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Protection for the Dog’s Pads

Posted: Jaunary 14, 2011, 7 p.m., EDT

As the Northeast digs out from the second major winter storm of the season, it seems as though more and more customers this winter are interested in purchasing something to protect their dog’s pads from the evils of winter (i.e., road salt, ice, clumping snow). Because every dog has a different tolerance level as far as touching their paws, ask the customer about their dog’s personality. I find it beneficial to carry a wide variety of products that range from least cumbersome (and least amount of protection) to most cumbersome (and greatest amount of protection).

For the dog that absolutely will not tolerate anything on its paws, I have found Musher’s Secret to be the perfect "invisible boot.” This non-toxic, non-allergenic wax forms a breathable bond with the dog’s paws. Originally developed for sledding dogs, the product provides a great deal of protection from road salt and other chemicals and also prevents snowballing on the hair between the pads. It dries in seconds and will not stain carpet or furniture. The wax also speeds the healing process on existing sores by keeping dirt and other debris out of the wound, making it useful outside of the winter months.

For the dog that is more tolerant of something on its paws but has not done well with traditional boots, I have found PAWZ to be the answer. These rubber, lightweight, reusable/disposable boots are very form-fitting and seem to stay on the dog’s paws well. The roughness of the surface that the dog is walking over will dictate how long a set of PAWZ will last. There are 12 booties in each package of PAWZ. While they don’t have much of an insulating benefit in the winter, PAWS can be used throughout the year as they do make great pool-liner protectors in the summer, as well as protect from lawn chemicals and hot pavement/sand. I sell just as many PAWZ in the summer as I do in the winter.

For the easy-going dog that will let you do anything to it, traditional dog boots provide the maximum protection but are the most cumbersome. Stick with something that is water-repellent and has good insulating properties like neoprene. I try to impress upon my customers that traditional dog boots take some amount of training and persistence. The quicker they can disconnect the dog’s brain from the fact they have foreign objects on its feet and build that association between putting the boots on and doing something fun (be it a walk or hike through the woods), the easier the transition is. Rare is the dog that wears the boots for the very first time and doesn’t know they are there.

Can somebody get Spring to come early this year…come on Mr. Groundhog!!!

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