If you plan to bring your dog to the mountains, or simply live in a very cold area where it often snows, it is important to protect your pet’s paws to prevent chilblains from forming.
Many people underestimate these winter hazards, mistakenly thinking that dogs, with their fur coats, are protected from the lowest temperatures. Not at all: a simple walk outdoors over frozen or snowy ground can cause all sorts of problems to the paw pads, and sometimes even to the ears or the tip of the tail.
When a dog walks on the snow or wet ground, the hair surrounding its pads will get wet and as it walks the water will freeze, creating thin shards of ice between the toes that can make it quite painful to walk.
Even though the skin of the dog’s paw pads is thick and resistant, it can crack and bleed when in contact with ice. First it creates cracks in the pads, and then they gradually turn into real sores, or chilblains. You need to pay close attention and constantly monitor your pet’s paws, because these sores sometimes only form a few days later.
What are the symptoms?
If the dog has at least one of these problems – flaking, inflammation and swelling of the skin, cold and insensitive skin, black or bluish skin and sharp pain to the touch – then you need to take action.
How to treat chilblains on dogs’ paws
- The first thing to do is keep the dog warm.
- Cover the affected area with a warm towel.
- Make compresses with hot water, at a temperature of about 40°C.
- When the colour goes back to normal, gently dry the affected area and bandage it.
- Take the dog to the vet if necessary.
To avoid chilblains, and more generally, to help your dog’s paws face the winter without risk, you can apply a nourishing balm on the pads and above all always make sure it wears protective shoes, like the Trekking Shoes by Ferplast, made in resistant fabric with a non-slip rubber sole, able to always keep Fido’s paw pads safe.