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When the weather starts to get cold and there is ice on the roads, your dog’s paws become particularly vulnerable to damage. Much as cracked, chapped skin can be an uncomfortable side effect of winter for some people, some dogs are likewise much more susceptible to injuring the pads of their paws or suffering from discomfort and irritations in the cold as well. Some dogs will weather the whole winter without a problem, taking the cold and hard ground in their stride. But for some dogs, walkies during the winter is no fun at all, and if you happen to own one of them, it is important to take extra special care of their feet and be on the lookout for any signs of problems.
Any dog can potentially suffer from injured, cracked or sore paws during the winter months, particularly if they spend a lot of time outside, in the ice and snow, and walking on hard surfaces. However, some breeds and types of dogs are rather more susceptible than others are, and it is important to take particular care of them accordingly. Small and delicate dogs are particularly at risk; dogs such as Chihuahuas and other fine boned, small toy breeds. Chihuahuas are so well renowned for the sensitivity of their paws that there is even a thriving market catering to the winter needs of little toy dogs of this type, including doggy footwear like booties for walking in the cold as well as coats and clothing! Dogs that are particularly lean are another good example of dogs that are more likely to suffer from paw problems in the cold- sight hounds such as greyhounds, lurchers, whippets and similar breeds particularly. Even if you have a very robust, outdoorsy type of dog that is just made for the cold- such as a Siberian husky or other Spitz-type of dog, don’t forget to give their feet a check over every now and then as well!
There are a range of potential issues and elevated risk factors to be on the lookout for over the winter where your dog’s feet are concerned. A general check over when you come back from a walk is always a good idea, and you should particularly be alert to the signs of the following common winter problems and dangers.
Remember, you need to pay a little extra attention to your dog’s paws and general wellbeing over the winter, particularly during the colder months. But as long as you keep an eye on things, address any problems that arise promptly and make allowances for your dog’s extra sensitivity to the surfaces that they walk on during the winter, there’s no reason why your dog shouldn’t enjoy those crisp, cold morning walks as much as you do!
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