If you're thinking of taking your dog for a walk up the mountains or in the snow, or if you live in a region which is particularly cold this winter, then it's very important that you are aware of the risk of chilblains.
When a dog walks in the snow or on wet ground, the hairs around the pads of their paws get wet. Along the walk, this water can refreeze and produce tiny blocks of ice between their toes which can be painful and cause irritation.
These little lumps of ice can lead to chilblains and ice burns if left to build up. These wounds are very painful for your dog and they could become infected. (We apologise for the not-so-pretty photos, but we're here to warn you!).
Chilblains don't just occur on the paws but they can also appear on any of the areas with a low supply of blood: particularly the ears and tail.
How to spot them
The problem is that the pain and irritation caused by the chilblains is not easily identifiable at the start. In fact, they might not show up until a few days after your dog has been exposed to the cold weather conditions.
Symptoms to look out for : shedding skin, skin inflammation, cold skin and skin resistant to touch. Keep an eye out for these signs if you and your dog have just come back from a long, snowy walk!
It's not only long walks that put your dog at risk, but whenever your dog is exposed to sub-zero temperatures, it's important to be aware of the potential harm caused to their paws.
What to do if they have got chilblains
Whatever you do, do not rub or touch the skin where your dog might be showing signs of ice burns or chilblains. It will only make them worse, and cause your dog more pain.
The first thing you should do is to gently cover the affected zone with a warm, wet towel. Once their skin is back to a normal temperature, make sure to dry it well and then cover it in a dry, non-sticky bandage. Do not use hot water whatever you do, it will be very painful and aggravate the wounds.
A barrier cream to avoid the risk
In order to prevent chilblains, and to generally provide your dog's paws with more comfort this winter, you can apply an ointment or lubricating cream on and between the pads on their paws. These balms can help to stop their paws from holding on to snow and ice, and increase your dog’s comfort.
Look no further, we've found the ultimate one: the balm "Paw Amour", has been personally approved by Rocky, our head tester Rottweiler. And the great news is that we've included it in our February HappyBox!
For those who don't yet know about it, the HappyBox is a box full of treats, chews, toys and useful accessories which we make every month just to make you and your dog as happy as possible.
And don't forget to look after your pup's paws this winter!
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