Says Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine, “During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to minimize their furry friends' exposure to such agents.”
To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws and skin, please heed the following advice from our experts:
coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin.
Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes
inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes.
long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals
and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t neglect the hair
between the toes!)
- Bring a towel on long walks to
clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your
pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw
pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your pets as
little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove
essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If
your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing
shampoo and/or rinse.
- Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.
help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze
and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and
salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation. Use
pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from
salt and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off
helps to heal chapped paws.
- Brushing your pet regularly
not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation,
improving the skin’s overall condition.
- Pets burn extra
energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing
dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather
and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her
well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.
- Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops.