sidewalk salt in paw

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.


Barked: Sun Dec 21, '08 2:56pm PST 
I know salt in dogs paws can be quite bad - but how do you know if salt actually got in there? We live in NYC and we have had lots of snow and ice and the sidewalks are filled with salt. Zoey has been limping a bit and hasn't been putting her full weight on her front right leg. It seems to be worse after she wakes up from a nap which makes me think its a joint thing but she is only 1 year??

A lesson in- unconditionnal- love
Barked: Sun Dec 21, '08 3:46pm PST 
Check between her toes ASAP. A couple winters ago, my dog stopped being able to sit or lie down (she did but with difficulty) and getting up same thing. She had an infection bewteen her toes and it had gone all the way up into her lymph node near her hock. She had to take antibiotics.

It came back the winter after (just the rawness in between toes, not the lameness) but I managed to control it by applying the Panalog cream I still had left over and keeping her paws clean and dry (don't let her lick her paws, she'll get raw and may get infected). Again it is back this year. So you must check her paws regularly.

I am getting these boots, my friend has a pair she says they last forever. They are waterproof.:

http://www.apparel-work-securite58.ca/dog_shoe_boot. htm

For the times she has to walk on some salty sidewalks (say you go to the dog park, you cannot really keep the booties on as they might slip off if she goes into deep snow), put vaseline on her pads to protect them, and when you return home, wash and dry carefully.

When you check her paws and in between toes, make sure there is adequate lighting as you have to check for redness, moistness, and pus. Sometimes you have to move the hair a bit and you might find raw spots (near the claws too).

Barked: Tue Dec 23, '08 10:11am PST 
A good way to ensure you get any salt out after coming home is soak your pups feet in warm water. This will melt away any snow balled between the toes or frozen slush where the salt often gets trapped.

The Roo- Crew™- ©®

We go together- like peas &- carrots

Barked: Tue Dec 23, '08 11:26am PST 
Taser, good idea, but if they feet are really cold from walking in the snow, won't it hurt?

I remember as a child, my feet being so cold it burned to put them in even cold water.thinking

Life is good...
Barked: Tue Dec 23, '08 7:57pm PST 
I wrote a blog at http://www.questionsaboutdogs.blogspot.com about how to "Winterize your dog." Hope it helps!

It was 9F when I woke up this morning. 9F. Ahhh... Minnesota.

When it comes to winter weather, what should you worry about with your dog?

Winter coats
Is this a marketing plan, or do I really need to dress my dog in a flannel coat? My dog, JP, happens to be a short-haired dog, and when it's this cold, he actually does need a jacket sometimes. If it's a quick walk around the block, or if you're just letting him out the backdoor (into a fenced-in yard only, right?) for a minute, then it's not necessary. That said, certain breeds (such as Greyhounds, Chinese Crested, Italian greyhounds, Salukis, etc.) have an extremely thin hair coat. Top that off with little body fat, and they do needed the added protection of a dog coat. Remember, 40% of dogs in America are obese nowadays, but the site hounds (i.e., Greyhounds, Italian greyhounds, whippets, etc.) typically aren't. Your typical fuzzy German shepherd, Golden retriever, or labrador doesn't usually need a coat, unless you're planning on going for a full afternoon in negative-degree weather with severe windchill. At that point, you should question your own sanity in going out in that weather!

When picking a coat, make sure it's snug. If it's too large, I often find that the belly band (that wraps around your dog's prepuce) ends up bearing all the marking... in other words, Fido tends to pee on it. If your dog is a female, no problem, but when in doubt, make sure the coat fits well.

Outdoor dogs
For those poor outdoor dogs living in cold weather states or countries... make sure you're providing a warm shelter where your dog can a) snuggle up in some clean, dry straw, b) get out of the wind, snow, or sleet with a solid, draft-free shelter, c) eat some extra calories to help provide calories for warmth, and d) drink water. Now I know that seems intuitive, but I can't tell you how many people forget that their dog's water bowl is frozen. This can lead to a life-threatening high sodium level (hypernatremia) due to the inability to take in free water, and can result in a very bad, dangerous type of dehydration (hypertonic dehydration). Counter this problem by either bringing your dog in during the winter, getting a water heater, going out to offer warm water several times a day, or making sure to bait your dog's food (feeding warm broth/water mixed in the the kibble).

De-icing salt
Do your neighbors happen to throw a lot of environmentally unfriendly salt onto the sidewalks? If so, be wary and take the time to wipe it off your dog's feet. You don't want those chemicals or that salt sitting on the pads - or more importantly - the sensitive interdigital (inter-toe) area of his feet. Not only is this irritating, but you don't want your dog licking and swallowing all those chemicals. Use a damp terry cloth and wipe his paws once he gets inside (or my lazier version is to walk him through some salt-free snow before he comes into the house).

When in doubt, don't feed your dog more during the winter. You heard me. You know how we all gain that winter weight (at least we Minnesoteans do)? Well, you don't want your dog to do the same. You're likely not exercising your dog as vigorously during the cold months, and your dog doesn't need the extra calories unless he's living outdoors year round. Like I said before, a majority of the dogs I see are obese. I know it's tough love, and you don't think this applies to your dog, but it likely does... so unless you can feel ribs and see a nice "tucked" belly, hold off on that extra food. This counts for you too. Check out Purina's Body Condition Scoring website to see how your dog's bod compares.

Edited by moderator Wed Dec 24, '08 12:20pm PST

Edited by forums moderator

Puppy Prodigy

Barked: Wed Dec 24, '08 6:28am PST 
Thanks for sharing the article, I think it's quite a good one for those of us dealing with this nasty NASTY weather!!

I just wanted to add a direct link to the article for folks to peruse.