Did you know that soreness, drying, cracking and even chemical burns are common paw injuries during the winter? By no means should you cancel your next winter walk. Rather, make sure you understand the greatest winter paw hazards and consider getting your pup one of these popular paw protectors for your next cold weather adventure.
Our favorite dog boots for Django are PawZ by Top Paw. They also happen to be a #1 selling paw protector on Amazon. Although the protect itself is not particularly sophisticated - PawZ are simply tight rubber balloons that you pull over your dog's paws - the booties never fall off and are effective in preventing snow, sidewalk salt, and ice balls from getting stuck in paws. Django loves sprinting through the snow and somehow his little red PawZ stay on his feet, even after an hour of playing and running around. One caveat - because PawZ are thin, non-insulated rubber booties, they will not provide full protection from extreme cold. PawZ are available on Amazon and at most major retailers (i.e. Petco, PetSmart).
For your reference, Django has 2 inch wide paws and wears size small. Django's PawZ are snug and somewhat annoying to get on, but once in position the booties perfectly well. Django doesn't seem to mind wearing them at all and, most importantly, his little feet are protected fully from the winter elements.
My Busy Dog's trail shoes are thicker and more durable than PawZ by Top Paw . While we personally prefer PawZ for their simplicity, especially when going on short city walks or playing for a short time in the snow, My Busy Dog's booties are more appropriate for rugged winter adventures. The waterproof anti-slip provides traction on slippery or uneven surfaces, and the thin velcro strap ensures the boot stays on your pups paws. A range of sizes for small and large dogs are available on Amazon.
If your dog refuses to wear boots outside, consider a wax-based paw balm. By far the most popular product for winter adventures is Musher’s Secret Paw Balm - the customer reviews are stellar and plentiful. Once a thin layer is applied, this wax-based cream will protect paws from snow, salt and ice. The balm also contains Vitamin E to help soothe dry paws during brittle winter months.
Rock salt easily gets lodged between dogs’ toes and can cause irritation, dryness, cracking and even chemical burns after prolonged contact. Dogs that lick rock salt off of their paws can experience oral irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort. Greater consumption can result in dehydration, pancreatitis and even liver failure.
Ice is easily trapped in paws, particularly if the dog has hairy feet. Dogs that lick at these ice balls may ingest rock salt or other harmful ice-melting chemicals.
Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can cause damage to skin and tissue (frostbite). Paws, ears and extremities are at most risk of frostbite, and wet dogs can develop frostbite and hypothermia at alarmingly high rates.
Above: Django at 5 months playing in the snow (and wearing his PawZ booties) in Brooklyn, New York
Do you have other recommendations for high quality dog boots or paw protectors? Leave us a comment below!
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