A dog wearing protective paw pads.

When you are used to wearing shoes all the time, it can be easy to forget that your pet’s paws can take a beating. Especially in the summer months, hot surfaces can be an issue for tender toes. Not to worry, though, the Whole Pet Vet Hospital and Wellness Center is here to help up your summer paw protection game.

How Hot is Too Hot?

When the California sun is shining, things can get heated pretty quickly. It is important as a pet owner to think about how the sun’s rays are affecting the surfaces that we are asking our pet’s to walk on. It is not unusual for surfaces like pavement, asphalt, and packed sand or dirt to get up to 145 F in no time at all.

Pets who walk on these surfaces can easily endure injuries to their paw pads that include blisters and burns. These can be very painful, and if deep enough, can lead to serious infection and other complications. 

Because our pets don’t always complain and may not show obvious signs of discomfort until it is too late, it is our responsibility as pet owners to look out for them.

In general, you should use some common sense when taking your pet out and about. A good rule of thumb: if a surface is too hot to hold your hand comfortably on for 10 seconds, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. 

Summer Paw Protection Pointers

Summer temperatures don’t mean that you and your pup are cursed to remain indoors, though! Use our paw pointers to be sure that your fun in the sun stays enjoyable:

  • Try to take advantage of lower heat times such as early in the morning or at dusk
  • Stick to the grass when possible
  • Think about a pair of well-fitted protective booties for your pup
  • Invest in protective products like Musher’s Secret
  • Keep an eye out for foxtails that like to embed in places like paws
  • Avoid sharp surfaces and dangerous debris like broken glass
  • Pay attention to possibly sharp or irritating bottoms of puddles or other water your pet may enter

If you are worried that your pet may have injured or burned their paw pads, get inside as soon as possible and contact us. You can use some cool water and mild soap to gently clean the paws and cool them off. Pat them dry with a towel. Consider placing a sock if you feel it is necessary, but please avoid bandaging, as this can cause more harm than good if done improperly. 

Many times pets with paw pad burns, irritation, or other injuries do require medical attention. Please bring them in so that we can prescribe appropriate treatments and help with pain and infection. 
Hopefully, though, with a little foresight, you can avoid paw problems all together. Summer paw protection is important, and your pet thanks you for paying attention.