Hot in the City? Protect your Pet's Feet!
PetSmart Tara Demarco/PetSmart
Dog’s feet and pads are tough, right? Most people are aware that foot pads can be injured by stepping on something sharp, but we may not always think about the risk of severe heat. Extremely hot pavement, sand, metal and tar-coated asphalt is hard to avoid in the heat of the summers and can seriously injure your pet.
We remember to wear sandals, walk on the grass, or avoid sitting down on heat-exposed surfaces – at least most of the time – but our pets want to go where we go and they can’t remind us to watch out for their feet too. Their pads are tough and they walk on them all year round in all kinds of weather, but we need to be cautious of hot surfaces, and keep in mind that burned pads may not be apparent to the eye.
Signs of burned pads:
- Limping or refusing to walk
- Licking or chewing at the feet (this is also a sign of summer allergies)
- Pads darker in color
- Missing part of a pad
- Blisters or redness
Burned Pad First Aid:
Take your pet to the veterinarian for examination as soon as possible. Burns can lead to infection and your vet can determine if an antibiotic or pain medication is necessary. If you can’t get into your vet right away:
- Get the pet indoors or into a grassy area (carry your pet if necessary).
- Flush with cool water or use a cool compress.
- Keep them from licking the pads.
There are several types of doggie boots or socks that also can be used to help keep your pet’s paws safe. It also might not be a bad idea to carry a towel with you. You never know when you may be in a situation where grass or a shaded area isn’t available for your pet.
Tips to avoid injury:
- Walk your dog in the early morning or evening to avoid paw pad burns. Avoid walking your pet in the heat of the day when the sun beats down, heating the pavement and sand to blistering hot temperatures.
- Walk your dog on the grass. Grass stays cooler than concrete, reducing the risk of paw pad injuries in the summer.
- To help toughen the pads of your dog’s feet, take frequent walks on the pavement during cool times of the day. This will help promote the formation of calluses which make the skin of a dog’s foot pad thicker and less prone to injuries like burns and cuts.
Tara DeMarco, Pet Parent of 2 French Mastiffs, an English Bulldog and 4 well behaved and beautiful parrots, has been a part of the PetSmart team for approximately 17 months. Initially serving as a paralegal, she found her niche and passion in Pet Safety in January 2010. As part of her commitment as the Pet Safety Manager, she has been dedicated to educating Pet Parents and fellow associates on the importance of pet safety and awareness.