First of all, winter is coming (and the white walkers will be among us soon haha jk.. couldn't resist. Love GOT) and we must all take measures to protect our pals.
Here are some quick and easy tips to follow for now:
1. Salt is no fun for paddy paws. You can either put vaseline, coconut oil, or "paw wax" on your dog's paws before they go out. These types of substances will create a waterproof barrier for the soft pads and will likewise keep the pad lubricated and protected from the elements. If you don't wish to place it on the paw before you go out, please put some on afterward if you notice your pup's paws are getting dried out, cracked, and/or irritated. Have you ever poured salt on an open wounds? Hurts, right? Well imagine that on your feet, while you run and play all day. Yup. Not nice. SO just try to take care of those little paw paws and keep em nice and soft.
2. Ears can crack in the cold. Yes, it does happen. It was especially noted in boxers for me last year. Keep those ear flaps soft too by adding coconut oil, vaseline, or something similar, but please make sure any substance is safe before you put it on your dog. Use common sense of course.
3. If you have a dog who a) has short hair, b) is old, c)is small, or d)is not in optimal health, please keep them warm by getting them a jacket or something else to cover them with. Just because they're animals doesn't mean they don't get cold too. Cold can turn into worst things later, so take measures to keep your dog comfortable in cold weather.
4. Try to keep your walks shorter on days that are extremely cold.
5. Add a bit of chicken broth to your dog's food if you wish. You know how it helps us to feel better? Well, it's the same with them. Be cautious of sodium levels, though. The lower the better.
6. Maintain a healthy diet. This is oh so important. Feeding your dog a good healthy food is the absolute best thing you can do to help him/her deal with the world that surrounds them. If they are unhealthy going into winter, you MaY experience more health problems as the time passes on. Feeding them good quality food will fuel their bodies with the nutrients they need to battle the cold.
7. Trim paw hair. If you look at the underside of the paw, there is quite often hair that grows between the individual pads. Trim that stuff. It's what the snow gets stuck to and that's why your dog is always lying down picking at its paws in the snow. Sometimes you will try to help pull that little snowball out and in doing so, you may be doing more harm than good. You may pull hair out from the root, cause bleeding and then inadvertently create an open sore for salt to get into.. Ouch.
I'm sure there's plenty more I can say, but I'll save that for another time. If you have any cool tips, please feel free to share them! The more knowledge we have to help our pets, the better!
And on that note, have a great day and check back for updates!