Everybody loves the lazy days of summer and enjoying the fun activities that go along with it. And our dogs are no different! All it takes is grabbing the leash or uttering of the words, ‘out or ride’ and it’s game on! Walks in the neighborhood or park, catching a frisbee or a stroll through downtown with you is the highlight to their day. But as the temperatures climb, so does a lurking danger right under our feet that many dog owners might not expect – scorching hot asphalt and concrete. It sears their paws with every step. So, how can you avoid painful burns and blisters?
Function of A Dog’s Paw Pads
It’s a common misconception that our dog’s paw pads are a means to protection. In actuality, the function of paw pads is to promote balance and stability, enhance traction, and act as a shock absorber to the bones and soft tissue – like ligaments and tendons. Additionally, dogs will sweat through their paws. At no time are they meant to withstand extreme temperatures.
Just How Hot is It?
Even Texas natives know that walking barefoot on asphalt/concrete on a hot day is a recipe for painful burnt feet. So, why would it be acceptable for our dogs? Consider for a moment the average summer temperatures in Austin are a stifling 95°. Research has proven the temperature of the pavement is a fiery 140°! What does that mean your beloved pet? Permanent damage and scarring after just one minute of contact!
Even when it’s a delightful 77° and breezy outside, the temperature of the asphalt under your dog’s paws is 125° – enough to destroy skin tissue after just 20 seconds of exposure. As for concrete vs asphalt? It’s not much better. Concrete tends to run an average of 10° cooler than asphalt and still just as painful and destructive as asphalt.
Signs of Burnt Pads
Burnt pads can be a serious and painful injury resulting in many complications. Be sure to seek veterinary assistance immediately if suspect your dog has burnt pads. If you not sure if your dog has burnt pads, pay mind to their behavior. Additionally, you can turn the paw over to closely examine them. Some signs of burnt pads can include:
Limping or hopping on hot pavement
Refusal to walk
Darker coloring of pads
Missing swatches of pad
Licking or chewing paws excessively
Keeping Those Paws Cool
This does not mean your dog needs to be housebound by any means. There are preventive steps you can take like walking on the grass or in the shade instead of the pavement. Venture out in cooler temperatures just after sunrise or before sunset. Maybe when it’s cloudy or after an afternoon thunderstorm. Wearing protective boots is always a great alternative! In addition, using emollients like Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Wax or Paw Nectar will help heal, soften and protect your dog’s pads. However, emollient barrier waxes should never be a substitute for avoiding the hot pavement alone.