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Brrrr…It’s January and that means frigid temperatures. It’s important that you check your dog’s paws regularly for cracked or bleeding pads, signs of cold weather injury or damage.

If your dog is limping or favoring one foot over another it could be a result of buildup of ice between your dog’s toes. Make sure you keep the hair between the toes clipped to reduce the chances of ice ball accumulation.

While walking your dog, their feet, legs and underbelly may collect deicers, antifreeze or other toxic chemicals. When you get home, wipe down or wash your dog’s feet, legs and underbelly to remove chemicals and reduce the chance that your dog will get sick from licking.

 

How to Treat Cracked Paw Pads

If you’ve noticed signs of weather injury or damage to your dog’s paws, it’s important to get to the vet. However, if getting to the vet isn’t possible, use a clean cloth that’s been soaked in warm water to wash the wound. Be sure to wring out most of the water and gently set it on your dog’s paw. The moisture and warmth will help soften the paw pad, making is easier for surface debris to be cleaned. After you’ve gently soaked and rinsed the paw, let the paw air out. You can protect the paw using a clean sock secured with tape. Be sure not to apply the tape too tightly because it can cut off your dog’s circulation and cause their leg to swell.

Schedule a visit to your vet sooner than later to follow up.

 

Preventative Measures You Can Take

  1. Check paws daily, especially in cold and icy weather.
  2. Keep your dog’s nails and hair between the toes clipped.
  3. Apply a pet balm or paw protection wax. Be sure it’s safe for ingestion in case your dog licks their paws.
  4. Consider using booties when your dog goes outside.
  5. Use pet-safe de-icers, available at most pet stores.

 

 

Pet MD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-care-your-dogs-cracked-and-dry-paws (accessed Jan. 8, 2019)