Rock Salt on Dog's Paws
To Consider before you take your whippet out for a walk this winter
February usually is a cold month, but before you take your dog out for their next walk in wintry weather, here’s something that should give you pause: the health and safety of their paws.
A SEASON OF DOGGY DISCONTENT
Even without piles of salt scattered all over the place, winter’s frigid weather is already tough on your dog. Exposure to cold, dry air or prolonged contact with ice and snow can leave his paws dry, cracked, itchy and peeling. Coming back inside provides much-needed warmth but the artificially-heated air is still extremely dry, meaning his skin will continue to suffer.
Depending on the condition of your dog’s feet, walking across rock salt can be anywhere from unpleasant to downright excruciating. Granules can become stuck in his paws, causing soreness with every single step. Check to make sure he’s not limping at any time when you’re out walking in the winter. If his skin is cracked and broken, the agony will be even worse because he’s literally having salt rubbed into his wounds
TREAT HIS FEET
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help avoid your dog avoid pain and injury. First off, consider treating his paws by rubbing them with a thin coat of balm or petroleum jelly before you go out. Some pet stores also sell wax-based moisturizers that are specifically designed to protect his paws.
PICK A NEW PATH
If possible, alter your walking route in winter to steer clear of sidewalks and other places where rock salt has been used. Try to find a park or field where all you and your dog will encounter is if you're lucky to get some pure, soft snow or just grass.
WASH OFF WHILE WALKING, AND AGAIN AS SOON YOU’RE HOME
It’s a good idea to carry a towel along during winter walks so you can wipe snow, ice and salt off your dog’s paws and belly anytime it’s necessary.
If your dog comes home with salt stuck to his paws, he’ll be tempted to lick it off. This is a problem because most ice melters contain chemicals that can cause drooling, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Excessive intake can lead to liver damage, seizures, and even death.
Help your dog avoid serious stomach woes by washing his paws as soon as you return home. A small tub of warm water and a soft towel will get the job done, but there are also specialized canine footbaths available if you’re looking for something to help reduce spills and mess in your entranceway. Even if you can’t see any salt, it may still be there, so be sure to bathe his paws each time.
Just as you don’t want your dog ingesting salt by licking it off his paws, you also don’t want him eating it off the ground. Prevent him from drinking out of salty puddles and keep him away from any piles of salt you encounter while out for your daily walks.
Feeding your Whippet
Just Whippets Rescue recommends that you feed a high quality manufactured food such as (dry kibble) Futures, Burns, Skinners, CSJ, Autarky or Red Mills. Please avoid foods with added colourings and preservatives, e.g. Bakers, which are low in natural nutrients, high in filler content and can induce excitable behaviour due to the chemicals used in producing the colouring of the food.
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