Winter in the city may look idyllic, but between the snow, ice, and salt, our dog’s paws are bound to take a beating when it gets cold. The ice-melt used on New York streets is dangerous for our dogs. The salt can cause a chemical burn, and it’s totally unsafe for them to ingest.
There are a few ways that we can protect (and even heal) their feet from the icy tundra that awaits us outdoors.
The Best Booties
Boots not only keep their paws warm, but they also provide the ultimate barrier between their paws and the pavement.
Boots make it easy. No contact with the salt, no paws to wipe-off when you get home, plus they provide traction on slippery sidewalks.
The drawback to boots is that they can be hard to figure out the sizing for, so check out this video for tips on how to get the right fit.
First thing, finding the right boots. The best boots are easy to get on, but not easy for your dog to get off.
Put the booties on last and immediately head out for your walk. No standing around means no time for them to try and get the shoe off. If they refuse to move, practice in your apartment. Get the boots on, create a gingerbread crumb trail of treats from one end of the room to the other, and get them going. They’ll quickly get used to their boots, and after a week the boots will be just another part of the pre-walk routine.
You’ve got your skincare routine on lock, but what about your dog? Since we live in a true concrete jungle, their paws are hitting hard, cold, and icy pavement every time they go outside. Those paws need a little extra love!
Some balms are formulated to provide a protective layer while others heal and soothe. My advice? If booties are an absolute no-go, use both.
Before your walk, use:
Pro-tip, most of the waxes come in a dip pot style. Rather than scooping goop, stick your dog’s paw right on top and twist the container for mess-free coverage.
When you get back, wipe their paws completely clean and finish their paws (and nose!) off with these:
Please, Wipe Your Paws
Keeping a towel by the door makes it so much easier to wipe off their paws before they track anything through the apartment. You can even train your dog to wipe their paws themselves! Be sure to check between their toes for any ice and salt.
If your dog is not comfortable with anyone touching their legs (or paws), do some dry runs while distracting them with their favorite toy or chewy treat.
Nothing burns like the cold…
The snow makes the whole city slow down. We can’t walk nearly as quickly, the snow provides a sound buffer to make this whole place a little more peaceful, and when the wind isn’t whipping in our face it’s easy to remember why we choose to live somewhere with all four seasons.
Winter may not have been our favorite season for long walks, but with the right accessories we can be ready for whatever, no matter the weather.