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The Manual: Winterize Your Dog

Learn how to prepare your dog for cold temps and tricky terrain with this guide.
winterizeyourdog_445x260Illustration by Supercorn

Prep His Paws
>> Trim. Fur between canines’ toe pads can pack with snowballs and make walking painful. Have your vet or groomer trim the fluff even with your dog’s pads before your trip. Resist the urge to trim on your own; vets have clippers that won’t cut his skin.
>> Grease. Lube paws to prevent skin cracks caused by cold, dry air. Use a wax-based paw protectant like Musher’s Secret ($15, 3 oz.; musherssecret.net) or a thin coating of petroleum jelly. The former may last several days, and one dose of Vaseline will protect five hours or more.
>> Boot up. Measure paw length and width to fit your dog for booties that protect feet against abrasive ice and snow buildup. Put them on your pup for short walks before your first hike, as he may need time to adjust. Between trips, check boots for wear, which could cause sores.
>> Wipe clean. Rinse paws after every winter hike. Dogs may ingest antifreeze or parking-lot salts while licking their feet clean.

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