Before the walk
If your dog has long hair on it’s paws, it’s a good idea to trim up that extra hair. You want the hair to be even with the paw pad to help reduce the risk of ice-balls forming between their toes, and salt and other de-icers clinging to the paw. Having the nails trimmed short is always important, as long nails force the paw to splay out. In the winter this means it is even more likely for snow to build up between the pads.
Paw balm provides an extra layer of protection. There are many suitable brands, including Bag Balm. Vaseline is another option that is easy to find. Spread a thin, even layer over the paw pads before going outside. If your dog will accept them, booties are the ultimate barrier against all the chemicals and sharp ice your dog may encounter on your walks. It’s best to slowly introduce your pup to booties. Start by leaving them on for just a short time and use lots of distraction to prevent Fido from trying to pull them off.
If you are going for a long walk, or you frequent areas where a lot of salt or de-icer is used, it’s a good idea to bring along a cloth or small towel of wipe your companion’s paws periodically. Remember that these can be toxic to pets, so do your best to prevent licking paws or treated ground.
After the walk
When you get home, rinse your dog’s paws in lukewarm water to get rid of any snow, ice, salt, or chemicals.