January and February are Texas’ coldest months! Exposure to Texas’ cold air, chilly rain, sleet, and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. But these aren’t the only discomforts your Brittany can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws.
“During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to minimize their furry friends’ exposure to such agents.”
– Dr. Louise Murray ASPCA Animal Hospital
Here are 10 tips to keep your Brittanys safe:
- Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your Brittany as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes.
- Trim long-haired Brittanys to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t forget the hair between the toes!)
- Bring a towel on walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws and wash and dry your Brittany’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Also check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your Brittanys as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Dressing your Brittany in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.
- Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation.
- Massaging a salve into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. Moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.
- Brushing your Brittanys regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition.
- Brittanys should remain indoors as much as possible during the cold winter months days and never be left alone in vehicles when it’s freezing outside.
- Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your Brittany!