Archive for December, 2008

Protect Your Dog's Paws

Now that winter is here, remember that street salt gets wedged between pads of dogs, and it stings, and the colder it is outside, the more it stings. Dogs can also get stomach ailments by licking the salt off their paws.

If there's snow, little ice balls form with the salt between your pet's pads...which has to feel something like walking with marbles between your toes. Prevent  this by wiping the paws with Vaseline or applying PAM cooking spray, before you let the dog out. However, a better answer is dog booties. Among toy breed dogs, keeping warm is an issue, too, and booties can help. But you can't just stick booties on a dog and expect him to like it --or even to walk in them. Begin the bootie experience by making it a fun one. Offer treats while putting just one bootie on indoors. Let your dog eat a meal or play a game wearing one bootie. Day by day add another bootie until all four paws are covered. Then take the bootie games outdoors.
The biggest issue with some booties is that they can easily fall off as dogs step into snow drifts. Their feet come out, but the booties get trapped in the snow. In general, booties attached with Velcro straps stay on the paws better than those that are tied . Different booties fit different dogs differently. If  the booties seem like they're going to fall off when your dog wears them indoors, there's no way they'll stay on outside. If your dog is seriously chewing at the booties, talk with a dog trainer or resign yourself to the fact that your dog is one of the few that just won't tolerate them. (In that case, make sure to wash your dog's feet thoroughly with warm water whenever you come in from a winter walk.) In general, once they become acclimated to them, most dogs seem to actually appreciate the booties ..... even macho dogs.