Winter care for your dog’s paws and skin

here is no denying that winters in Canada can be harsh for both you and your furry friends. For dogs, exposure to the cold air and snow can cause dry, itchy skin, cracked paws or discomfort during dog walks. Extra care should be taken to ensure paws are kept clean from ice-melting chemicals, which can be harmful if left on the skin or ingested. 

Luckily there are a few products, as well as steps you can take to provide care and relief for your pup’s irritated paws and skin this winter. 

Winter grooming 

If your dog has long hair, trim the hair between the paw pads and around the paws. This  will help prevent painful ice balls from forming on your dog’s paws, reduce the amount of road salt and de-icing chemicals that are picked up, and make it easier for you to clean and apply moisturizing balm to your dog’s paws after your walks. 

Don’t forget to keep your dog’s nails trimmed all year round, including the winter. Long nails tend to splay your dog’s paws while walking, making it easier for irritants to get between paw pads. 

As for your dog’s skin, brushing your dog’s coat on a regular basis will help get rid of dead hair, distribute natural oils throughout the coat, and help invigorate the skin. 

Keep paws clean 

Thoroughly wash and dry your dog’s paws after going on a walk, including  the area between their toes. This removes any de-icing chemicals that may be on your dog’s paws. Use this opportunity to inspect their paws for any cracks or redness. Once the paw is clean, you can apply a paw balm or petroleum jelly to sooth any irritation or treat dryness. Avoid using moisturizers made for humans, since this can soften paws and leave them vulnerable to injury. 


Being exposed to cold, wet weather followed by warm, dry air inside your house can cause your dog to develop itchy, flakey skin. If dry skin is a problem with your dog, consider getting a humidifier to control the humidity in your house. 

Fewer baths 

While it’s important to keep your dog’s feet clean, try to avoid bathing them too often in the winter. Frequent washing removes essential oils, which can dry out your dog’s skin. If you must wash your dog in the winter months, ask your vet for recommendations on a gentle moisturizing shampoo. 

Paw protectors 

Dog boots can help minimize contact between your dog’s feet and harmful chemicals. Another option is to use paw balm or petroleum jelly to create a protective layer on your dog’s paw pads. You should still wash your dog’s paws afterwards to make sure your pooch doesn’t accidentally lick any chemicals left on their paws. Watch our video for tips on fitting your dog for winter boots. 

By minimizing the impact cold weather and icy conditions can have on your dog, it will be a safer, more enjoyable season for everyone! 




The post Winter care for your dog’s paws and skin appeared first on Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

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