Our pet’s paws are highly sensitive to the heat and rough surfaces in their environment. They can easily get hurt or damaged in the summertime because we underestimate the temperature of the ground. There are specific measures you can take during the summer to help protect your pet’s paws and keep them comfortable throughout the hotter months. Check out these helpful summer care tips from our Ocala veterinarian.
Asphalt is a dangerous surface to walk your dog on when it’s really hot and sunny outside. The street and sidewalk can seriously harm your pet’s paws and cause them serious pain. Instead of choosing a hot surface, go for a grassy or soft area that will be easier on their paws. The best option is to find an area that has been in the shade for a while and will feel a bit cooler on their feet.
Change Your Walking Hours
If you are unable to avoid walking your pet on asphalt, try changing your walking hours. Try to walk your dog before and after the sun is up. By choosing times where the sun is not at its highest, you can help to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
Help Them Create Calluses
When the weather is not too hot, walk your pet on the asphalt and sidewalk to create calluses on their paws. This can harden their paws and help to protect them whenever they do experience a hot surface. Thicker skin on their paws will better prepare them for the occasional hot surface that they may encounter and protect their paws from burn or injury.
Get Them Shoes
Booties can help shield your pet from the harmful effects of hot asphalt. This would be a great option for any pet who lives in an area with little to no grass, like in a city. It is not always possible to avoid walking your pet during the middle of the day, so shoes can protect their paws. Socks can also be a great option, though they would not be ideal if you are walking or hiking with your dog on rough terrain.
How to Tell If Your Pet’s Paws Hurt
There are some clear signs that your pup is experiencing some discomfort. If you see them picking up their paws when they walk onto asphalt, or if they start to whine while walking, that is a clear indicator that they are uncomfortable. If the surface is too hot for your feet without shoes, it is definitely too hot for their paws. If they avoid walking further, it could be due to pain from the heat or the rough surface you are walking on. Damaged or burned paws will appear cracked, red or darker in color than usual, or they may have blisters. Your pet may be frequently licking or chewing at their paws to attempt to alleviate their discomfort. Our Ocala veterinarian wants you to understand what your pet looks like in pain so that you can keep them safe and protected in the future.
Treat Injured Paws
If you do see that your dog is in distress, you should take immediate action to help care for their paws. Bring them inside right away if you feel like they are suffering from the heat. Carry them if necessary to help move them more quickly. Run their paws under cold water or place a cold compress to help stop pain from burns. Don’t let your pet lick the injured pad because it can actually make it worse. Call our office so we can take a look and recommend the correct treatment. Pad burn may be treated with antibiotics and bandages depending on the severity of damage.