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Each summer, we see burns and injuries of dog paws and feet so be sure to protect your dog’s paws. If you have ever made the mistake of walking barefoot across asphalt in the summer, you know the kind of pain that comes from burns. Sidewalks, roadways, metal, and other surfaces that are exposed to the sun become extremely hot.

Because we take for granted that our furry friends have pads on their feet, we assume they are durable enough to withstand heat. Nothing could be further from the truth. To protect your pet’s paws, the team at Westarbor Animal Hospital has suggestions to keep those paws safe and healthy.

Painful Paws

Our dogs can’t tell us when they are in pain. It’s unfortunate that they are sometimes subjected to undue pain from hot surfaces. A surface is too hot if you place your hand on it, and it is too hot for you to keep it there for several seconds. If it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Be sure to check the temperature of surfaces like roads and sidewalks during late spring through autumn before you head out with your bestie.

Stay aware of your dog and their comfort level when you are outdoors. Key signs that your pet is in pain are:

  • Avoiding walking or moving
  • Limping
  • Licking feet
  • Raising paws/legs
  • Paws appearing dark red
  • Broken skin
  • Blisters and bleeding

Take immediate action if you notice these signs of a burn emergency. Get your pet off the hot surface right away. If your dog is small enough, carry them to grass or shade. If you have a long way to walk, place a cloth or something similar under your dog and ask someone to drive the car to you.

Pour cool water over the paws. You can also use a cold compress. If your dog’s paws are burnt or blistered, contact us right away. They will need to be treated for burns to avoid infection and severe pain.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws

Summer safety and prevention is the best approach to avoid paw problems. Assume that your dog cannot safely walk on hot surfaces and plan on changing your walking or outdoor playtime routine to morning or evening hours.

To protect sensitive paws from summer heat, practice the following paw safety tips.

  1. Invest in dog booties or protective socks they can wear when out and about.
  2. Avoid walking on hard surfaces during the middle of the day.
  3. Look for grassy areas, such as parks, where your pet can safely play and exercise.
  4. Moisturize the paws with paw balm or lotion that is safe for pets.
  5. Inspect your pet’s paws when you return from the outdoors, looking for any signs of dryness, scabbing, foreign objects embedded in the feet, or other problems.
  6. Remember that sand and packed dirt can also be scorching surfaces, so avoid these places to walk during midday.

Staying active and enjoying the great outdoors with your four-legged friend just requires a few extra precautions during the summer months. By paying attention to summer paw care, you ensure that your pet’s paws remain burn-free and in great condition. Call us for more information on how to protect your dog’s paws or to schedule an appointment. Have a wonderful time on those walks and outdoor activities!

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