Are your dogs paws burnt? The typical British summer isn’t always as hot as we’d like but when temperatures do soar it’s important to be a prepared pet parent!
To prevent heatstroke and sunburn
, it’s recommended that dogs are walked in the mornings and evenings, but there is another reason for walking them at cooler times of the day. Hot surfaces can burn your dog’s feet causing blisters and redness. Walking on hot tarmac is usually the culprit. When the air temperature is 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), the temperature of asphalt (tarmac) can be up to 125 degrees F, which is hot enough to start causing damage to your dog’s paws.
Unlike humans that sweat, dogs mainly use panting to cool down but do sweat from their foot pads when it’s very warm. Sweaty or wet feet (if your dog has been swimming) can soften the paw pads making them more susceptible to damage from hot pavements.
As a general rule if you put the back of your hand to the ground and you cannot keep it there for more than 5 seconds then it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. A burnt paw can be very painful for your dog, therefore you need to look out for signs of damage to further prevent paw pad burns:
Signs of Damage to the Pads
- Limping or refusing to walk
- The top thickened layer of the pad may be missing or will look like it is starting to peel away.
- Blistered or bleeding pads
- Licking the feet (which can make the problem worse).
Try to walk at cooler times of the day or walk your dog on the grass or shaded areas instead of tarmac or concrete. If your dog absolutely has to go out, then covering the feet with dog boots or paw wax may help. Never get them to run on hard surfaces in the summer, grass or wet sand are good alternatives.
As a general rule if you put the back of your hand to the ground and you cannot keep it there for more than 5 seconds then it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pad.
Even the most laid-back dog may be a bit grumpy if he is in pain from burned paw pads. Therefore, it’s good to bear in mind, when handling your dog that any pad injury can be extremely painful and he or she may react differently to usual. For mild burned dog paws you should stand your dogs injured paw in some cold water to help ease the discomfort or press a cold wet cloth against the pads.
Afterwards, pat the feet dry (don’t rub) and you can apply some antibacterial cream or paw balm. However, if you see signs of blisters, bleeding or your dog is limping then more intensive care is needed and a trip to your vet is necessary. Your dog’s pads may need thorough cleaning, bandaging and topical medication. Your vet may also prescribe some pain medication and/or antibiotic ointment.