(Download my free Hot Surfaces Poster here!)
Host surfaces burn paws! When you walk down the street in your shoes you may not think about how hot pavement is for your dog’s bare “feet”, but you should. Pavement, asphalt, metal, brick, artificial grass, sand, dry grass, and even wood (not to mention car seats!) can get blazing hot and cause severe burns on your pet’s paws. These materials absorb heat from the sun and some can stay hot for hours (even after the sun goes down) and reach temperatures of 145° F / 62 ºC.
Severe Burns to two or more paws can essentially leave your pet temporarily handicapped – not to mention bored and miserable – during the healing process.
Test surfaces with your hand (front or back of hand), if it is too hot on your hand in 5-10 seconds, it is too hot for those cute paws!
KNOW THE SIGNS OF BURNED PAWS: limping, aversion to walking, licking and chewing paws, blisters and redness on paw pads, darkened paw pads, and parts of pads peeled off/missing.
WALKING TIPS: Choose grassy areas and shady zones. Walk on natural grass. Walk in shade. Walk during the coolest hours of the day (usually early morning and late evening). Limit exercise on hot days. Avoid surfaces that absorb heat (mentioned above): asphalt, pavement/concrete, metal, sand, artificial grass, wood, etc.
You can put your pup in booties, BUT keep in mind dogs cool down through their paw pads, so do not keep them on for extended periods of time. Always carry water with you when you walk.
One of my favorite go to items is dog paw wax like Musher’s which helps protect paws from heat (it also protects against the cold, salted roads, and is moisturizing!). It is a bit messy, so applying it outside and wiping paws before heading back inside (which we should do anyway) is a good idea.
DO YOU SUSPECT BURNED PAWS?
- Rinse feet with cold water or use a cold compress.
- Do not let your dog lick the injured pad(s).
- See your vet as soon as possible.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE:
- Always perform the 5-Second asphalt test before walking.
- Check your dog’s paws after each walk.
- Consider investing in breathable, mesh booties.
- Apply paw wax like Musher’s on pads before walking.
- Moisturize pads all year round, so they stay healthy and strong.
MORE TIPS FOR HOT DAYS:
Keep an eye on pets basking outside on a warm or hot day (especially elderly and short muzzled dogs). They may not realize that they’re heating up like an oven.
Keep fans running for a nice breeze.
Give frozen treats like watermelon or frozen pup pops (they are fun to make so buy some molds).
Don’t overlook a cool damp washcloth under armpits/groin area (these areas release heat and a little cool washcloth applied will help cool your pup down).
Other great assets that can keep your pup entertained and cooler— kiddie pools and sprinklers!
Make sure fresh water and a cool place to rest is available at all times.
PLEASE remember, what may seem like mild weather to you can be too warm or even dangerously hot for your pet. Pets depend on us to keep them safe, so be a good pet parent and be educated and stay vigilant! xoAmy
A few of my favorite Beat the Heat ideas:
When I lived in L.A. there was a horrible heatwave one summer and the electricity went out—not a great combination with 4 dogs. Getting a baby pool and filling it with water and ice cubes (I bought a bag) was the best thing ever! My dogs were able to cool down and have fun all at the same time! I had a hard plastic baby pool, but these portable/collapsable pools seem pretty cool: This pool comes in different sizes, too:
Here are a bunch of baby pools that might make your brain explode. I took a look at quite a few and I think it is the SAME pool rebranded! Oodles of fun baby pools!
A great idea: cooling bandanas, collars, and vests when you have to be in the heat for whatever crazy reason: This cooling collar has a lot of good reviews and it is cute!
I’m never ever without Musher’s. Rub onto paws and it protects agains hot surfaces, rough terrain, sand, salt and snow and its really great for dry/cracked paws. And the best protection against really hot surfaces—don’t walk your dog on them.
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