If it didn’t come from the mouth of a Canadian marshal, I wouldn’t believe it myself! Kevin Roberts tells us why dog boots should not be used in deep snow.
Dreaming of snowshoeing through some new power with your pup this weekend? I’m right there, but please leave the dog at home. Your dog doesn’t need it.
I can hear the disbelief from here…”But, will my dog not catch a cold?”
First, amazing dogs! This is especially true when it comes to regulating their body temperature. Canines have the ability to keep warm in winter temperatures by lowering their metabolic rate. And the shorter the days, the more hormonal changes you undergo that slow your metabolism. This allows dogs to prepare for winter by increasing their body fat. Some of this fat is stored in their paw pads, which act as insulation against the cold.
But you say your dog puts his paws up and can’t get warm? Take a look at what you offer them. And adding more fat to his diet will give your dog more energy to burn, keep warm, and walk through deep snow. If he still lifts his paws, plan the walk to be shorter next time.
Cold is relative
Every dog experiences a different cold. A dog that lives up north will be more used to the cold than a dog lounging on a south beach. Acclimatization to the weather will be determined by how big your dog is and what kind of natural protection he has, as well as his age.
Young dogs, older dogs, hairless dogs, and puppies have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature in cold weather. I suggest getting out of the snow cold play with them. They probably won’t have much fun, and an extended time out in the cold can be dangerous.
With each step the dog takes, the snow is compressed under the paw and between the toes. Some of this snow falls away, but some sticks to the hair between the toes and under the feet. Every tiny drop of snow that sticks to the foot collects more snow with every step. In the wrong conditions, snowballs can quickly form. These build-ups force the toes to spread apart, resulting in painful walking.
So how do you prevent snowballs? pruning. wax. Reax as needed.
This is it. You can trim the hair up between your dog’s toes, using this pet-friendly grooming tool with a guard. Ditch the scissors for the job, because you don’t want to nip or cut your toes or your dog’s diaper. Some dogs will need regular grooming, so keep your eyes on those wrinkled-footed dogs.
Don’t want to stick out your pores to hide a dog’s paw? Some brands of paw wax are sold in bar form. Or use this cool trick – turn a closed sandwich bag outside. Place the bag over your glove and apply the wax. When finished, simply turn the bag right side up again and stash it in your pocket.
But… still, with shoes?
Remember how we talked about how snowballs form between your dog’s toes? If snow slides through the top of the boot (and it will), every time the dog steps forward it opens up more room for more snowfall. When snow is trapped against a leg or foot, the dog’s body heat melts it to form small balls of ice on the skin. And as more snow builds up on a dog’s paw or foot, the snow begins to pull the hair up and away from the skin. The skin is left irritated and runs the risk of frostbite.
Go out and play with your dog, but if you’re heading into deep snow, leave the boots at home.