Keep your pets safe this summer!
Summer is the most dangerous time of year to have your pets outside. Scorching temperatures and hot surfaces limit the time your dog should be outdoors (roughly 20 minutes), as well as what surfaces they should walk and play on when they are outside. If your pet walks on a surface that's too hot, it can be damaging to their paws, leaving them burned and painful to walk on.
During the hotter months of the year, avoid walking on surfaces that absorb the heat, including asphalt, metal, wood, sand, and the pavement. Some surfaces can hold temperatures of over 145 degrees and can stay hot for several hours after the sun goes down. For example, when it's only 77 degrees outside, the asphalt could still temp at 125 degrees (Wowza).
What Could Happen
In the case that your pet's paws were burned, a few signs to look out for are limping, not wanting to walk, licking or biting at their paws, red or pink discoloration, or missing pieces of their pads.
Here is an example:
Courtesy of Dog Time
Once their paws are burned, it's painful for them to walk and they will require medical treatment to heal their injuries.
If you experience any of these signs, you need to take them to the vet immediately. They will recommend a care regimen such as antibiotics, pain medication, and wrapping their paws!
What to Do
The easiest and simplest solution is to walk your dog in a shaded area where there is lots of available grass, like a park. To avoid injury, test the surface before you walk your dog on it by pressing your hand firmly on the ground. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog!
A place like this is best: There are lots of shaded paths and cooling ground for them to put their paws on.
Check the weather before you leave the house. If it's over 90 degrees, do not walk your dog outside and instead let them out for a potty break for only 20 minutes maximum and then bring them back inside right away. Choose to walk your dog earlier in the morning, before 9 a.m., and later at night when the pavement is cooler.
In order to prevent burning our pets' paws, we drive our dogs over to the park instead of walking them on a paved surface. It's more comfortable for both us and our dogs – there are plenty of cool surfaces to walk on and plenty of shade from the trees. We also walk our dog early in the morning when the weather is cooler to prevent the risk of a heat stroke.
If you have no other choice but to walk them on the pavement because you don't have the time or access to a cooler surface, consider protecting their paws. A great solution is to buy them little boots—they may make them walk funny, but their feet will be protected. In the scenario that your dog will refuse to walk with them, you can easily fix this solution by making a paw wax!
What have you done to protect your dog's paws from the heat? Have you tried the wax or booties? Do you walk them in the park? Tell us in the comments!