As I am preparing all of our boys for another Michigan winter, I realize I need to make sure my dogs are winter-ready too.

Remy has a lot of hair but it is mostly fluff and he doesn’t have the benefit of an undercoat to keep him warm.  Emma is a short-haired dog and she too gets cold outside.  Their new sweatshirts will help keep them warm in the fall and for short trips outside but I have been considering what they need to keep their feet protected as well.

Many driveways and sidewalks are salted with rock salt and similar products that are harmful to pets.  Paw pads can be extremely sensitive to these products and their paws can sustain burns, cuts and infections because of winter conditions and icy roads and sidewalks.  Paw pads can be burned by ice treatments as well as packed ice and snow stuck between paw pads which can be painful.  Ice melting products can also be ingested by dogs nursing their sore paws and those products can be toxic to them.  Icy pathways can cut their sensitive paw pads which can lead to pain and infection.  Another danger I recently read about is that litter on sidewalks can be hidden in snow – I had never even considered that.  I’m going to have to be mindful of that because one of our neighborhood sidewalks always has broken glass and other trash on it.  Dogs are also susceptible to frostbite.

It helps to walk your dogs through the snow to avoid harmful chemicals people, businesses or even city services may put down on streets and sidewalks.  It seems that winter poses a whole set of safety concerns I had never given any thought to until I started reading about the best ways to care for my pups.  I’m going to be extra diligent to trim the hair between Remy’s paws this winter because that really does help with the snow getting packed in his pads.  Some dog owners suggest rinsing their feet in warm water when they come inside to melt any snowballs packed in between their pads and to rinse off any possible chemicals that they have contacted.  Last winter I tried to make booties for my dogs but after several attempts I gave up.  I can sew many things but I could not make satisfactory booties – maybe that’s because I over complicate everything.  This year I am going to try to find a few styles of foot protection and see what works best for Emma and Remy.  Many people seem to like fleece booties but I assume that’s because they are easy to make and they are much more affordable than a doggie boot.  Ideally I would prefer a boot because it would keep their feet dry and I think it would be most durable.  I’m interested to see if they even tolerate wearing something on their feet.

Of course I will review these options as soon as possible because it’s really a good time of year for all of us to start thinking about making sure our beloved canine friends are safe this winter.  If you have any suggestions for winter footwear for dogs, please leave me a comment so I can learn from your experience.

If you are interested in pet-friendly ways to treat the ice on your own driveway, or if you want to promote pet-friendly ice melting products to your community, I recommend checking out these resources:

Pet Friendly Ice Melter

Safe Paw

The Toby Time blog has good information I found helpful when I was doing some blog research.

*This is not a sponsored post.  My links are not affiliate links.  I just want our pets to be safe this winter.