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Dog Walks in Winter: How to Deal with De-icers

"Salted" paths can make for painful terrain.

The weekend forecast from the National Weather Service calls for chances of light snow Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Lower Merion-Narberth area.

Though the predicted amounts are modest—less than half an inch each day at most—plenty of sidewalks and roads might still get de-icing treatments.

Some such products can cause problems for a dog out for a walk after a storm. Winter-walking guides at dogster.com and at petside.com say that rock salt and de-icing compounds can damage paw pads after prolonged contact and can be harmful to pets who lick at them.

Some suggestions:

  • Dog boots.
  • Walk dogs off pavement where possible.
  • Wipe paws with warm water after walks.
  • Rub paws with a thin coat of Vaseline before walks, suggests Mindy Reese of Mindy's Pet'Tique in Penn Valley. (Reese reiterated this suggestion to Patch after offering it during a recent discussion in the Lower Merion Community Network Facebook group.)

What problems, if any, does your pet have during or after winter walks? How do you try to mitigate those problems? Please tell us in the comments section below.

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