By Laura Kemp • 07 January 2022 • 17:30
The Met Office has predicted heavy snowfall in parts this weekend and vets are warning against owners putting their dogs in boots in a bid to protect their paws from snow, ice and grit.
However, tails.com head vet Sean McCormack has said the trending accessories can cause more harm than good.
Sean said: “Generally, dog boots will not cause your dog any pain, however, they might feel uncomfortable, which is why I advise against purchasing them.”
“Dogs find it extremely difficult to adapt to wearing boots, as they make their paws heavier and restrict movement.”
“One of the most common problems with dog boots is that pet parents find it difficult to recognise when they don’t fit their dog correctly. This can cause a lot of discomfort for your pet and make walking very challenging for them.”
“Though considered fashionable to some, most dogs don’t need any form of footwear.”
Dog’s paws are robust enough to withstand the UK’s icy conditions, having adapted to the cold and being designed to survive outdoors.
Sean added: “Body temperature plays a big part in this, as the pads draw warm blood to the skin to keep them warm. The tissue on a dog’s paw pad is built to protect them from temperatures as low as -35 degrees.”
“The tissue on the dog’s paw is the toughest skin on the entire body and the gripping texture allows them to maintain traction and balance. When boots are worn, dogs lose grip and the surface becomes slippy, making it harder to walk for your pup – it’s a similar experience when a human wears socks on a slippery floor.”
Saying this, paw pads are not indestructible and are more prone to cracks and cuts in the winter months.
Sean advises looking out for signs that your pooch is in discomfort, such as licking their feet a lot and picking up their paws when walking.
“Paw balm or petroleum jelly-based products can help to keep your dog’s paws safe in winter,” Sean suggested. “Before you head out on a walk, coat the balm on your dog’s paws to create a barrier that will help to prevent snow, ice and other road chemicals from getting in their paw cracks.”
“Additionally, this will help to keep their pads hydrated, which is particularly important during winter when the air becomes dry. When you return from your walk, wipe it off!”
He added: “Grooming plays a huge role in protecting your pup’s paws during the colder period. Trimming the long hairs on your dog’s paws will make it harder for ice, snow and de-icing products to cling and dry on their skin causing irritation. Be extra careful when trimming these areas, or take your pet to a professional grooming service.”
“When walking during winter, dogs are exposed to road salt, which can be extremely dangerous, as it can irritate the skin, causing dryness, cracking and even burns to the pads.”
“Even more dangerous for dogs, if they lick it from their paws or fur, they can ingest the chemicals, which can be toxic. These harmful products sit on their fur and paws, so it’s important that when you return from walking your dog that you clean their paw pads to remove any chemicals.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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