How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws From Snowballs And Ice Balls: Prevention and Removal

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A dog in the winter
Caption: A dog in the winter

It’s the time of year when people start to see snow and ice around. And with that comes snowball fights, which is always an exciting way for kids and adults alike to get their winter fun in. However, it’s not as much fun for our furry friends as many hazards can harm their feet.

The snow can quickly pile up and often settle in their paw pads, making it very uncomfortable for them to walk and can even lead to more severe problems if not removed. In this blog post, we will talk about how to prevent snowballs and ice balls from forming in your dog’s paws and provide you with different ways to remove them!

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Why Does Snow Stick to Your Dog’s Fur and Paws?

Before we look at how to prevent snowballs from forming in a dog’s paws, let’s look at why snow sticks to your dog’s fur and feet and how that turns into ice balls.

As your dog moves through the snow, they will naturally pick up and collect the snow, especially if your dog’s coat is long and if they have webbed paws. Your fido’s body heat will cause the snow to melt, which will, in turn, form into small ice balls that collect more snow, making it grow larger and larger.

Paw pads also contain many sweat glands, so when you expose your pup’s feet to cold temperatures, the moisture from their feet will freeze, and as a result, forming snow or ice balls between their toes.

How Dangerous Can it be if the Build Up is not Removed?

As the snow and ice balls get bigger and bigger, it will make it difficult and painful for your canine to walk, move around, or stand up on their toes until the point where it will pull on your dog’s coat and stretch their toes apart, causing cracking and bleeding.

You will also find your dog trying to get rid of the irritating build-up by licking the area. The problem with that is that licking itself adds moisture to the irritated site, which will create even more ice and aggravate the situation. What’s worse is that if the build-up of snow and ice isn’t promptly removed, and if this goes on long enough, your dog will be at risk of developing frostbite!

Read More: How Cold is Too Cold for Dogs to Hike or Walk Outside?

How to Prevent Ice Balls from Forming in Your Dog’s Feet in the First Place?

A dog is running in the snow
Caption: A dog is running in the snow

You’ve understood the dangers of letting ice balls develop in your dog’s paws. Now comes the question, how do you prevent it?

1. Invest in Dog Boots

Putting protective boots on your dog every time they go outdoors in winter can help keep their paws warm and block their contact with snow, hence preventing the build-up. There are many different types of boots and sizes for dogs available at pet stores or online. So make sure to measure your four-legged friend correctly before you purchase.

2. Rub Paw Balm Onto Your Dog’s Pads

Applying paw balm to your dog’s pads can create a barrier that protects them from the snow, an excellent alternative for pet owners who don’t want to let their dogs wear boots. Plus, these balms usually have a moisturizing effect, which can prevent paws from drying and cracking.

3. Wear a Snowsuit

Another option is to let your pup wear a snowsuit. These coats for dogs are specially made to protect your canine’s head, neck, chest, abdomen, front and rear legs, ultimately keeping snow from sticking onto their fur.

4. Add a Snood

Putting a warm snow hat or snood on your dog is also a good idea as it can help protect their head and ears from the cold and prevent snow, like what a scarf does for humans.

5. Clip the Hair Around Your Dog’s Paws

Lastly, trim your dog’s fur and grind down their nails! That way, there will be fewer places where snow can attach. One thing though, you have to be careful when sanding down your dog’s claws to avoid damaging their quick.

How to Clean and Get Snow and Ice Off Dog Paws?

As mentioned earlier, not removing snowballs from your dog promptly can be painful and dangerous for them. So how do you get snow and ice off your dog’s paws? Well, there are four ways you can do it.

  • Put your dog’s legs into a cup filled with lukewarm water. The warm water will quickly loosen and melt the frozen clumps after you dip each of your dog’s paws into the cup, then gently dry with a towel. And make sure to check between your dog’s toes for any irritation.
  • Shower your dog. You can also give your dog a shower and good scrubbing with warm water to ensure that your dog’s entire body is clean.
  • Use a hairdryer. Another way you can melt the clumps of snow on dog paws after returning from a snowy walk is by using a hairdryer. Then, use a towel to dry off any residual moisture.
  • Use a kitchen whisk. Yes, you are reading this right! You can use a kitchen whisk to remove snowballs on your dog’s paws simply by running it over their body and legs. In fact, most dog owners are surprised how well this works, and most importantly, most dogs don’t mind!


Dogs are just like humans in which they need to dress appropriately to keep themselves comfortable and protected from all the hazards. And you would also need to apply paw balms to your dog’s paw pads for extra protection against those pesky snowballs and ice balls! Lastly, we hope you find this article helpful in helping you understand how to protect your dog’s feet during winter!