Although fall and winter are fun, having to wipe your dog’s paw every time he goes outside is an endless chore. And nobody wants to bath their dog every single day.
Jorge Bendersky is a celebrity dog groomer, pet expert, and best-selling author of “DIY Dog Grooming: from puppy cuts to best in show, everything you need to know,” He has been a finalist in the Animal Planet show Groomer Has It, a judge on TLC’s Extreme Poodles, and an expert on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101. He also is a proud member of the One Picture Saves a Life Team, where he gives shelter animals another chance.
We asked Bendersky to give us his secrets on how to keep your dog’s paws clean and healthy during the wet months.
Should people avoid giving their dog a bath every day?
The problem is not how often you want to give your dog a bath, the problem is the kind of shampoo you are planning to use. The more often you want to wash your dog, the milder the shampoo should be.
Are there any special “grooms” you would suggest for long-haired dogs during the winter months?
As dogs grow their winter wardrobe, their skin needs some extra attention. Extra brushing will help open up hair follicles and activate the circulation to allow the new coat to come out strong and healthy. A good fit for all is the slicker brush. It is the secret tool to get through the winter matt-free.
If the weather doesn’t allow you to bath the dog as often as it needs, the use of waterless shampoo products becomes a must to keep your pooch huggable.
What products do you suggest to clean paws off after a visit outside?
In the winter months, it is important to keep paw pads moist to avoid breakage when stepping on icy surfaces or sharp ice melting salt. A waterless shampoo will turn any washcloth or paper towel into the perfect wet wipe with the benefit of having control of how much product you need. Also, using a paw pad moisturizing will help keep the dogs paws baby soft!
Are there any products that can helps paws stay clean?
Paw cleaning should be standard routine after every walk. Ice melting products sometimes taste good and can turn a dirty paw into a deadly licking treat if salt is left in their paws after a walk.
On long hair dogs, the use of booties will keep paws clean but you must be aware of the dog’s routine.
Dog booties can become slippery when running on snow so it is important to keep your dog under control and choose the kind of paw wear that will go well with your dog activity level. The balloon shaped paw wear are great for a city walk.
What are your suggestions for those looking for natural cleaners?
The pet industry has a wide range of paw care products , natural is always good so choosing products that use essential oils and natural products is a good choice.
If you find yourself locked in in a snow storm and your dog’s paws are in need for some attention, a dab of olive oil on his pads will soothe sore paws, just be sure to keep Fido away from jumping around the house till the oil gets absorbed.
Bees wax human lip protectors can be used as a paw protector before snow fun time!
Aside from Bendersky’s great secrets, here are a few products I have found helpful living in the Pacific Northwest (I KNOW about mud!).
Natural Paws. They have a lot of great all-natural products with essential oils (as Bendersky suggests!) for any type of paw ailment. From protection to healing dry, cracked, or scratched paws, they have a non-toxic remedy. Owner Elyse Horvath is very knowledge and can help if you are unsure about what product is right for your pet. She advises that owners regularly inspect their dogs’ paws during these months, as they can easily have wounds hidden beneath all that caked on mud.
John Paul Pet Full Body & Paw Wipes. These are any easy way to quickly give your dog a “touch-up” as he comes through the door. Just leave them by the door where they are always handy. They contain aloe, lanolin and orange oil, which means your dog will not only feel better, but smell great.
Musher’s Secret. If anyone knows about snow and dog paws, it’s mushers. This products is made of 100 percent natural waxes and creates an invisible barrier to protect your pet’s paws from damage.
RuffWear Dog Boots. This company makes great, durable products and they have a range of styles, depending on the type of surface (mud, ice, snow, etc) your dog will be walking on during the season. They also have great waterproof jackets that hold up really well (mine are 6 years old and look brand new!).
About the Author
Based in Wilsonville, Ore., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She is the founder of, A Fairytail House, a unique all-positive all-sport dog training facility that helps rescue dogs in her area and provides free seminars and training classes for the community. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.