By: Julia Downey

The winter season brings upon us many changes each year, some that are good and some that are not. The change of the season affects us all but what many don’t realize is that it affects our pets as well. One of the many hazards of winter that plague our pets that we may not think about but use regularly is road salt. Road salt is used on any given winter’s day to allow the ice that builds up around our homes and neighborhoods to melt. This salt is very irritating to our pet’s feet, causing their pads to dry out, burn and can lead to possible ingestion.

Even though the best solution to this problem is avoiding salted areas, it is not always feasible to avoid roadways and sidewalks with the evenings becoming dark so quickly. Luckily, there are other options that we have for prevention. There are many styles of booties that dogs can wear outside to prevent their feet from coming in contact with the salt. These booties fasten above the pads with Velcro and have textured bottoms for grip while walking.

There is also balm for the pads that is applied before going outside that will act as a moisture barrier to prevent pads from drying out. The balm can also be used on a regular basis as a moisturizer for pads that are drier than normal.

Washing your dog’s feet is a very important part of winter as well. Upon returning inside you should wash their feet very well with warm (not hot) water to remove all the salt and other material so it does not cause irritation or lead to possible ingestion from licking it off.