Some people love it, some people hate it, but the reality of winter for most people means snow. Snow and freezing temperatures bring fun games outside and also new situations to be aware of when it comes to your furry family.
Keep Their Paws in Good Shape
One of those situations is raw and cracked paws. Y'know in winter, when your hands get really dry and sometimes start to crack? That happens with your pets' paws too! Since their paws are constantly in contact with anything from a cold ground to freezing ice and snow, they receive the brunt of the weather.
There are several things you can do to save their tender paws:
1) Buy them booties! Ever seen those funny videos of dogs wearing shoes? They're good for more than just Facebook videos. They will provide protection against the cold and salt that could irritate the pads on your dog's feet. Find great options for dog booties from Ruffwear and fur lined booties from PawRoll. Want booties for your adventurous cat? Find some great cat/small dog bootie options at Amazon.
2) Give them a warm paw bath! One of the main things that irritates paws is the salt used to de-ice the roads and sidewalks. To ensure that your doggy's (or kitty's) contact with the ice and salt combo doesn't irritate the pads on their paws, rinse their paws after a walk or when they come in from a potty break. Having a bowl of water and a towel near the door is a quick way to rinse and dry paws right when your furry fam comes back inside. (TIP: the Paw Cleaner Cup does all the paw-washing for you without the hassle!)
3) Keep your fur ball indoors and warm during the cold and frigid weather. The rule of thumb is, if it's too cold for you to be outside, then it will be too cold for your doggie or kittie to be outside too! Don't be surprised if you see your furry pal all cuddled up on the floor, near the heat vent of the warmest spot in the house!
Beware that Sneaky Ice
Ice is a sneaky danger that you have to watch out for, both for yourself and your pets. One wrong step and you could land on your butt, hopefully injuring only your dignity and nothing more serious. This also applies to your dogs and cats. Dogs with hip dysplasia or brittle bones are especially susceptible to injuring themselves if they slip on ice.
If you can avoid the ice patches, walking around them is a good idea. If you have to step on the ice, keep your weight directly over your feet at all times to minimize slipping and be aware of your dog's (or cat's!) balance as well.
PRO TIP: Snow booties can also help increase your dog or cat's traction on slippery ground!
Don't Eat the Blue (or Yellow) Snow
Another thing to be aware of during the winter months is antifreeze. Antifreeze is very handy for your car and to have around the house, but it can be deadly for your pets. Antifreeze tastes sweet (don't try it at home!), but is poisonous to both humans and animals.
Make sure if you have antifreeze in your house or garage, the container is closed up tight and is out of reach of mischievous fur babies. Antifreeze can also leak out of cars and onto the ground outside, so be aware when you're walking outside of any puddles of brightly colored liquids (usually blue and green).
Yellow snow doesn't count, that's probably dog pee!
Need More Tips?
10 Winter Safety Tips for Dog Owners by AKC
Cold Weather Safety Tips by the ASPCA
Cold Weather Animal Safety at the AVMA
6 Winter Safety Tips for Dogs in Snow at PURINA