Caring for Your Pup’s Paws in the Winter

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is everything that you should know about maintain a dog's paws in the winter. Learn how to clean snow effectively and how to avoid industrial salt.

Winter can be a challenging time for your dog and his paws.

Dogs love playing outside in the snow, jumping and hiding, but caring snow and ice on their paws is far from ideal winter.

Earlier, dogs didn’t have so many issues with paws, because people were mostly living in the countryside and the road in the cities was made out of the dirt.

However, all of that changed, and the majority of people is located in the big cities, which means that dogs had to adapt to a number of different rules, environment, and obstacles.

One of many obstacles is industrial-grade road salt tossed on streets and sidewalks.

This can be pure hell to your dog’s paws and lead to harmful moments.

Yes, salt is mandatory during the winter and keeps cars and boots safely on the ground, but it doesn’t mean that melting ice cant harm animals or even be toxic for plant life.

Depending on where you live, so-called rock salt is often mixed with various chemicals and sand to melt snow and ice and create a clean path for vehicles and people. However, for dogs walking those same streets can be terrible and so far from pleasant.

Most ice-melt products are strong skin irritant for dogs. Depending on the materials used, the chemicals can cause dryness, cracking, and in some cases, can even burn a dog’s pads.

Wintertime and Dogs

During the wintertime, your dog’s paws are at risk if you don’t know how to protect them. It’s important to protect the dog’s paws as they don’t have natural protection against external factors, such as chemicals.

Humans wear shoes, but dogs only have their paws, so they don’t have the same protection as we do. Luckily, there are several ways to protect a dog’s paws this winter. Make sure that you through this list below and supply them with these mandatory dog’s winter gear.


You can love them or hate them, but you cannot be denied that booties are a great tool when it comes to your dog’s health. Moreover, booties are a great way to keep a dog’s paws covered during the winter months.

Not every breed is intended to withstand cold weather, so booties can help tremendously. They offer warmth, full coverage, and on top of that, they are durable.

The most tricky part about booties is finding the right size. How to determine the right size? Always measure from the heel to the tip of the toenail.

Paw Balm

Before you run to the pet store and ask for the best paw balm, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian first.

He or she might even advise you to shop for a human cream that might serve as first-aid or address you to the most productive paw balm that will deliver the best results.

Paw balm will minimize the dry skin and damage salt can cause. The trick to get the most from paw balm is to reapply the balm after returning from walks.

Paw balm is a great way to keep paws soft and supple during the winter months. Various paw balms can be found at the pet store or even at your veterinarian’s office.

If you choose to try a DIY recipe, make sure that it’s 100% dog-friendly, and again – check how safe it is with your veterinarian.


You are probably already familiar with a proper after-walk routine. Cleaning your dog’s paws after every walk is mandatory, especially if it’s a rainy day.

To get your dog used to paws cleaning, you should start this practice while he is a puppy.

You can use napkins, but most money-wise is to keep a towel on hand and wash it once a week.

During the winter days, you should have at least two towels at hand, one for paws and the second one for drying the rest of the body. Wipe down paws after the walk.

This will minimize any damage ice, salt, or other residues he may have stepped on during his regular daily walk.

If you are still worried about salt, dip each paw in a bucket of lukewarm water and then towel dry.

Keep Walks Short

You may love a long walk or hike with your dog, but during the winter days, you should re-think this routine.

During the extremely cold days, it’s best to keep walks short. Being out in the cold too long is dangerous and can eventually lead to frostbite.

How to know when it’s too cold for your dog? It’s simple: if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog as well. Think about putting him in a coat or jacket, especially if you have Greyhound or any other breeds who can’t deal with harsh weather on his own.

Pick A New Path

If you have a very energetic dog, the chances are that they will need longer walks during the winter as well.

If so, make sure that you provide your dog with a coat and not to go out when it’s too cold.

You might think about a new path and changing your walking route in winter.

Try going the distance and exploring more independent routes, deeper into nature, or new parks far from the street.

Try to find places where the rock has not been used. Always aim to find a park or field where you and your dog will enjoy pure and soft snow.

Wash Off While Walking

You will clean the dog’s paws once you are home, but washing off while walking should be an option. It’s a good idea to carry a towel along and wash the paws off while walking.

This way, you will easily wipe ice, snow, and salt off paws, and beely anytime it’s necessary. This simple move can make cleaning paws and belly at home fair easier.

Be careful: some dogs may try to lick the salt off their paws once they are home.

Since the majority of ice melter contain chemicals that can cause diarrhea, nausea, drooling, and vomiting.

Excessive intake can lead to seizures, liver damage, and in some rare cases, death.

Give Him More To Eat And Drink

It takes extra energy to keep your dog warm during the winter. When the weather is too hot or too cold, your dog can easily dehydrate.

Give him to eat a bit more if the veterinarian agrees with it and always provide fresh water in the house and on the go.

If you have to leave your dog in a boarding facility for a few days because you have to travel, make sure that you place him at an indoor doggy daycare with a climate-controlled playroom that provides a safe and sanitary rubberized floor surface.

Are Pet-Friendly Ice Melts Really Pet-Friendly?

In some states, pet*-friendly ice melts are commonly used and as promoted as such. However, pet-friendly breeding isn’t necessarily true.

So far, there is no regulation of what constitutes pet-friendly de-icing agents, so even the products can contain ingredients similar to most traditional ones. They won’t necessarily hurt your dog, but there is a possibility for it, so better stay on the roads.

What You Should Do

Takignyoru dog our during the winter? Outfit your dog properly, apply protective wax on his paws or have booties on, eeping salt off.

Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and free of stray hairs in keeping salt particles from getting stuck between paw pads.

Keep your dog from licking his paws to stop him from ingesting any hazardous chemicals.