We're taking the weekend off, so here is our weekly Sunday Dog feature on Thursday! One way to protect your dog's paws is a good pair of dog boots. We use Pawz for Poppy.
While footwear certainly can help shield those paws from salted walkways, there are other alternatives. It looks like the dog in this photo has boots in this style.
Sometimes we forget that the city has dumped an unreasonable amount of salt on the streets that will sit there for months. Then we have to take other measures to ensure that Poppy does not have sore feet or get sick from the salt.
A Good Rinse
For any barefoot walker, rinsing salt off paws when you reach home is a good habit. Jake Tedaldi, DVM, author of “What’s Wrong with My Dog?” and founder of Vetcall.com, recommends rinsing, “... because the various forms of ice-melting salt can be quite irritating to dogs’ paws, causing them to lick and/or chew those paws to relieve the irritation.”
He went on to explain when that irritation may be a more serious matter, “Excessive licking/chewing of the paws, pads or toes, or swelling, redness or bleeding from any part of the paws would be good reason to seek a veterinarian’s advice.”
Not only will your dog’s feet stay healthier, but your home will also stay cleaner. You’ll be amazed at how much salt and sand you’ll find hiding in those furry feet.
Wax Those Paws
Waxes, like Musher’s Secret, are a popular alternative to foot coverings. The company calls their product, “the invisible boot.” Dr. Jake says, “Musher’s Secret is quite safe to put on your dogs’ pads. It is designed to serve as a barrier to protect dogs’ paws from harsh materials, including road salt and other chemicals that might be either abrasive to or absorbed by dogs’ paws.”
One More Step
Ask your building management, condo association, and neighbors to use sand in place of chemicals or to choose paw-safe chemicals if they are going to use ice melt. Explain that harsh chemicals not only hurt dogs, but will also damage sidewalks, fences, plants, and trees.
Ice melts can also make your dog sick. “Salt and other ice-melting chemicals can be harsh on a dog’s stomach and entire digestive tract," said Dr. Jake. "Inappetence [loss of appetite], vomiting, regurgitation, diarrhea, or simply overall weakness, and lethargy could be symptoms brought on by ingestion of such substances.”
With more nasty weather ahead, make your paw protection plan and prep your pup for a healthy rest-of-the-winter.
Words: From Penny's "City Paws" column
Photography: © 2016 Penny Cherubino