Summer Dog Paw Protection
It’s getting warmer, which means summer is pretty much around the corner. As the temperature rises, so does surface temperatures. With that said, humans are oblivious to hot surfaces because we wear shoes; we don’t know how hot surfaces can become. Now, let’s transfer this to dogs. They don’t wear shoes and their paw pads are not invincible calluses. Your dog’s paws are super sensitive like the heels of our feet and can easily burn from exposure to warm or hot surfaces. Some dog paw burns are so severe that layers of paw pads disappear, causing tissue to be exposed. This happens way more frequently than most pet owners would ever think.
So it’s important you protect your dog’s paws from burns caused by hot surface areas, such as sidewalks, roadways, gravel, artificial grass (this stuff gets really hot!) and other surfaces that heat up quickly.
How to Protect Dog Paws From Heat
Feel Surfaces For Heat
Don’t assume surfaces are cool. Ignore the temperature outside because sidewalks can heat up quickly even on sunny 75-degree days. You need to feel surfaces for a true test.
Before walking your dog, take a moment and feel the temperature of different surfaces by standing on them barefoot. If you’re unable to stand or walk for a short period of time on any heated surface, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws too.
Purchase Dog Booties
There are several ways to protect your dog’s paw pads from the heat, but the easiest way is walking your dog early in the morning. Allowing cement, gravel, asphalt or any easily heated surface to cool down overnight is best, but make sure walks are completed before or as the sun is rising. An added bonus of walking your dog early in the morning is being able to watch the beautiful sunrise with your best buddy!
If walking in the early morning doesn’t work for you, and you prefer to walk your dog late in the afternoon, remember that outdoor surfaces are still scorching hot. You’ll need to purchase protective dog booties for your dog’s feet. My favorite brands are Muttlinks and Ruffwear booties. They’re easy to put on and stay on and they’ll protect your dog’s feet. However, never assume your dog’s new booties are invincible. Always check your dog’s feet several times (every couple of minutes) while he’s wearing his new booties. You want to make sure they’re working. Once you’ve test-driven your dog’s new booties several times, and you know your dog’s feet are protected, then have fun!
What Doesn’t Work
While I try to focus on what works (being positive), sometimes I need to discuss ways that don’t keep your dog’s paws protected from the heat. Paw wax, thin socks or booties, or dog booties with thin soles won’t last on hot surfaces. We all know walking on hot concrete wearing socks, thin lotion or thin-soled shoes is painful. Splurge on the good dog booties that truly work. 🙂
In Hot Climates, Set Up a Potty Area
Dogs don’t necessarily understand that hot surfaces will burn their feet. This sounds a bit naive, but do you remember walking on warm sand at the beach? It didn’t feel hot at first, but after walking for a couple of minutes, it got really hot!
Keeping this in mind, if you live in a really hot climate, fence off a shaded area for potty breaks during the day. We live in the desert. It’s literally 104 degrees today and it’s only early May, so we’ve sectioned off a shaded portion of our yard to protect our dogs’ feet. Never assume certain surfaces are cool. I was shocked at how warm our little patch of grass could get during the day.
Ignore the air temperature. Take a moment to feel surfaces with your bare feet before walking your dog on it. 🙂
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