We wouldn't walk around outside barefoot when the temps hit the triple digits.
Yet some folks expect their dogs to be able to tolerate hot pavement or hiking trails.
While your dog's paw pads may be tough, they are still sensitive. Hot sidewalks, asphalt and other surfaces can burn a dog’s paws, sometimes critically. Some dogs paws are burned so badly they need medical care and even surgery.
"I continue to be amazed by the lack of consideration being given to the well-being of our four-legged friends," said Melissa Gable of the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. "I cringe every time I see someone walking their dog in the heat of the day."
The Arizona Humane Society has already seen its first sad case relating to the summer heat.
"Bruce" the border collie came into the shelter with blistered paws from the hot pavement. He was found running along the 202 Red Mountain freeway on May 5, a particularly hot day here in the Valley when temperatures reached 108 degrees.
The pavement beneath Bruce’s paws, however, was much hotter and the temperature gauge read a sweltering 160 degrees.
When Emergency Animal Medical Technicians (EAMTs) from the Arizona Humane Society picked up the dog, all four of his paws were blistered and burned from running on the hot pavement. After two weeks of medical treatment in the Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital, Bruce is now healed and able to walk on all four paws again.
Bruce’s story serves as a reminder of the dangers that pets face during the summer months here in Phoenix.
Pet owners are advised to:
- Avoid long walks and strenuous hikes
- Only walk dogs early in the morning or late at night
- Utilize protective booties if dogs must go outside (for vet appointments etc.)
- Remember, “a hot street will burn feet!” Hold your bare foot on the ground for seven seconds
And finally, remember that if it's too hot for your bare feet, chances are it is too hot for your dog's paws.
So what if you suspect your dog's paws have gotten burned? Here is how to tell if your dog’s paws are hurting
- 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 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.
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