Mon 29 Nov 2010
We live in the High Peaks area of the Adirondack Park of New York. There’s one thing you can always count on – snow!
It snowed some yesterday, about 5 inches, just a preview of things to come. The dogs, Tsunami and Annie were ecstatic. They love to play in the snow like otter dogs, leaping, sliding, rolling and nipping at snow balls.
Soon though, depending upon the temperatures and the type of snow, Annie develops huge ice balls on the bottom of her paws and between her toes. She’s then forced to lie down and try to lick and bite the ice balls from her feet. It’s a painful situation. I have seen dogs with bloody feet due to ice ball paws.
Both dogs are German shepherds, but Annie is a long haired or coated version of the breed. It is considered a show fault though not uncommon in the breed and shows up periodically in many lines. I don’t much care about confirmation shows but I can see why a coated shepherd is undesirable. Though beautiful, the long coat is subject to tangles and burrs. In many cases, like Annie, the coated dogs lack a dense undercoat which protects them from the elements. The German shepherd dog was bred primarily in the early days as a sheep herding dog – a dog that had to endure the elements everyday of the year regardless of the weather. Tsunami has a traditional coat. One good shake and she is rid of rain, sleet or snow – a wash and wear dog who can hike all day in any weather.
Coated shepherds are not the only dogs to suffer from paw ice balls. Just about any dog with whispy fur between the toes or under the feet has the same problem.
There are some things to do that will help:
1) clip the fur between the toes and between the pads of the feet
2) spray the foot with vegetable oil spray
3) put boots on the dog
I used to clip Annie’s fuzzy feet. She hated the process. And we kinda like the look of her fluff feet.
I have tried the vegetable oil. It doesn’t last that long and needs to be re-applied, especially if you have a dog with a palate for vegetable spray. Annie would just lick it all off.
So, we boot up. We got a real nice, sturdy, comfortable set of boots from the Canine Kingdom http://www.caninekingdom.com/travel-outdoors/barkn-boots-grip-trex.php
They’re well made, are designed to fit properly and have a nice treaded sole. Most importantly, Annie is not offended by them. She readily hops on the couch to allow me to slip them on and strap them up. That may not sound like a lot – but you don’t know my Annie. If she doesn’t like something…case closed. There are no negotiations or re-visiting the subject.
There are some other good reasons for a good set of dog boots. Every year I read of dog electrocutions in cities. I don’t know the science behind it but the combination of water and salt and deteriorated infrastructures have led people and pets to get electrical shocks when they step on metal sidewalk grids. The thick lugged soles of these boots may help a bit in those situations. On Thanksgiving Day, while on a daily walk in Seattle with his owner, a dog was killed by an electric shock he received when he stepped on a metal plate around a lamp post. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013551882_dog30.html Please keep your dogs away from any metal on sidewalks – especially during the cold months when salt is used to melt ice. Boots that are wet and have salt or mud on them may not provide much insulation properties – no matter how thick the soles are. And dogs are likely to sniff metal lamp posts and other metal structures.
Most municipalities use salt on roads and sidewalks. This stuff is dangerous if a dog ingests it. What dog does not lick its wet paws when they come back in the house? Better they wear boots which protect the feet from toxins.
These boots are comfortable. They could easily be used indoors to provide traction if you have non-carpeted flooring. Lots of uses…a good product…and a nice gift for the pooch.
Like her hand beaded collar and lead? Check out the Kenyan Collection at the Canine Kingdom.