Brrrrrr! This year we experienced a blizzard and most recently, quite a chill. So, I just wanted to touch base with everyone and pass on some important safety tips and product recommendations to keep your little ones happy and comfortable as we prepare for the rest of this winter.
COLD WEATHER CLOTHING: Do dogs need clothes? If the weather is below 25-30 degrees and your dog is not a large dog with dense hair like a Siberian Husky, Malamute or Saint Bernard, then I highly recommend a sweater. For smaller, light bodied breeds, toy breeds, and breeds that naturally have very short or thin hair coats, like Chihuahuas and Greyhounds, I recommend a winter coat in addition to a sweater. While wool is very warm and one of the best insulating materials, take into account how often it will need to be washed, and whether it will make your dog more uncomfortable due to itching. A good blend of washable wool and cotton or acrylic may be the best bet. Aim for snug but not too tight.
SNOWBALLING: What is Snowballing? Snowballing is when bits of snow ball up between the dog’s pads and toes; these can be very painful for your dog. The Snowballing can also build up over the length of the walk and expand between your dog’s toes. Ouch!
ROCK SALT: When it snows and rains during the winter, building maintenance throws down salt to prevent us humans from slipping and falling. Thanks building maintenance! However, rock salt is not safe for your pup. Dogs are especially vulnerable to the corrosive characteristics of salt.  Health problems can include dermatitis, inflammation of the paws, and serious gastrointestinal problems. Simply put, when salt makes contact with doggy’s paws, it sucks all the moisture out of the pads and it hurts. Many of you have seen your dog limping during a walk, not realizing your pup had accidentally stepped on a piece of rock salt that you didn’t notice—and I know how extremely cautious you all are when walking your pup in these conditions. If you maintain your own sidewalk, I recommend: PAW THAW. Without going into all the dangers of rock salt, I just want share with you some of my favorite products to keep your fur babies’ paws safe:
165726_179546262085377_3758194_nBELLA BOOTS: This is hands down, my favorite winter boot. They are handmade by a dog-lover in NYC and sold, as far as I know, exclusively at The Barking Zoo. Expect to pay about $38 for a set of 4. Excellent quality, easy to wash in the sink with some dish soap and warm water every now and then. They  are lightweight, dry off pretty fast and most importantly they are safe and comfortable for the pups.
PAWZ:  These became super popular over the last few years. I have tested them on my own dog and on many of your dogs. They are reusable up to a handful of times and waterproof. They are made of rubber and resemble a balloon. I like them for dogs that pawzdon’t have sensitivity when you touch their paws. They work great if your dog has very short nails that you trim on a regular basis. For every dog that I’ve used these on, their nails poke through the rubber and allow water and salt to enter. On the other hand, they are light-weight and fairly inexpensive at about $12 per pack of 12. They come in sizes Tiny-X-Large.  The PawZ website has a sizing chart that’s easy to use and most pet stores carry the product.If you’re purchasing in-store, just use the sizing chart on the back of the package.Most pet store carry this product.
Many of you have dogs with sensitive paws and putting a balloon or slipping a flexible boot on your little one is not an option. No problem! Here’s a product I highly imgresrecommend: MUSHER’S SECRET: This is a paw wax that was developed for mushing dogs. Cool! It is ideal for extremely cold elements. This paw wax is placed all over the bottoms of the feet and between the toes to create a waxy covering. It’s this covering that not only protects your dog’s paws from rock salt, cracking and bleeding due to the cold, but prevents snowballing. Remember Snowballing? This kind of wax has the added benefit of being good for the hot weather, too, in protecting paws from hot asphalt or concrete. It dries fast to form a semi-permeable shield of protection. Non-toxic, non-allergenic, non-staining formula also protects and provides soothing relief for fly bites, open sores, cracked toes, nicks, scratches, and burns. And, the invisible cream will not stain carpets. The ingredients are 100% Natural Human-grade Waxes with Vitamin E. A 60g jar will run you about $12.00. I have seen this product at The Barking Zoo and you can find Musher’s Secret online from for $11.95 plus shipping.
            The best way to keep your dog safe and happy this winter is for us to work together. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help! Special requests? Just ask. We are always happy to accommodate.