Could you be ignoring a top summer canine health danger?
People often forget that dog’s feet are sensitive—and that they don’t wear shoes! Don’t let your dog’s paw pads be an afterthought this summer. To ensure you and your pup have an enjoyable summer, take precautions to avoid burnt feet.
Is It Too Hot? Or Not
Dogs are typically very stoic and won’t “tell” us when they’re in pain. Their paw pads could be burning but their love of walks supersedes the pain. The pads on your dog’s paws are extra sensitive and can burn, dry out, and crack from walking on hot asphalt, concrete, metal, or sand.
Before hitting the streets this summer, take some steps to prevent this often-hidden injury. It’s easy to tell if the pavement is too hot in the beginning of your walk. Place your hand or your barefoot on pavement for at least 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
Even in the hottest climates, burnt paw pads can be avoided. Go for walks early in the morning, before the sun heats up the asphalt, or after it cools down in the evening.
You can also avoid pavement completely and stick to grass or a mulched greenway or trail. Natural materials don’t absorb heat as much as man-made materials and will feel cooler on paws. Even in shade, pavement can still get very hot when the temps rise. Don’t assume it’s safe just because it’s shaded. Still take the proper precautions as previously stated.
No grass to walk on? It is definitely worth investing in lightweight booties. Stay away from disposable booties that are made from rubber and silicone. They do not breathe well and can actually make their feet hotter.
What to Do If You Suspect Burns
If you think your dog may have burnt paw pads, bring him or her inside immediately. Gently check all four paws thoroughly. If the burns are severe—open, blistered, peeling, reddened or raw—bring your dog to the vet immediately. The paws may need to be cleaned and bandaged and sometimes antibiotics are necessary as a precaution. If there is no evidence of overt burns, it’s best to keep your dog indoors (other than going out of the grass to do his business) until his paws are completely healed. Also, do not allow your dog to lick his or her paws. A minor irritation can quickly turn into a bigger problem just by licking.
Summer is a great time to enjoy your dog and enjoy the outdoors! Make sure you do it safely and responsibly to enjoy it to the fullest!