or frozen ground, then returning to a nicely heated house. The use of paw balms such as Musher's Secret Paw Wax, Blissful Dog Paw Butter or even Tomlyn Protecta-Pad Cream helps to protect the pads and keep them supple.

It is also important to trim the hair between the pads so that the pads make clean contact with the ground for better traction. In addition, trimming the hair between the toes helps prevent the formation of snow and ice balls between the toes, which can make walking painful and cause irritation to the paws. Keeping the fur trimmed between the paws also helps keep them from becoming a collection site for road salt, sand and de-icers

As always, it is important to keep your dog's nails properly trimmed. Long nails strain the tendons in the foot making it painful to walk on sidewalks and roads as well as making it difficult for pets to get good traction. Long nails also cause the pads to splay, or spread apart, allowing snow and ice balls to form more easily between the pads.

Dog boots are a good way to keep salt and snow off your pets paws and can go a long way in preventing damage to the paws caused by the elements. There are several types of boots available. Fleece boots are very soft and may be more comfortable for your pet to wear. There are also disposable boots and traditional winter boots that cover the paws.

If you are interested in keeping your pet’s legs clean and dry there are also long versions of a waterproof nylon boot that extend up past your dog’s patella (knee). Ultra Paws Ultra Leg Wraps are available at www.cherrybrook.com and in our stores. These are particularly great for dogs with white legs.