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Golden retriever walking on the pavement at sunset.

Health & Wellness

When the pavement is too hot for dogs’ paws

Protect the paws!

Dog walks are a way to bond, to release pent up energy and enjoy some fresh air with your pup. But, on hotter days, a walk may do more harm than good for your dog — especially in urban areas. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough explains when the ground is too hot for your pet’s paws. 

How to tell if the ground is too hot for dog’s paws

Paw pads are mostly made of layers of fat and covered by thick skin. These features provide traction and cushion while protecting them in cold and hot weather. The more your dog walks on hard or rough surfaces, the more calloused and thicker the skin on their pads becomes — but, that doesn’t mean they’re protected in all climates. 

Sometimes the weather is just too hot for your pup to be outside and we created a guide to help on those warmer days. However, even when the temperature is in the safe zone it’s important to be sure your dog’s paws will be comfortable. Touch your hand to the ground for 5 seconds. If it’s painful or uncomfortable for you, then it’s definitely too hot for your pup’s paws. 

Some dogs don’t show obvious signs of pain. So, it’s important to use the hand trick to make sure the ground is cool enough for them. Some clear signs of pain are: 

  • Holding their paws up
  • Limping
  • Barking or howling
  • Licking their paws

How to bring your dog outside when the ground is too hot

If you’re worried the ground is too hot for your dog’s paws, avoid mid-day walks around 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM when the temperature is usually the hottest. Or, try these other walk solutions:

  • Avoid asphalt (especially during the peak heat) 
  • Walk on grass (not turf) 
  • Carry them to shady, cool areas
  • Use a stroller
  • Don’t walk for too long on hot days
  • Use booties to protect their paws

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What happens when dogs burn their paws?

When dogs burn their paws, it’s painful and they’ll likely develop visible wounds like skin discoloration, redness, blisters or even missing pieces of their pads. 

Dog paw burn treatments

If your dog is showing these signs, take them to the vet. Depending on the severity, your vet may bandage affected areas, provide antibiotics, pain control, topical medications or provide wound care such as foot soaks. 

Depending on the severity of the burn, the recovery period could range from weeks to months. Follow the vet’s orders to make your dog as comfortable as possible. 

With these tips, your pup can hit the open road safely. There’s no telling where the long summer walks will take you. 

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

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