Although dog’s paws may appear tough and hard, they are as sensitive as human feet. “Dogs can suffer burns to their paws on days most dog owners wouldn’t consider exceedingly hot” warns Dr. Alison Mason, a veterinarian and medical director at Hope Animal Hospital in Brooklyn.
Although burned paws are becoming an increasing and serious problem, there is a lack of awareness, since many pet owners don’t realize that while paw pads seem hard and rugged, they are as susceptible to burns as our feet and hands. They are designed to withstand significant pressure, not extreme temperatures.
Veterinarians suggest testing the pavement with your hand or bare foot by holding it there for about 7 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pooch to walk unprotected. The outside temperature doesn’t even need to be sweltering for your pet’s paws to burn. On a day when the mercury is 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) with low humidity, the pavement can reach an astonishing 125 degrees F (51 C). At 87 degrees F pavement can reach a whopping 143 degrees. At these temperatures, your dog’s paws could severely burn in less than a minute.
Pavement isn’t the only surface that can burn your pup’s paws in summer heat. VetsNow warns that artificial grass can also get dangerously hot because it contains black crumb rubber from recycled tires. Other artificial surfaces like running tracks and tennis courts can also reach scalding temperatures in the summer sun. If you see your dog holding up its feet, limping during walks or licking, chewing its paws after a walk on a hot day, seek medical attention. Treatment for paw pad burns can be long and arduous, usually requiring bandages on the feet and administration of antibiotics to prevent infection from occurring while you wait for several layers of tissue to regrow.
What can you do to protect your dog’s paws from burns?
Aside from taking walks in the evening or not walking your dog at all, one simple solution is to use lightweight, breathable dog boots. Make sure any boots are specifically designed for warm weather, like Poochy Pawz City Shoes™, which include moisture wicking fabrics, mesh panels for circulation and a heat resistant sole. Dogs that suffer burns can also benefit from City Shoes during the healing process to protect delicate tissue.