- Cracked or sore foot pads, blisters, and infections;
- Snow (especially wet) clung to long haired dogs, creating slumps of ice, often mixed with rock, salt and gravel, making the walking hurt (when under the paws) or uncomfortable (when on the leg's fur);
- Intoxication due to de-icing chemicals, rocks and other minerals.
- Sore foot pads and other related problems are usually caused by sensitivity to cold. Two viable solutions are applying Vaseline or Bag Palm on pads, and considering buying doggy boots for your friend.
- To the snow clung, do as I did intuitively: a) always wash your friend's paws after outdoor plays, taking care of leaving no traces of salt and other residues, even if there's no apparent crack or other problem; b) trim their nails (long nails make toes spread apart when walking, leaving more room for ice to build up); c) cut the long fur between the toes so that it's even with the pads; and d) trim the fur in the back of their legs;
- To prevent intoxication, do not let your friend crew away lumps of ice and snow sticking to the paws or hanging from the fur, and don't let it lick the paws before you wash them up, as the rock, salt and chemical products can have toxic effect. If your dog shows any sign of problem, take it to the veterinary right away.
1. Keep your dog inside. Outdoors, dogs can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Dogs who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other dogs and wildlife.
2. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
3. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
4. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
5. Never leave your dog alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
6. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
7. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him and his fur in tip-top shape.
8. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
9. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.