I love my dog, but taking him for walks recently has been a nightmare.
The bitter cold seems to make the salt on the sidewalks — always a potential hazard — cause even more pain and discomfort to his bare paws.
He refuses to wear booties. Believe me, I’ve tried. Socks fall off right away. The protective balm I bought doesn’t really help.
It got to the point where he was sometimes giving up completely. He’d drop down in the ice and slush, whimpering as I did my best to wipe the salt off with my gloves. A couple times I even had to lift his 90-lb. body and carry him a few yards.
I partially blame my neighbors, who oversalt on the regular. (One cup is enough to treat 1,000 square feet, guys.) Just a few chunks can trigger a negative reaction from my dog in these temps, even if it’s the “pet-safe” kind.
But it makes sense that businesses err on the side of using more — they’re trying to avoid slip-and-fall lawsuits. And of course the city has to salt the streets to make driving safer.
Things looked grim. But then my husband came up with a brilliant idea:
Wrap the dog’s feet in Glad Press’n Seal.
Not to shill, but I’m already a fan of the stuff. I use it for covering up leftovers before storing them in the fridge. The material has its own issues (it won’t stick to cold surfaces, for one) but it’s a lot more manageable than normal plastic wrap. And it’s a lot more durable — which is key for this nonorthodox use.
The first couple times we tested it out, we just tore off four squares and scrunched each one around a paw. The dog didn’t complain too much, and it seemed to create an effective barrier.
Our excitement was stifled, though, when we realized the plastic fell off extremely quickly, or just wore through within a block of walking. More effective swaddling was needed.
Next time, we tried longer pieces. We wrapped each one almost like an ACE bandage, spiraling up his foot. The wrap started looser at the bottom and culminated in a relatively tight top, with multiple layers below each paw.
Not only did the wrap stay on as the dog pranced happily along through all conditions of sidewalk, it even maintained integrity as he played in the snow at our neighborhood park. Back home, the makeshift plastic socks pulled off easily. No fuss, no mess.
If your dog is suffering from the same issue, here are the steps to save their paws this winter:
- Ask the dog to sit
- Pull out a long length (12-18 inches, depending on paw size) of Press’n Seal
- Place it on the floor, sticky side up, and get the dog to place a front paw near one end
- Wrap around the foot once, then keep wrapping, moving up toward the ankle as you go
- Make the final circle relatively tight and tuck the end into the top
- Repeat on other front paw and two rear paws
- Voila — take the dog for a pain-free walk in the salt and snow
- On return home, unhook the top or unfurl one rotation, then gently pull the plastic off