Watch Tip: Paw Pads at Risk

Posted on February 13th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Tip for week of Feb. 14:

Watch for bloody dog and cat tracks caused by cracked and frozen pads. Find the pets and help them get the care they need.

Paw pads do not protect dogs and cats from injury like your winter boots protect your feet

Dogs and cats can suffer from extreme weather just like people can, and their paws are no exception. You might be surprised to learn that injuries to thick paw pads and tender spaces between the pads are actually slow to heal, according to Read about common risks to paws in cold and snowy conditions–which may be especially useful in the wake of recent storms in warm climates.

  • Frozen pads: extreme cold, dry conditions cause pad surfaces to freeze or get overly dry, and they can crack open, causing bleeding. Companion animals who are susceptible to this need improved shelter, or better monitoring during playtime or walks.
  • Ice balls between pads: consider a non-toxic spray “paw de-icer” for pets or try canine boots. Some rub petroleum jelly between the pads. If your dog has a lot of hair between the pads, keep the hair clipped short to prevent larger ice balls from forming.
  • Salt and chemical de-icers: wash off their paws with a wet towel after walks, or use a bucket of warm water for paw-dipping, to ensure your pet won’t ingest toxic chemicals.
  • Cut feet and legs: snow conceals sharp objects, so stay on known paths and walkways to avoid injury to your companion animal.


And a word of caution about antifreeze drips in the garage: it tastes sweet, and your furry friends may lick it; children might also! Even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly! Wipe drips and spills immediately and clean the cement with a safe detergent. Some state legislatures are considering requiring antifreeze manufacturers to add a bitter flavorings to their formulations to prevent deaths of children and pets. Call your legislator to learn of any efforts in your state.

Leave a Reply