Vet issues summer walk warning after treating dog with burned off paw pads

Do you love walking with your dog? It could be more dangerous in the summer than most pet owners understand.

Veterinary Medical Lake Hospital in Medical Lake, Washington, has given dog owners a warning of danger concerning hot pavement following treatment of several cases of severely burnt paw pads on a dog named Olaf.

Burnt paw pads are a problem that veterinarians see every summer, but many pet owners may not know that dogs ‘ paw pads are quite sensitive, though they seem rougher and tougher than human feet and hands. They can endure a considerable amount of pressure, but not temperatures that are too extreme.


Before taking your dog for a walk, veterinarians suggest testing the pavement by standing barefoot or holding the back of your hand on the pavement for seven seconds. If you feel pain or like you can’t hold your foot or hand there for too long, then the pavement is definitely too hot for your companion.

Not only are the hottest days the ones you should be careful of as pet owners, the ground can reach 125 ° on a day when the temperature is only 77 ° F with a low humidity! If the outside temperature is just 10 degrees warmer, the pavement temperature can climb all the way to 143 degrees.

A dog’s paws would burn seriously at these temperatures in just a few minutes.

The ground is not the only surface your pup could burn in during the summer heat. VetsNow warns against excessive heat on artificial grass, since it contains black rubber material from recycled tires. Scalding temperatures may also occur to other artificial areas such as running pathways and tennis courts in Summer Sun.

Taking a look at symptoms of discomfort, such as your dog holding its feet, vocalizing, panting or chewing its feet after walking. It is important to place your dog on grass or other cooler surface and flush with water your paw as fast as possible when you notice any of these symptoms.

“There might not be many clinical signs except pain expressed by the pet when it happens but, just as in people with burns, you can see blisters that can rupture and the pet might be acting painful and licking at their feet,” said Dr. M. Duffy Jones, DVM, of PHA in Atlanta, Georgia.

Burned paw pads can be long and strenuous, normally involving foot bandages and antibiotics to prevent infection while waiting for several tissue layers to re-grow. During the healing process many dogs with burned paws benefit from the use of boots to protect the sensitive tissue.

Veterinarians suggest walking early in the morning or late night (before 8 a.m.) when the pavement is coolest or simply by avoiding artificial surfaces by walking on dirt roads or real grass to avoid this painful injury to your dog.

“Walk[ your dog] on concrete throughout the year,” Jones offers as additional advice, “As you grow thicker skin when you go to the black foot in the summer, the best way to avoid making your foot pads good and difficult is to avoid walking in the winter and taking them out for 5-mile jog [in the summer].

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