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Bernese Mountain Dog giving paw outdoors in winter.
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When snow falls, dogs still love to be outside. But in many ways, winter can be harmful to your dog’s paws. Sharp crusts of snow and jagged ice can damage their feet and paw pads. Icy streets and yards can become slippery slopes, making it hard to walk and play.

Outdoor fun can be dangerous when snow melts are used on sidewalks. If your dog ingests anti-freeze with toxic chemicals, it can be dangerous or even life-threatening. most commonly used deicers, like calcium chloride and sodium chloride, can hurt his paws, and some are toxic if they ingest it by licking their paws. So how do you keep your dog safe on walks?

Using Pet-Safe Ice Melts

Winter will last a while, and despite the weather, your dog needs to go out—whether it be a quick , a short walk down the front path, or across the patio to the backyard. Melting snow and ice helps reduce slipping and makes it easier for dogs, especially small dog breeds, to maneuver their way through the snow. Ice and snow melts are an effective way to reduce snow and ice, but they contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs.

Because dogs often lick their paws, it’s easier to ingest things, like ice and snow melt, that they’ve stepped on. Using a pet-safe ice and snow melt can be just as effective, and help keep your dog safe in the event that they do trail some inside.

Shiba Inu running in the snow in the winter.
irontrybex/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images Plus

You likely use snow and ice melt on places where your dog already goes: your steps, sidewalk, front walkway, patio, deck, and paths in your backyard. Swapping these for the dog-safe ice melt can help reduce risks and allow you and your dog to enjoy winter weather with less stress.

Use it on your steps, front walk, patio, deck, and sidewalk to provide a safe area for your dog to walk, without exposing him to harmful ingredients. And forget about slipping and sliding in those dog booties. “Boot the boot” with this ice melter. Your dog will thank you (and his paws will be happy too)!

Be a Good Neighbor

It’s not only your own dog you should be concerned about. If you’re clearing the sidewalks around your home, other dogs might walk there too. You’ll naturally want to make sure that the walkway is free of ice and snow, but using a dog-safe ice melt helps protect not only your dog, but other dogs that walk by.

Using a product that is safe for pets can help you keep those around you safe, and your neighbors will surely thank you for it! If others are using calcium chloride and sodium chloride-based melts, talk to them about using pet-safe alternatives. If fewer toxic chemicals are being used, there is less of a chance of dogs ingesting them, helping to keep dogs safe.


How to Protect Your Dog’s Feet in Winter

Another way you can protect your dog’s paws from snow and ice in the winter is with dog boots. Not every dog likes it, but patience and time can help your dog feel more comfortable wearing clothes. Whether it’s a quick bathroom break or a long walk, your dog will still be going outside in the winter, so it’s good to consider your options.

Boots can also protect your dog from anti-freeze and melts that aren’t pet-safe. When you get home from being outside, make sure to talk the boots off right away to avoid any chemicals getting into the house. By using dog-safe ice melts, you’re also helping eliminate the risk of ingesting toxins.

Even non-toxic, dog-safe melts shouldn’t be ingested by your dog. Although these can be non-toxic, some could contain Urea, which can cause drooling or vomiting in dogs if your dog ingests the melt. If your dog ingests any foreign materials that cause them to be sick, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Read all labels on pet-safe melts, and ask your vet if you have any questions.

This article is intended solely as general guidance, and does not constitute health or other professional advice. Individual situations and applicable laws vary by jurisdiction, and you are encouraged to obtain appropriate advice from qualified professionals in the applicable jurisdictions. We make no representations or warranties concerning any course of action taken by any person following or otherwise using the information offered or provided in this article, including any such information associated with and provided in connection with third-party products, and we will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages that may result, including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.
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