Keep Your Dog’s Paws Happy in the Cold

Date: January 17, 2017      Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic      Source:  Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen      Print:

Baby, it’s cold outside! And it’s time to take your best friend out for a walk. Be sure to bundle up, and don’t forget about your dog. His/her body can stay warm in a cozy knit dog jacket, but paws are a little more difficult to protect…and freezing temperatures, snow and rock salt can do a number on naked feet. Here’s some help…

You can purchase paw protectors, such as these doggie booties, but it’s hard to guarantee a good fit or that your dog will like them and keep them on his/her feet. If you want a no-cost trial run on paw protectors, try putting small plastic sandwich bags (the snack-size bags work well for small dogs) on his feet, securing the bags with small hair bands. If your dog hates the plastic bags, try baby socks and secure these as well with small hair bands. Make sure that the bands are just tight enough to hold the bags in place but not so tight as to cut off circulation. The homemade dog booties probably will not be secure enough if your dog loves to romp in the snow!

If your dog hates anything on his feet, try this:
Paw wax is a good choice for doggies on the go.


Nonstick vegetable spray also can help if your dog is going out in clean, unsalted snow. Spray the bottom of his paws so that the snow won’t get packed between his pads. Do not use if you are going out for walks on salted roads or sidewalks, since the oil will attract the chemicals (and a bunch of other bad road stuff).

If your dog continues to go outside on cold, salty surfaces with naked paws: As soon as you both get home, wash his paws with a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of warm water. It will soothe the burning caused by the rock salt. Dry winter air and walking on snow and ice can cause a dog’s pads to become cracked and sore. Therefore, it’s a good idea to massage a little petroleum jelly or Bag Balm  into his pads and between his toes to soothe them after your dog has spent extended time in the cold.

And be sure to check your dog’s feet regularly for cracked paw pads or broken skin…no matter what the weather!

Thanks to for help with these tips.


Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are folk-remedy experts and home tipsters based in New York City. They have spent decades collecting "cures from the cupboard” and are authors of several books, including Bottom Line's Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and Bottom Line's Household Magic.