16 December 2013

Dear Skijora: Tender Toes

Dear Skijora,

When should paw wax be applied? Is there a certain temperature or type of snow? I have seen many dogs wearing boots. Are there advantages to using boots versus paw wax? Is it ok to go au naturel?


Tender Toes

Dear Tender Toes,

Boots and wax pretty much do the same job.  They protect your feet.  

It is your job to make sure your human is checking your feet on a regular basis.  Before and after each and every run, at the very least.  If your human isn't doing this, it's time to train them.  (Skijora recommends using mostly positive training methods when training humans).  Your human is looking for cracks, or tears in your feet.  

Some dogs have awesome feet, either through genetics, or through good conditioning.  Other dogs, have not-awesome feet, and are prone to cracks or iceballs forming in the ball of the foot.  Both can be at the very least distracting, and at the very worst painful.  

Skijora recommends paw wax to help smooth any cracks, kind of like some humans use hand lotion. There are plenty of brands out there on the market.  Most are safe if we ingest them, but have your human ask at the pet store, just to be sure. 

Wax should also be applied anytime you are running in snow that is sticky, or fresh and likely to stick to your feet.  Of course your human has already read all about getting ready for winter.  

Boots can be applied anytime that you are running on colder snow, that is not fresh, and has hardened.  Boots offer a stronger layer of protection against the risk of cutting your paw pads on sharp ice crystals.   They come in many styles.  Look for a style that stays on your foot. It should be tight around the leg, and have enough room to allow your toes to spread.

Skijora tries to not give recommendations based on temperatures, as it's all relative to what you are used to.  

Have fun out there!