Here Comes the Sun and with-it potential dangers for your dog’s paws.
Dogs Paws seem so tough and durable, used every day, everywhere. But did you know they are actually as sensitive as human feet? Many people recognize the need to protect paws from salt and ice in winter, but did you know that the summer months can be just as deadly? Maybe more so.
Here are some of the common dog paw problems that occur in hot weather and what you can do to prevent them
Burns from Hot Pavement, Asphalt and Sand
Burns due to hot surfaces are one of the top injuries Vets see in dogs in warm seasons.
“Dogs can suffer burns to their paws on days most dog owners wouldn’t consider exceedingly hot” (Dr. Alison Mason, DVM) On a day when the outside temperature is only 77F, the pavement can reach an astonishing 125F.
Although burned paws are becoming an increasing and serious problem, there is a lack of awareness, since many pet owners don’t realize that while paw pads seem hard and rugged, they are as susceptible to burns as our feet and hands. They are designed to withstand significant pressure, not extreme temperatures.
Veterinarians suggest testing the pavement with your hand or bare foot by holding it there for about 7 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pooch to walk unprotected. The outside temperature doesn’t even need to be sweltering for your pet’s paws to burn. On a day when the mercury is 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) with low humidity, the pavement can reach an astonishing 125 degrees F (51 C). At 87 degrees F pavement can reach a whopping 143 degrees. At these temperatures, your dog’s paws could severely burn in less than a minute.
Pavement isn’t the only surface that can burn your pup’s paws in summer heat. Other surfaces such as artificial grass, sand and asphalt can also reach scalding temperatures in the summer sun.
Treatment for paw pad burns can be long and arduous, usually requiring bandages on the feet and administration of antibiotics to prevent infection from occurring while you wait for several layers of tissue to regrow.
What can you do to protect your dog’s paws from burns?
Aside from taking walks in the evening or not walking your dog at all, one simple solution is to use lightweight, breathable dog boots. Make sure any boots are specifically designed for warm weather, like Poochy Pawz City Shoes™, which include moisture wicking fabrics, mesh panels for natural circulation and a heat resistant sole. Never use a winter dog boot or a rubber bootie in the summer as they are too thick and heavy and do not allow for sweat to escape. Ventilation and natural cooling are essential in hot weather as dogs sweat through their paws. If this heat and moisture is not released it can lead to serious bacterial and fungal infections.
Cuts and Injuries
As the weather heats up and we are out walking our dogs more often, they can encounter all sorts of injuries from cuts, abrasions and burns from cigarettes. Always:
- inspect your dog’s paws daily
- After walks, wipe paws (we like baby wipes) to remove dirt and grit
- if you do see any cuts apply antiseptic and have the paw inspected by your vet
- if your dog’s paw gets cut keep it bandaged in a gauze and protect the foot in a lightweight dog boot until the paw heals.
Germs & Bacteria
Would you walk along dirty streets in bare feet? Well think about all the dirt, germs and bacteria dogs collect while walking bare-pawed. Then, they track all these wonderful things into our homes and even our beds.:
To keep their paws free from all the nasties, the best solution is a pair of lightweight, comfortable dog booties so germs can be left at the door.