Winter is here along with all the challenges of dealing with snow and ice.  And for many of our furry friends – being out in the snow is FUN!!  They want to run and play and roll in the snow  — until they often look more like a walking snowman then the wonderful furry friend you want in your house.

So what do you do when ice or snow attaches to your pets fur and paws?  The snow can accumulate in their fur and under their paws form very hard ice or snow balls.

When your dog leaves your nice warm house and goes outside into the cold and snow – even for a short time – ice or snow balls readily attach and form on the dog’s fur and paws.  Part of the reason is because your dog has sweat glands in his toes.  This makes an ideal environment for moisture to quickly form into balls of ice.

Obviously, if your dog is only outside for a few minutes, you will just need to remove a relatively small amount of snow from your dog’s fur when your pooch comes back inside.  But if your fury friend is out for a longer period, there can be a lot of snow all over your dog.  And ice balls can form on his feet that can be very uncomfortable or even cut or bruise your pets foot pads.

Things You Can Do

Start by grooming your dog’s feet and removing any extra fur on the bottom of his feet and between his toes/pads. The ice and snow wont stick to his pads.  So if you have eliminated the fur that grabs and holds the snow – you have made great progress towards eliminating the problem.

Most dog groomers clip the fur between your pets’ toes but you can certainly “trim” it yourself with a small pair of scissors (round tipped) or a pet grooming tool as needed.

If your dog is not necessarily a “willing participant” in having his feet clipped, you might have better success if you can have someone who can help you, and have a supply of tasty “treats” readily available for your pooch.  It is amazing how fast a dog will realize that YOU touching his paw = a tasty treat!!!  Start slow, and get your pet used to having you touch is paws in exchange for a treat…

Another way to help prevent the ice and snow from attaching to your dogs’ feet is to apply a thin layer of olive oil or salve to your pets paws as they are venturing out. A little bit of olive oil, coconut oil, spray cooking oil, or even a more exotic salve that is made specifically for that purpose, will help.

It is helpful to “think it through” and apply the product either OUTSIDE the door, or have a towel, etc available for your dog to step on as he goes outside (as well as when he comes back in). The idea is to protect your dogs paws from the snow – not have greasy prints on your kitchen floor!

So now you have done everything you can to PREVENT or minimize the problem.  But what can you do when your dog is ready to come back inside after being outside in the snow. The snow and ice is not going to just fall off – it has to melt!.

You can help remove some if it with your fingers and a towel. Sometimes a little warm olive oil on your fingers will help loosen the ice from the fur.

Using a hair dryer on a low setting, and drying your pet’s fur with a towel as the snow and ice melts will tackle most of the bigger issues.

Another option is to wash your pets feet in warm water.  This is a great solution anytime your dog has walked on surfaces with salt or ice melting chemicals.

Of course, we need to consider the Fashion Forward approach and be sure to have your dog put on his coat and boots when going out!!

So when winter arrives – embrace the season.  Before long, your wonderfully furry friend will be used to your new winter routine – just in time for spring.

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