Seeing how winter “officially” started on December 21st – even though we already had snow TWICE here in New Jersey – I thought it would be a good time to talk about dogs and snow. Just like people, some dogs love snow, some dogs hate snow, and some just find it inconvenient.
When you’re clearing your sidewalks and driveways, keep in mind that some common ice solutions (lime rock salt, calcium chloride salt) can make your dog or cat sick if they lick it off their paws or coat. It’s always a good idea to read the labels on any ice melt you use, and store them in tightly closed containers. A company called GAIA makes “SafePaw” Ice Melter, a non-toxic, pet AND child safe way to clear your walks. (It’s also safe for grass/plants, too!)
After playing with your dog in the yard or taking him for a tour of the snow-covered neighborhood, be sure to wipe off his paws, legs, and belly – that way, if anyone has chosen a toxic ice melter, your boy won’t be tempted to lick it off. Also check between his toes/pads, as ice balls tend to form there. My Moose will start to gimp once he gets ice between his toes, but other dogs may not be quite so obvious about their discomfort. If your dog will tolerate them, booties are the best way to keep paws warm, dry, and free from salt and ice and other irritants.
If you’ve got a shorthaired dog, you may want to get them a nice warm coat for the extra cold days. My brother’s dogs, born and raised in North Carolina, tend to get cold very easily up here in New Jersey. Now they have nice fleece-lined coats to keep them warm! To my surprise, their longhaired housemate also insists on wearing a coat. It’s incredibly cute to see the three dogs line up to get bundled up. Next time we get snow, I’ll get pictures.