Cold temperatures can be harmful to your dog’s health, but there is another serious danger that comes with chilly winter weather.

De-icers used on roads and driveways can be hazardous for our pups. Dogs tend to lick the salt and chemicals off their paws, which can result in a toxin ingestion emergency.

Dr. Sarah Brown, emergency doctor with BluePearl Veterinary Partners explains how to protect your dog’s paws during the winter months.

Trim fur on paws – Excess fur between your dog’s toes can result in sores and an accumulation of ice. So keep it trim by either cutting it yourself, or taking your dog to a groomer. By trimming this fur, you are also reducing the potential for de-icers to cling to his paws.

Keep nails trimmed – While you should maintain your dog’s nails year-round, it is particularly important to keep them trim in the winter to prevent breakage when walking in ice and snow. Shorter nails also prevent excess buildup of ice and salt in your dog’s paws.

Rinse paws after walks – Even if you groom your dog’s paws properly, there is still a chance ice and chemicals can accumulate in your dog’s paws. One of the best solutions is to simply rinse off the paws with clean water after walks outside. Be sure to gently scrub inside the pads of their paws to ensure there is no hidden residue your pup can lick.

Invest in booties – Booties not only protect your pup’s paws from cold temperatures, they also serve as barrier between toxic de-icers and your pet’s skin. You can purchase booties at most pet stores or online.

Look for animal-safe ice melts – If you want to melt the ice and snow in your driveway without risking toxin ingestion for your dog, consider buying animal-safe ice melts. These products are specifically designed with ingredients that won’t hurt your pup if he licks his paws.

Apply balm – Aside from the dangers of ice and de-icers, your dog’s paws can also get dry and chapped from cold temperatures. Regularly checking your dog’s paws and applying balm when needed can help prevent painful dryness and protect from conditions outdoors. You can buy balm designed specifically for dogs at pet stores or online.

It’s also important to be mindful of the signs of toxin ingestion from de-icers. Vomiting is the most common sign, but if they ingest a lot, neurologic symptoms may also occur.

If you believe your dog ingested de-icer, contact a veterinarian immediately.

For more information on pet health, please visit www.bluepearlvet.com/pet-blog.

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