Our dog loves winter sports - but after a few miles on the trails in soft snow, he often develops snowballs between his paw pads - usually one big one right in the middle.

Are there ways to minimize / prevent this from happening? I have heard really bad snow buildup can lead to raw / bleeding paw pads.

  • A friend of mine recently brought dog boots for her dog who will be climbing Snowdon with us in August.
    – Aravona
    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:58
  • I heard Crisco works amazing and can't wait to try it!
    – user8795
    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:39
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    I understand nothing of dogs and am really just curious: why is this happening? What do wolves do? (Or don't they have this issue?)
    – fgysin
    Feb 16, 2016 at 7:37
  • I'm with you @fgysin. I don't think wolves go about in booties... I think you should just let the dog be. Eventually he will figure out what to do if it really bothers him.
    – Desorder
    Dec 19, 2016 at 19:52
  • @Desorder, spoken like someone who's never seen the problem. It can literally disable some dogs quickly in certain snow conditions, and there is no learning what to do about it. All the dog can do is stop and try and bite the balls out from between their paw pads, which doesn't stop new ones from forming. It's a real problem, actually. Dec 20, 2016 at 2:09

3 Answers 3


Well there are many ways to prevent this, the easiest way would be to trim the hair between the paws. You can also buy dog-sock to put on the dog, the best way if you have seen dogs running with dogsleds. And if you really don't want to do either of those options, you can buy paw-grease or paw-vox like "ice on ice". Hope this will help.


Lots of mushers will 'candle their dogs'. Use a candle and pass it quickly over the bottom of the paw. The flame singes the hairs between the toes and is harmless to the dog. Practice on your arm hairs to get the speed right. Much faster than trimming.

Most dogs hate socks and will chew them off as soon as they can.

  • Interesting - 2 years of mushing and I never heard of this technique. But that's why I asked here. Though seems risky. Anyone second this method? (And Welcome)
    – Lost
    Mar 26, 2013 at 20:28
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    I think I saw this in a booklet "How to train Lead Dogs -- My Way" Only place I've seen it sold is was in the add section of a musher's magazine. I never tried it. When the dogs wanted to stop and chew out their ice balls, I'd let them. I found that in training they would chew out enough hair that it wasn't a big issue. But I wasn't racing. I was running 2 week expeditions into the shield. Mar 28, 2013 at 3:03

Also using paw ointment, could help to reduce the problem, preventing ice/snow to build up and also helps with problems with salted roads and minor blisters

Example: Paw Ointment

  • 4
    Try and bulk up your answer with more than just a link example :) links in answers can tent to disappear. Might be good to explain the ointment in some more detail?
    – Aravona
    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:58
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    Here at stackexchange we want to keep information together, i.e. we prefer to have at least some explanatory text about what will be found behind the link. The hint "just google for x" might provide a different answer now than it may in two years or even bring up different results for different users. Jul 16, 2014 at 11:12
  • I'm not expert enough to say what ointments are better than others, or what the differences are. I just wanted to point this alternative out. If someone knows more about this subject, feel free to edit my answer, or post a new one with more / better information. At least I think it's better with a small amount of information about a subject, than no information at all. I could remove the link if you feel like it does not give any extra information or if it feels sponsored. Jul 16, 2014 at 12:21
  • Hi Viktor Mellgren! I just want to let you know that the link you referenced is no longer available. The page has been removed. (It's also not in English, so it might have a smaller audience.) I don't know enough about the subject to switch to a reputable link, otherwise I would have done that for you, in case it might have helped. Dec 17, 2016 at 17:48

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