Your Great Pyrenees is looking more and more like a polar bear, and your tabby cat’s thicker fur has you doing a double-take to make sure there isn’t a miniature bobcat snoozing in your armchair. Winter is rapidly approaching us here in the Northern Hemisphere, and your pet is likely growing his or her winter hair coat in anticipation for the cold weather. Though your dog or cat’s fur becomes thicker during the winter months to provide extra insulation from frigid temperatures and offer protection against hypothermia, some areas of the body are left exposed: the nose and paw pads.
Your pet’s feet deserve extra care during cold weather as the body’s extremities (primarily, the toes) may be at risk of frostbite if exposed to cold temperatures for a prolonged amount of time. Dampness increases this risk, so ensure that your pets stay warm and dry by keeping them indoors when conditions outside are blustery. When your pet does venture outdoors during the winter months, he or she can sustain a foot injury by landing on a sharp piece of ice. Additionally, irritation to the skin between the paw pads can also occur when pets walk through frozen snow or on pavement that has been de-iced with salt. When your dog or cat returns inside, remove any snow balls that may have accumulated on the fur around the paws, and always wipe off your pet’s feet to remove road salt or toxic antifreeze through which your pet may have potentially walked. Alternatively, consider a set of outdoor boots for pets to provide extra protection.
In addition to winter-related injuries, the paw pads and nose are also susceptible to excessive drying due to biting, frosty winds outside and dry heating inside. This can cause the skin of the nose and paw pads to crack, creating open and painful wounds which can serve as an entryway for skin pathogens.
If your dog isn’t a fan of adorable winter booties (except maybe your own, which your pup has decided to chew), reach for Pro·Sense® Plus Paw & Nose Solutions to help relieve dry paws and nose. The formula is suitable for all dogs for daily use when used as directed. This topical product contains beeswax, coconut oil and Vitamin E, as well as soothing aloe. Its inviting light lavender scent and non-stinging formula will be your dog’s go-to product all winter long!
- Maranda Elswick, DVM – The Meowing Vet, LLC (www.themeowingvet.com)
Dr. Elswick was compensated by Pro·Sense® brand for writing this blog post