Winter Truth: Canine Cracked Feet

Let’s discuss the lovely Canadian climate, there’s a reason why people say “[insert complaint here] is as unpredictable as the weather.” This week alone, we’re jumping from double-digit negatives and right back to the positives midweek. Most people are snuggling up with their pets on the couch. Not us! We have a winter loving hound. He would spend hours out there if we let him. It fills us with a warm feeling seeing him striding across the open space; free (showing absolutely no signs of pain). It wasn’t until we saw the tiny spots of blood in the snow; that we started to panic. Were we being bad pet parents? No, but we were being a little naïve.

What did we do next? We rushed him in the house, inspected each and every one of his toes and then hopped on “Google” – uh, bad idea. There are so many things that we didn’t take into consideration. The frigid temperatures, dry air, fertilizers, household chemicals and de-icers, age, disease – and the list goes on. There are so many hidden hazards! Our primary concern was that, if we didn’t do something, his feet could become infected and require surgical intervention and/or antibiotics.

We took it upon ourselves to try coconut oil. For us, that was a bust. He just licked it off. But, I can’t blame him – in our family, we like to eat! We then bought some bright purple balloon booties (the only colour available in his size). Thank goodness he can’t talk. I can only imagine what he would say. Finally, we found a product that contained a mix of waxes, oils, and vitamins that we were able to slather on his pads (note: don’t use human lotions because it may soften the pad too much and cause additional issues).

Your diagnosis may be completely different and have nothing to do with the winter months; but could be allergies, autoimmune or dermatological diseases, or it could boil down to a simple vitamin deficiency. In any case, it’s important to have your pet seen by a veterinarian to ensure that the underlying cause isn’t health-related. Lucky for us, I work with some of the best veterinarians in the area.

Written by: Melanie Hamilton, Customer Care Representative