The pavement on the gravel of our driveway gets hot! I never used to do this but now I literally put my hand on the pavement when the temperature is hot outside before I walk the dogs. When the summer months come around I've actually started only walking them in the morning as a result of super hot gravel. It heats up fast! If your hand heats up after five seconds then that's too much for your dog's paws to handle!
Can you imagine walking barefoot if your paws had blisters from being burnt? Ouch!
Paw pads consist of a layer of pigmented skin, usually pink or black, covering fatty tissue. Since fat is insulating, these give your pup's paws a bit of protection from colder surfaces in the winter. What about summer though?
Asphalt and gravel can get very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.
The Preventive Vet has a wonderful article about this topic on his site. His recommendation for walks on hot pavement is dog boots. I also recommend dog booties as this is the most effective solution for getting them outside on walks safely (hikes too).
"The best way to protect your dog's paw pads from wear and tear is to have your dog wear booties when they are participating in activities or in environments that could damage their pads. Look for a sturdy, well-fitted, and non-slip boot for your pup."
Pad burns can be so bad that your dog will need medical attention. Many dogs are stoic and you won't know how bad their paws are until it's too late.
How do you know there is an issue? Your dogs may refuse to walk at all or they may start licking constantly. Look at those paws and make sure they're not discolored or red! If you suspect there is an issue then go to the vet.
Pad burn in dogs: solutions to prevent it (boots!)
I'm not sure how well paw wax works as I haven't used it personally but some pet parents swear by it. It creates a protective layer and protects their paws from heat.
We've tried a number of boots with our Beagle mix and doxies. Here's three we really like! We've used Ruff Wear's boots and they not only fit well they are easy to put on and take off. They fit the Beagle mix the best though as the doxies are tough to find boots for that actually fit well.
- Ruff Wear's Grip Trex Boots: The Grip Trex are high-performance boots that protect your dog's paws from extreme environments.
- Kurgo's Dog Boots: These are really lightweight and I like the way they fit. They're designed to make sure they stay on well.
- Petilleur Dog Boots: These are not as durable but they're lightweight and they're fine for short walks. I've used these with the older mini doxie and they're fine for a short distance.
You get what you pay for so buying cheap boots is not the solution. They just fall off and it's a nightmare trying to get them to stay on.
Paw pad burns are really serious and treated just as severe burns would be at a vet hospital. You want to avoid this at all costs. Hot asphalt is the absolute worst and dog's pads will suffer from even a short walk.
Dog walks on grassy areas are fine so if there is a grassy park you can go to then that may be the new afternoon place to hang out.
Paw pads help with your dog's balance, and provide traction, stability, and shock absorption, too. Imagine losing the ability to balance and have traction. This is what you're dealing with when you have an injured paw. Hot surfaces are the worst and I'd categorize burned paw pads as a medical emergency. Heat stroke is another emergency you need to watch for in the summer and dog owners should have vet information easily available!
We'll cover sunscreen for pets in another article.
Have you tried boots with your dogs? Please leave us a comment below!