Greenwich Dog Owners, Snow De-Icer Can Burn Your Dogs’ Paws

With Nika followed by Pax, followed by yet more snow, Greenwich with snow and storekeepers are out there with shovels and de-icer chemicals.

Residents with sidewalks in front of their homes are responsible for clearing the walkways, which often results in lavishing more chemicals to burn through the snow to the asphalt.

For the dog owners among us, burned paws are familiar and upsetting. And although those dog booties are silly looking, your dog will thank you. (No he won’t really, but do it anyway).

walter in his red booties

This is Walter on a stroll in his red protective booties outside Glenville Pizza on Valentine’s Day.


Some products used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks can hurt dog paws. If your dog starts to limp or collapse during a walk, the culprit might be de-icing products.

If you’re about to sprinkle de-icer, consider Paw Thaw which is safe even if your dog licks his paws after stepping in it. It’s also safe if they ingest a little. It may also be a good idea to keep a towel by the door to wipe your dog’s paws when you return from a walk.

Dr. Kathi Meenan, a Norwalk resident and veterinarian at Stamford’s Rippowam Animal Hospital for 14 years said that some de-icers ulcerate the paw pads. She recommends keeping towels inside the door and wiping down their paws after a walk.

At Pet Pantry in Greenwich Cynthia Fox recommends a two-prong approach to pet owners concerned about paw burn, suggesting use of pet friendly de-icer as well as covering paws with boots, balloon-like covers or a balm called Musher’s Secret, which is a pet-paw protective wax.

Fox highly recommends sled dog boots which are polar fleece with rubber vinyl bottoms and mold to the paw.

“These are what they use for dogs in the Iditarod. They mold to the foot. They breathe, and stay on,” Fox said.

Be careful selecting de-icer at the hardware store because although they have a wider variety of choices, some are dog-friendly and others  make no claim of pet-friendliness.
According to an article on Petfinder, ice balls, which form between the pads and toes of hairy-footed dog, can be painful. The article advises dog owners to keep their pet’s inter-pad hair trimmed neatly and short during the winter months because paw hair can retain a lot of those nasty deicing salts.

Dogs left out in the cold for prolonged periods of time can get frostbite on paws and hypothermia, according to the Petfinder article, which advises frequent short walks are better for your dog than a single long walk.