Protecting your Dog's Paws this Winter | Dog Photographer | Portland, Maine

Welcome to Elusive Photography! I specialize in pet photography at my Falmouth, Maine studio and love sharing knowledge (and fun dog portraits) with you all. Take a minute to read this blog about keeping your dog's paws safe this winter and check out some of my amazing dog photography clients! View my pet photography portfolio (including lots of kitties) by following this link, or exploring the menu above.

Why you should protect your dog's paws:

As Mainers, I don’t have to tell you how harsh the winters are up here. You still need exercise, and so do your pups, so what do you do? As much as we would all love to stay inside by the fire, it isn’t always feasible. I have some tips to help your puppy enjoy the winter exercise and keep their paws nice and healthy!

Use Dog Booties:

Snow and rock salt can really wreak havoc on your puppy's paw pads and skin. The best way to prevent any harm to their feet is to have them covered completely. Dog booties are (in my opinion) the safest way to get your dog out and about during the wintertime. Your puppies paws won’t touch the harsh salt or cold snow, and bonus, most dogs tend to act hilariously when booties are first worn. Dog jackets can really help dogs retain their body heat, and there are so many to choose from, and in so many different densities you can find exactly what your dog needs. If you care for fashion, there are some incredibly fashionable dog jackets that you can purchase to match your outfit for your walks, or just pretend your dog is walking the dogwalk in Fashion Week. You can even set up a dog fashion show with other dogs from your neighborhood to give the kids something to do and have fun with your dog/s!

When I walked Fia around Boston in her little blue booties (seen above) everyone was fawning over her. One person even tripped while looking and exclaiming "AWWWWW!"

Wipe them Down:

If you don’t want to use dog booties, or your dog refuses to keep them on, it might be a better option to let them play outside without any booties and when they come inside, wipe them down (be careful to include wiping in between their toes, removing any snow and ice adhered to their fur) and then use balms. All of these balms are locally sourced, and are great for all your dog needs. You can walk in to any of these stores and pick out the product, and ask the sales team any questions or even better – order them all online from the warmth of your own home.

Locally Made Dog Products:

Maine Street Bee specializes in locally sourced, all organic balms and remedies for your dog that is sure to heal any winter blues they might have. Her simple, yet effective, balms will be great for your puppies paws all winter long.

Another great choice is Two Salty Dogs. Made locally in Boothbay Harbor, this balm helps your dogs paws retain moisture, prevents cracking and protects against a multitude of hazards (salt, rocks, tar, and ice build up). It is even safe enough to use on your dogs nose if your pups nose gets dry!

Mutt Nose Best not only has the greatest story behind all of their product names (seriously. Go read their about me section and be prePAWed to fall in love), their products are made from locally sourced materials and hand crafted with love. Their balm is sure to heal and protect your puppies paw pads.

There are so many amazing products available from Maine, and as a small business, I love to support other small local businesses. I came across this company, and love their paw balm! Not only does this balm condition and add moisture, it helps protect their pads and make their paws less slippery in this Maine winter.

Take them to the Spa:

Just like their owners, most puppies love a spa day where their paws get pampered as well! Not only are dog manicures (pedicures?) healthy for them, they are very restorative for their paws. This is another great option to get them out of the house and get some mental exercise as well.

Put down safe de-icers:

One last option is de-icers. Salt is incredibly abrasive and can cut up your dog's paws when stepped on whole, it could irritate their sensitive pads from its chemical makeup, and could potentially be harmful if ingested. Most de-icing salts are made from sodium chloride or calcium chloride, and if you don’t wipe their paws thoroughly enough, they can lick their own paws to get the irritant off and become ill. They make dog safe de-icers that aren’t as rough on your puppies pads as traditional salt, and will not make them sick if a small amount gets ingested. Dog safe de-icers were developed by veterinarians and do not contain chloride or salt, and while I wouldn’t feed it to your dog, it is safe for them to walk on.

Extra Precautions:

Some good things to remember when walking or exercising your dog is to walk very slowly on ice (don’t let them run on ice! They could slip and injure themselves badly.) and be sure to check for frostbite if you were outside for a prolonged period of time. That could include blisters, discoloration, swelling, and pain to the touch.

Before you take your dog for exercise, or let them out to play, it is always important to know general cold weather safety. Be sure you know the signs of your dog getting hypothermia; this is a general list, but you know your dog best. These are general symptoms that dogs develop when becoming hypothermic.

● Weakness

● Lethargy

● Muscle Stiffness

● Slow, shallow breathing

● Lack of mental alertness

● Fixed and dilated pupils

● Stupor-like state or loss of consciousness

If your dog shows any of these signs after being outside for an extended period of time, give your vet a call!

I hope this list encourages you to get out and have fun in the beautiful winter Maine provides us. We still have a few more months to go before we don’t have to bundle ourselves and our puppies up to get out and have fun, so use this list to get the most out of these cold months!

Do you have any of your own cold weather tips not listed here? Please share below!