snowballsDoes your dog head out on a winter adventure looking like a furry winter voyager and come back looking like Frosty the Snowdog?

Owners of long-haired dogs often contact us with their winter weather woes. One common problem is the snow that sticks to, and balls up on the fur surrounding a dog’s paws, legs and belly. Here are some tips for preventing and removing “snowballs” from dog fur.

Preventing snowballs

· Trim the fur around and between the dog’s paws with scissors or shears to prevent large snowballs from forming.

· Trim dog’s toenails. Long toenails cause the dog’s toes to spread, giving snow more surface area to collect.

· Spray the paws and fur around the legs with cooking spray before an adventure. This will create a slick surface to help prevent snow from sticking to the fur.

· Mushers wax or Vaseline is another option to create a slick surface along the paw.

· Shield your dog’s paws and fur from the snow with dog boots such as our Polar Trex™ boots and a coat with belly coverage such as our Cloud Chaser™ soft shell jacket.

· Remove snow from areas frequented by your dog at your home (such as driveways and patios) with a pet-safe salt or de-icer.

Removing snowballs

· Treat paws immediately to avoid frostbite. If the potential for frostbite exists, remember to warm up the dog slowly by bringing them inside, wrapping them up and placing them in a warm area.

· Use a bowl of warm water and soak their feet in it. The warmth melts the snow from their feet, and will also remove any potentially hazardous de-icers on the paws.

· Follow up with a soothing paw balm to moisturize sore, cracked pads.

· Check in with your vet if you notice any problem areas on the pads.

8 thoughts

  1. My Aussie/poodle mutt wears a lycra body suit (yes, really) in snow. It has full body and legs to paws with necessary open belly/tail ports. Simple on, fast off, and NO residue on dog like oils!!! I very highly recommend. It eliminates all the time we used to have to spend removing ice, and he’s happy to never be locked in laundry room or stuck bathing to melt off ice. The company that sold his lycra dog suit (K9 Top Coat) also makes a winter fleece suit for warmth, but we did not need insulation so we picked the lycra. Much more humane than leaving him shaved short all winter. Now I only trim out foot pads and face monthly, and let him go wooly bear everywhere else. We’ve done many dog park days, XC skiing, hikes and it has been quite durable. Might tear if rough biting in play, but so far it has taken on field thorns and burrs, and ordinary play just fine. Price depends on dog size (maybe $55 – $95?) but it sure makes winter fun easy. Sale after holidays and occasional seconds may help… best answer ever.

  2. I’ve been using mushers secrest for 5 years on my Golden Retriever, I Absolutely love it & my dog does too! Use it all year round as my dog is training for SAR and also great for those summer walks on the hot cement/hard tops and if your dog spends alot of time in the water like mine does then mushers secret is the way to go.

  3. I’d heard of spraying Pam on your dog, but just couldn’t get myself to purchase a can of spray chemicals… so I opted for organic olive oil cooking spray instead. It worked great (the snowballs just slide off your dog), but she turned rancid within one day! In hindsight, Pam would have been a better choice… whoa, was my dog stinky!

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