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DOG / health & care

Beat the heat: How to Protect Your Dog's Paws

Hot sidewalks, asphalt and other surfaces can hurt a dog’s paws

Overview

How to tell if your dog’s paws are hurting

Your dog’s paws have footpads that can usually handle whatever a stroll or walk in nature throws at them. But a lot of human-made surfaces can burn your pooch’s paws, including concrete, metal, pavement, sidewalks and asphalt.

Dogs showing these symptoms may have burned paws:

  • Limping or avoiding walking
  • Licking or chewing feet
  • Paw pads are darker in color than usual
  • Pads are visibly damaged
  • Blisters or redness

First aid for burned paws

If you suspect your dog has burned paw pads:

  • Bring your dog inside right away. Carry your pet if necessary.
  • Flush the foot with cold water or use a cold compress.
  • Try not to let your dog lick the injured pad.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as you possible because burns can become infected. Your dog might need antibiotics or pain medication depending on the severity of the burn. The vet can also rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Paw licking can also be a sign of other problems, such as allergies.

How do I protect my pet’s paws from the heat?

  • Dog booties and socks help shield against the hot pavement.
  • Try to avoid walking on streets or sidewalks in the middle of the day, when it’s hottest.
  • If your pooch seems uncomfortable on a manmade surface, head for grass, which stays cooler than pavement.
  • Do take your dog for walks on pavement when the weather is cooler. This will help your dog’s paws form calluses, which will make the skin thicker and less prone to burns and other injuries.