5880 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside or 6150 Route 30, Suite 300, Greensburg. petagogy.com
Heather Blum, owner of Petagogy, stresses the need to protect pets, specifically dogs, from coming in contact with road salt or conventional ice-melters, which can damage their foot pads while out on walks. Blum recommends using GroundWorks Natural Icemelter to de-ice your front steps, stoop, or sidewalk. The manufacturer website describes it as a “fertilizer-based product designed specifically to melt ice and snow effectively, while being completely eco-friendly and pet safe.”
For those pets who will tolerate it, there's also the very cute option of using booties as a protective shield. Blum likes disposable Pawz Rubber Dog Boots. “We get asked about other rubber-soled boots, but we like Pawz because they are the most natural-feeling boots your dog can wear, allowing your dog to feel the ground and providing a needed sense of security,” says Blum. Plus, the booties are made of a biodegradable rubber so that you won't feel too bad about throwing them out.
Making sure your pet is visible on especially snowy days or in low-light conditions is important. Blum says products like the Ruffwear Beacon safety light can ensure that drivers and bikers will see you coming no matter what. The safety light can be attached to a collar or harness, and is durable, waterproof, and rechargeable.
Lawrenceville Pet Supply
5152 Butler St., Lawrenceville. facebook.com/LVpetsupply
Eric Kellar, owner of Lawrenceville Pet Supply, recommends Paw Safe Ice Melter, a popular salt-free, biodegradable option.
For more adventurous pups, Kellar highlights the sneaker-like Kurgo Blaze Cross Dog Shoes, as well as the Kurgo North Country Waterproof Dog Coat. Pet parents can also use wax or balms to protect and soothe a companion's paws. Kellar prefers Pawz MaxWax (or Musher’s Secret), a non-toxic wax made from beeswax, lanolin, and vitamin E.
Kraken Apothecary is based out of Clairton and makes and sells Hecate Paw Balm: a pet-safe, fragrance and essential oil-free balm formulated to help “prevent frostbite, ice burns, and salt burns in the winter.”
And finally, if your cat is like mine, they are probably sick to death of you being home 24/7. Help your surly friend tolerate your constant presence with (what else?) loads of catnip. Usually, I take an old sock, fill it with nip, and tie off the elastic top. To prevent any spillage, double up by placing the makeshift toy in another old sock. You get to recycle some old clothes, and give your cat a new plaything that will get them zooted enough to forget you're even there.