The Minnesota snow can be so much fun for our four-legged friends . . . Running in it . . . Digging a doggie snow-fort . . . and catching those pop-up snow balls!
But with that fun comes potential danger too . . .
De-icing products – These chemicals are dangerous for our pups, and can actually cause chemical burns on their paw pads and between their toes.
Another concern with de-icing products is ingestion. You may not think of it, but if your dog’s paws are dirty or wet, they will most likely lick them. As a result, they are ingesting hazardous chemicals than can cause potential gastrointestinal and neurologic problems.
Snowballs – If your dog has longer fur, you might notice snow or ice balls building up between his toes. Although it’s cute and picture worthy, this can be incredibly uncomfortable for your pal. His fur gets wrapped up in this snow, which eventually turns to ice. It pulls at his fur and can cause bruises if packed in too tightly.
Frost Bite – Frost bite is most likely to happen to those extremities that are furthest from the heart… tail, toes, ears, nose, privates. Frost bite is incredibly painful and can take several days to present itself.
Hypothermia – When dogs are outside in extreme cold for extended periods of time, they are susceptible to hypothermia. Toy breeds, breeds with short coats, puppies, and senior dogs are most at risk. However, any dog, if left outside too long, can be in danger. If your dog is shivering – it’s time to head indoors.
So... Here's how you can protect your "best friend"
Pet-friendly de-icing products – For your own sidewalks and driveways, use a pet friendly de-icer. There are multiple products that are safe for pets. You can also use sand or cat litter to help with slippery surfaces.
Paw Safety – there are a wide variety of dog boots out there. And although you think he may look silly, or walk a little funny, the tail wag is a thank you! You can also apply a layer of Bag Balm or Musher’s Secret. We love Musher’s Secret at our Minnesota dog boarding facility, Top Dog. The semi-permeable shield is absorbed into the paws, allowing perspiration to escape through the toes, and aids in protecting your dog’s paws from salt and chemicals, ice build-up, snowballing, sand, sand-burn, hot pavement, and rough terrain.
Coats – As mentioned, small breeds, shorthaired breeds, puppies and seniors are the ones that will likely need coats, but also sick dogs, or dogs that are new to the climate (maybe recently relocated). Look for a coat that covers those areas without a lot of fur like the belly. There are so many cute coats and sweaters available – you could have a different one every day!