A dog expert has issued a warning to pooch owners to tell them to avoid making one specific mistake this winter.
Veterinarian expert Sean McCormack has advised that you should never use dog boots for your four-legged friend when you walk them on frosty or snowy winter days.
He says that while dog booties may look adorable when out for winter walks, they may be causing more damage than good to your pet.
Winter boots, which often have a flexible sole and Velcro straps to keep dogs comfortable when walking in cold temperatures, can be "extremely difficult to adapt to" for dogs. With temperatures expected to drop in the coming days, dog owners have also been warned to wash their pets' paws (opens in new tab) to protect them from deadly grit salt.
While snow and ice may also be a concern for pet owners, Sean pointed out, "Generally, dog boots will not cause your dog any pain, however, they might feel uncomfortable, which is why I advise against purchasing them.
"Dogs find it extremely difficult to adapt to wearing boots, as they make their paws heavier and restrict movement."
The paw pads of dogs are made up of a layer of pigmented skin that covers fatty tissue and is usually pink or black in colour. Since fat insulates, these cushions provide some protection from chilly surfaces. The pads are so tough, Sean insists that they can handle snow and ice.
There's no disputing that as a pet owner, you might be concerned, so Blue Cross experts have offered some tips on how to tell if your dog needs boots.
The charity noted, "If your dog starts lifting up their paws, whining or stopping while out on walks it could well be because their feet are too cold, so it’s a good idea to invest in some doggy winter boots for them to wear."
Sean also recommends applying petroleum jelly on the pads to keep them from cracking.
And amid animal lovers' fears of cats and dogs catching coronavirus (opens in new tab), vets have issued a warning over a mystery illness cropping up in pooches that have been walked on beaches in the north of England, especially in Yorkshire.
More than 150 pets have been struck by a mystery vomiting and diarrhoea bug after their owners have walked them on Yorkshire beaches including Bridlington, Scarborough and Hornsea.
It is still not known what is causing the illness and local authorities are currently investigating the concerning trend.
Vet Brogan Proud wrote on Facebook, “I work within several practices up and down the North East coast and we have recently been inundated with dogs coming off the beaches with vomiting and diarrhoea.
“Personally, until the local authorities have got to the bottom of it, I would not recommend taking your pets on the beach for the foreseeable future,” she added.