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Boots and other winter accessories are all we humans need, but a dog’s cold weather needs can vary greatly depending on their breed, coat, size and more. Regardless of a dog’s natural cold weather defenses, paws are susceptible to cold, wet conditions, which can lead to sometimes serious health conditions. The following tips will help prevent drying, frostbite, cracking and other nasty complications from undue exposure to not only the snow, but the harmful rock salt commonly used to combat ice. Start with these essential tips:

Maintaining Healthy Paws

Basic grooming goes a surprisingly long way when it comes to maintaining your dog’s paws throughout these frigid months. For example, trimming the hair around your dog’s paws can prevent snow and ice clusters from gathering around your dog’s sensitive paw pads, as does the simple act of trimming overly long nails.

Beware of Salt 

Rock salt wreaks havoc on even the most healthy paws. Even if you don’t use it on your property, a salt-littered sidewalk could dry out and lead to cracks in your dog’s paws, causing significant burning and irritation. What’s even more dangerous is that many dogs will try to combat this irritation by licking the salt off their paws, resulting in complications like stomach irritation, and even poisoning in higher doses. To keep your pooch healthy and prevent damage to their paws, avoid walking in areas where you know rock salt has been used. Of course, this won’t always be possible, but thoroughly cleaning your dog’s feet with a damp cloth when they come inside is the best way to protect their healthy paws from salt build-up. For thawing out areas around your house, consider pet-safe ice melter alternatives.

Paw Balm 

The term “paw balm” might sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s a real thing! Simply apply it to your dog’s paw pads and between its toes and wait for it to dry. Its paws will be fully conditioned and shielded against the dangers of the ice and salt, plus sand and hot pavement as well! It can be frequently applied as a moisturizer to prevent paw erosion, drying and cracking.

Dog Boots 

Last but not least...dog boots! Yes, they exist and work just the same as humanboots. No matter how winter-ready you think your dog is, a pair of boots are great assets for protecting their paws from the harshness of the cold and snow. 

So, between paw maintenance, salt avoidance and the liberal usage of balm and/or sporty dog boots, your furry friend’s healthy paws will surely stay comfortable throughout the next several months. After all, with all the snow and seasonal illnesses, the last thing you need is another winter-related issue to concern yourself with! Consider investing in a dog insurance policy to keep your pet protected this winter and all year long.

Protect your Dog this Winter

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.