Owners love to be able to let their dogs join on the summer fun, but there are some hidden dangers to remember before heading out on a walk with your pooch.
While most of us are aware of the unwanted visitors that hitch more rides on our dogs during the summer months, or the risk of heatstroke when the heat gets too much for Fido, we often forget that their paws are delicate, too.
That’s why it’s important to protect your dog’s paws in the warm months.
Paws and pavements
While you might not normally put much thought into your dog’s daily walk it’s important to think about when and where your walk might lead you. Just like you would do to avoid heatstroke in your dog, go for a walk in the morning or evening as the pavement is much cooler then.
Avoid walking your dog in the afternoon as this is when the pavement will be at its hottest and you risk burning your dog’s paw pads. In the sun, Asphalt can reach twice the temperature of the ambient air, so on a 25-degree day, asphalt can reach over 50 degrees!
Vets in the US came up with a test: Hold the back of your hand on the pavement for 7 seconds – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog and may burn its paws.
Depending on the severity of the burn, it can take up to a few weeks for the effects of the burn to disappear, as you are waiting for the body to grown several new layers of specialised skin.
Stay on the grass
We know, the signs usually tell you to stay off the grass but in summer stick to walks with no pavements or sand. So, think about any local fields or forest you could venture to instead. That way, you avoid any burned paws.
Be careful about fake grass (e.g. AstroTurf, etc) as tests have shown that this can actually get hotter than the asphalt when in direct sunlight for prolonged periods!
Consider dog shoes
If you have a dog that likes adventures whatever the weather or you have a path that gets hot in the garden or you don’t want to risk your dog hurting their paws in summer then you might want to consider buying some dog shoes. Summer dog shoes will often provide protection against burns and sharp object as well as provide some stability as most are anti-slip.
Toughen your dog’s paws
On the cooler days when the pavement’s not too hot as this will help toughen your dog’s paws. This can not only help with the prevention of burns in the future but can also help keep your dog’s nails at the right length.
Wash and check your dog’s paws
Washing and checking your dog’s paws every day will let you check for any damage to their pads or foreign objects present and you’ll know if a visit to the vet is needed.
Sticking to some of these steps can also help you prevent heat stroke in your dog and will help you enjoy the warm weather safely with your dog without a visit to the vet for something that could have been avoided.