road salt + dog paws = :-(
January 28, 2005 10:10 AM   Subscribe

This past year I’ve moved to an area where they use rock salt on the sidewalks and roads during the winter and it is tearing apart my dog’s paws. Does anyone have experience with this? Do the salves work? How about the booties? Do I have a chance in hell of getting booties on an eight-year-old lab?
posted by a22lamia to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
Northumbria Police in the UK have started using boots on their police dogs to protect them from glass, which is some kind of approval. They get them from this UK company.
posted by biffa at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2005

My mother used to put homemade booties on her dogs in the winter and they were okay with it. Put socks on all four paws, then cover with plastic bags (newspaper bags work well for this,) secure with rubber bands. YMMV - my dogs thought I had lost my mind and promptly removed them, but maybe if you do it JUST as you walk out the door and the dog is more excited about going on a walk than what's going on with his/her feet?
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2005

I have a pair of fleece booties for my Welsh Terrier, since they salt roads here in the winter and it really burns his paws when he steps on it. It does take me a bit of time to get him to stop leaping around so I can get the boots on him, though, since he gets so excited when he sees me take them out. (OH BOY IT'S WALK TIME!) : ) Once they're on him he doesn't mind them, and they work well. I got them at Meijer for about $6 but they are also at Petsmart and other places, too.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2005

Booties are really the thing. Apparently, you can make them yourself if you're at all handy.
posted by jessamyn at 10:47 AM on January 28, 2005

I swear by Bag Balm for chapped skin. It might help your dog's sore paws too.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2005

I use a pair of REI booties on my spastic lab at night when he comes in so as not to ruin our rosewood floors. He likes them, as far as I can tell. They have a long, very snug velcro tie that goes well above the paw. He also is as quiet as a ninja and gets better traction. They're worth it.
posted by docpops at 11:11 AM on January 28, 2005

When I read the Guardian article about Northumbria Police's pup shoes, I fell in love with the phrase 'dogs falling into the sea'.
posted by armoured-ant at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2005

Our golden retriever loved her dog booties, which were Muttluks (don't know if they're available outside Canada). With them on, she was able to dive through the snow better, and didn't get ice trapped in her paws. Until she decided to jump into a frozen river, chasing ducks, and I had to go in after her... at least all we lost were the boots, and not our frozen toes.
posted by hamfisted at 12:38 PM on January 28, 2005

Our two smaller dogs (poodle and lhasa) love their boots, as they allow them to keep up with the big dog, a malamute, who won't wear them at all -- but he's a spastic young dog who thinks he's invincible and loves rolling in the snow, salt and caustic icemelting chemicals be damned. When we come in from a walk on treated ground, I clean his paws with a soft washcloth and warm water (get between the toes!) then use aloe vera gel (the people kind) on his paw pads. (My vet says that this is okay even if they lick somewhat, though Spunky -- yes, his real name -- does not. Check with your vet to be sure.) He really enjoys this, it's like a little spa treatment for him, he rolls onto his back in passive mode and gets blissed out.

If you want to go the boot route, a consideration of whether or not your dog will tolerate them should look toward whether or not he tolerates other things. Does he like being dried off with a towel? Does he do well with bathing and grooming? Would he wear a sweater? Will he let you play with his paws for an extended period of time? If so, he might wear booties. But try some socks first -- much cheaper and not a big deal if they get chewed apart, lost or cause a freakout.
posted by Dreama at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2005

Booties on my dog are comedy gold. They were purchased to protect her from jumping cholla in the desert, but I occasionally put them on her when I need a good belly laugh. I think she understands the benefits when she's surrounded by prickers, but she's overcome by tragedy otherwise. I don't know what it says about me that her pathos is so amusing to me...
posted by dness2 at 1:32 PM on January 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well after a half hour at Petco I managed to get one boot on that was off in about 30 seconds - while he was really into wearing a t-shirt to protect some stiches a while back, he just doesn't seem to be a boot dog.

Thank you for all of the suggestions, I'm going to try the warm water, aloe gel and bag balm in the next few days.
posted by a22lamia at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2005

We've used boots on our Lab to protect an injury. Being a Lab, he'll put up with anything if we give him a treat for co-operating.
posted by timeistight at 2:31 PM on January 28, 2005

I second what Dreama said about washing off your dog's paws after walking on salted or chemically treated streets. Other than the harm to the pads, if your dog tries to lick it off, he or she could actually get sick from it. There are a number of sites out there with tips for "winterizing" your dog, this is a good one I found. Trimming the hair around the pads is really helpful too, prevents ice-build up - if your dog will let you do it...
posted by sarahmelah at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2005

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