How to Protect Your Dog's Paws This Winter | Tips + Tricks

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws in Winter Weatherhappy-hounds-paw-care-blog-in-winter-weather-hero-image

By: Tess Marty & Rianna Young

While we’re walking in a winter wonderland snowy adventures can be cut short by dry or cracked paw pads.

Your dog deserves extra protection this time of year because dry air, cold pavements, and salt can wreak havoc on their paws. Just like we take extra precautions to protect our skin from harsh winter conditions, our dogs’ toe beans deserve the same attention.

During the cold months between December and March (even early April),  the weather changes from brisk to brick outside. This change can have multiple impacts on your dog’s paw health.Rranging from redness, overlicking, and dry or cracked paw pads. 

In this article, we'll explore effective ways to "winterize" your dog's paws, ensuring they stay moisturized, shielded from cold pavements, wet snow, and protected from harsh street salt. Plus, we'll delve into the benefits of incorporating a premium paw balm in your dog’s daily routine.

Table of Contents:

  • Common Causes of Dry Paws
  • Paw Protection & Inspection
  • Scheduling & Wiping After Walks
  • Consistent Grooming
  • Using a Paw Balm
  • Make them Comfortable
  • Conclusion

Common Causes for Dry, Cracked Paws

Here are the most common reasons for your dog’s dry and cracked paws:

    1. Cold Weather: Causes dehydration and salt or chemicals can get stuck between paw pads and cause them to crack.
    2. Allergies or Arthritis: Reactions to environmental, chemical, or health related symptoms can lead to overlicking. 
    3. Tough Terrain: Sensitive paw pads need to build up keratin and salty or snowy conditions can be an aggravator. 
    4. Under-Grooming: The small hairs between paws and digits can attract foreign matter, which can lead to dryness, over-licking, and scratching. 

Take steps to prevent dry and cracked paws is easier from the outset. 

Protecting Paws from Snow, Salt & Ice

Snowy playdates can be a blast for your dog, but the wet snow can wreak havoc on their paws. After walks in snowy or salty conditions, make it a habit to wipe your dog's paws thoroughly. A damp cloth or pet-friendly wipes can help remove salt, ice, and other debris that may be clinging to their paw pads.

During the cold months between December and March (even early April) the weather changes from brisk to brick! This change can have multiple impacts on your dog’s paw health ranging from redness, overlicking, and dry or cracked paw pads. 


Monitor Thy Paws 

Wiping or rinsing your dog’s paws can also keep them from licking and ingesting salt. Beware of de-icing chemicals, which are toxic for pets and can make them sick. This simple practice minimizes the risk of irritation and infection, ensuring your dog's paws stay clean and healthy throughout the winter months.

Wiping your pet’s paws regularly even without winter conditions is a good practice. It keeps your pet from ingesting potentially harmful bacteria and is a great way to check their feet for any cuts or scrapes that can cause infections or build-up.  


Regularly inspecting your dog's paws for any signs of redness, swelling, or cracks (in all seasons, but especially winter) is a consistent way to maintain paw health. By monitoring their pads for chewing, licking, or signs of dryness, which could indicate irritation or pain and allow you to catch issues earlier. 

The best way is to spread their toes and inspect each side of their paw pads and between toes for any residue, abrasions, or foreign materials. This is also a great time to keep an eye on discolored or swollen paws pads.

Catching issues early allows for prompt intervention and prevents more serious problems from developing. If you notice persistent discomfort, consult with your veterinarian. Happy Hounds Calm Balm can be a valuable addition to regular wiping or rinsing paw care, providing ongoing support for your dog's paw health. 

Upgrade Your Grooming Routine

Consistent grooming is a cornerstone of paw care. Trimming their hair around your dog's paws to prevent ice and snow from accumulating between the toes. This practice not only helps maintain cleanliness but also minimizes the risk of ice-related injuries.


Incorporating Vitamin E and Aloe for an extra layer of moisturizing care, ensuring your dog's paws remain healthy and happy. Keep nails trimmed and clean as well, as salt can hide under their nails and cause irritation. 

Moisturizing Magic: Using a Paw Balm 

By protecting paw pads with a balm can make them less susceptible to irritation, itch, and pain. When selecting a paw balm, look for products specifically designed for winter conditions. Ingredients like Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil, Aloe, and Coconut oil create a protective barrier, locking in moisture and preventing the development of painful cracks.


Enter the Calm Balm, scientifically proven to calm inflammation and moisturize dry and cracked paws, which can be a bedlam for infection.

A hemp-infused paw balm can provide an extra layer of protection against the drying effects of winter. The compound's anti-inflammatory qualities may help soothe any existing irritation, making it an ideal addition to your winter paw care arsenal.

Strategize Your Winter Walking Schedule

Choose optimal times for walks to avoid the harshest winter conditions. Late mornings and early afternoons often offer slightly milder temperatures, reducing the risk of paw-related issues or freezing temperatures


Planning shorter walks can help minimize exposure to the elements, ensuring your dog stays comfortable and happy during their outdoor adventures. Be sure to check the forecast, as the highest salt concentrations will likely be a few hours before snowfall. 

Once temperatures hit 32° or below, many dogs will need shorter periods outside (not you, husky parents). Reduce your walking time and provide some indoor enrichment for mental stimulation. If your dog is getting antsy with reduced time outdoors, Hemp soft-chews or CBD treats may help them relax and feel fulfilled without their long strolls. 

Consider Booties

To prevent excessive moisture and discomfort, consider investing in waterproof booties for your dog. These booties not only keep paws dry but also offer an extra layer of insulation against the cold and abrasive road salt. Ensure the booties fit snugly but not too tight, allowing for proper circulation and freedom of movement.

You’ll likely want to practice having them put on booties and walk in them inside, first, as most of us have seen the videos of dogs galloping when trying them on for the first time.

Creating a Comfortable Environment


The transition from outdoor cold to indoor warmth can be harsh on both your dog's paws and body. Keep your home environment comfortable by placing cozy mats or blankets near entryways. 

Encouraging your dog to rest on these designated spots can help prevent the tracking of snow, salt, and ice indoors, maintaining a clean and comfortable living space. Opting for longer-lasting chew toy or dental stick to encourage them to stay put while drying off or having their paw balm applied. 

Consider giving a CBD treat about 30 minutes before your walk. By the time you are back, they will feel more calm when you wipe their paws and apply a balm to reinvigorate their paws. For younger pups, we recommend using pee pads for harsher days or tougher terrain to ensure their sensitive paws retain their strength

Useful Tips + Tricks for Winter Paw Care

Winter weather can be incredibly fun for your dog! Enriching zoomies, burying themselves in a snow blanket, and cooler temperatures can give them an extra burst of energy (we are talking to you Husky Moms)

Winterizing their paws is a crucial step to keeping winter fun and safe for your pet, ensuring they don’t ingest salt or chemicals and keeping moisturized paw pads so you don’t have cracking and pain.


An approach that combines preventive measures, regular grooming, post-walk care, and moisturizing products. By prioritizing your pet’s paw health during the winter months, you're not only preventing discomfort but also contributing to their overall well-being.

So, gear up, moisturize those paws, and let your dog enjoy the magic of winter with joy and comfort! Check out Happy Hounds entire line of pet care and wellness products to help your pets thrive!

Thanks for reaching the end Useful Tips + Tricks for Winter Paw Care from Happy Hounds. Make sure to share this article with furiends and family whose paws you care about for a happier, healthier life. 

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