The cold of winter affects our canine companions too, especially their paws. Here are a couple of recommendations to keep them cozy when the mercury drops.
Acclimation is key:
If you take your furry friend for a daily morning walk here in Reno, then the gradual temperature change should allow Fido to get accustomed to the colder temperatures. But if you just moved to our biggest-little four-seasoned city from a tropical climate such as Florida, then you might want to start with shorter, more frequent walks in the cold until their paws get used to the snow and ice.
Keep away from salt:
It is hard to know which product is used on everyone's sidewalks/asphalt to determine whether or not it is pet-friendly. Use a damp rag when you get home to wipe off Fido's paws so their tongues don't have to do the work and possibly expose them to chemicals.
Consider paw booties:
There are normal individual differences in paw tolerances. If your pooch's paws seem to be extra temperature sensitive or easily get red after prancing around in the snow, then consider trying dog booties. There are a lot of different manufacturers and just like shoes in people you will want to try some out and see how it goes. Dr. Rasmusson's dog Pacino never seemed to be able to be desensitized to booties, while Dr. Martini's dog Vinny does really well with his MuttLuks (https://muttluks.com/)
After a romp in the snow, some dogs will use their mouth to pull out snowballs stuck in the fur between their toes - which is fine, as long as they are chewing on the snow and not on their paws! Dogs with a lot of fur between their toes can get quite uncomfortable if the snow is the right consistency and "balls up". Products like Mushers secret (http://www.musherssecret.net/) can aid in protecting the paw pads and decreasing snow build up. If Fido over licks, they can irritate their own skin/paw pads which leads to inflammation/soreness. Remember some is OK, but a lot of licking can be detrimental.
The doctors and staff of SWVH wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season! Don't hesitate to call or email with any
questions or concerns.