Pause for Paws: How Hot Pavements Can Damage Your Pup’s Paws

Hot summer days mean time for outside fun with your furry friends. The sunny weather may seem perfect for you to go on your walks, but did you know that overly hot pavements can cause unsightly injuries to your dog’s paws? Sunlight can make pavements and sidewalks very hot throughout the day, and this heat can get trapped for hours causing discomfort for your dog.

Is It Too Hot?

Before even attempting a walk outside, it’s a good idea to check the pavement yourself. The best way to do this is by placing the back of your hand onto the ground. If you can’t hold it in place for at least 5 seconds, then it is definitely too hot for your dog.

You should also look out for the following signs during your dog walks:
– Limping, looking like they don’t want to walk anymore
– Licking or chewing at paw pads
– Darkening of skin around paws
– Blisters, peeling, or redness on the paws

If you notice any of the above symptoms,  you need to immediately stop walking and carry your dog home to avoid further injury.

Safety Precautions Every Dog-Parent Should Know
Ideally, it shouldn’t reach a point that your dog is experiencing the first signs of injury. Any responsible pet owner should know how to prevent this kind of situation even before going on their walks.

  1. Schedule your walks for early morning or late afternoon. It is best to start your walk either before the sun heats up the ground too much. Generally, the earlier the better in the mornings. If you choose to walk in the afternoon, make sure that the ground has started to cool
    using the hand test described in the previous section.
  2. If you can help it, avoid pavements in general because the concrete traps heat and becomes scalding after just a few hours of sun exposure. Try walking on soil or grass which doesn’t trap heat and contains a little bit of moisture to keep your dog cool.
  3. Wear protective gear. For further prevention, there are plenty of products in the market designed specifically for dogs in the summertime. You can buy dog shoes or booties which are
    effective at insulating heat, yet allow the paws to breathe.
  4. If booties are too uncomfortable for them, you can always opt for a paw wax, which you apply to the paw pads protecting them from the heat.
  5. Walking itself can be a great way to  toughen up your dogs paws. Provided you do it during the cool hours of the day, walking actually can thicken the skin on the paw pads, building their
    resistance against surface injuries.
  6. Apply paw nectar to paws regularly. Much like lotion to our skin or lip balm to our cracked lips, paw nectar works by keeping your dog’s paws properly moisturized. This will keep their paws
    insulated from the heat and prevent cracking and discomfort.

What To Do If Your Dogs Paws Have Been Burned
In the event that your dog does get burned paws, you should immediately perform some first aid procedures to lessen your dog’s discomfort and prevent the injury from escalating into an infection.

Immediately relieve the paws by running them under cold water. You may also give your dog a cold compress to soothe the scalded paw pads.

In the case of an emergency situation like this, it is very important to make sure that your dog doesn’t chew or lick their paw pads. The skin in these areas being broken, they can become more susceptible to infections which can actually do more harm than the burn itself.

Go to your vet as soon as possible if you see that your dog may be suffering from burnt paws. Since chewing or licking the paws may be a sign of allergies or another condition, your vet may perform
some tests to rule out any other possibilities. Your dog would likely also be prescribed burn medication as well as antibiotics to prevent infections.

Summer is a great season to spend some quality time with your dog. Just be responsible and protect your furry friend from injuries with the tips above.