Caring for a dog in the summer comes with a number of care considerations that aren’t present in the colder months of the year, and all of which need to be factored in to keep your dog safe and happy.
Dogs are at risk of overheating and even developing heatstroke in the summer, the latter of which can prove fatal, and care must be taken to provide free access to shade and water, and avoid your dog overexerting themselves at the hotter times of the day; and of course, to ensure you never leave your dog in a car, or tied up somewhere unsupervised.
All of this means that for many of us, how, when and even where we walk our dogs in the summer needs to be planned with the weather in mind. Not only is the heat itself a problem, but there are other summer considerations too, such as how running and jumping on sun-baked ground can result in injuries, and how algae blooms in ponds and lakes can render the water in it dangerous if your dog drinks it or swims in it.
This is quite a range of different things to have to think about when it comes to summer dog care, but there is another and equally important thing you need to factor in as well, and this is something that is commonly overlooked or even not known about at all by many dog owners.
This is the risk that hot pavements, road, and other tarmac, asphalt and hard surfaces can cause in respect of potentially burning your dog’s paws.
Burnt paws from walking or standing on hot pavements will be very painful for your dog and can be complex to treat and heal, as it is not possible to keep dogs off their feet entirely for the duration of healing.
This is also a surprisingly common and entirely avoidable injury that every veterinary clinic in the UK will treat several cases of each year; but there are ways to make sure your dog is not among them.
This article will explain what you need to know about how pavement burns paws, how to tell if a pavement is too hot for your dog’s paws, and how to prevent hot pavement burning your dog on walks. Read on to learn more.
The air temperature and that of different objects will of course be variable, and pavement in shade won’t be as hot as pavement in full sun, so it is not possible to determine if a pavement will be too hot for your dog simply by checking the weather forecast. However, any time the temperature is above around 22-25 degrees Celsius, you should work on the assumption that pavements are likely to be heating up and be prepared to check every single stretch of pavement every single time before your dog sets foot on it.
You have to manually check each pavement to see if it will be tolerable for your dog to walk on, and remember, checking at the start of the walk or in one area of the pavement isn’t enough as the conditions can vary a lot even within a few feet of distance.
First of all bear in mind that the temperature of the pavement will be hotter than that of the air, so don’t think that just because the weather is warm but not uncomfortable that the pavement will be ok too.
To check if the pavement is cool enough for your dog to walk on, you need to use your own palm, or the sole of your foot. You can move this away immediately if it feels too hot or like it might soon get too hot, which gives you your answer without placing you at risk of burning yourself either!
Don’t just brush the surface or place your hand or foot on it and remove it immediately either; place it down flat and place a light but firm pressure on, and if you cannot keep it there comfortably for over five seconds, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Pavements, road, concrete, and virtually all hot surfaces can burn a dog’s paws
Bear in mind that it is not just pavements that can potentially burn your dog’s paws. Any hard, flat surface including obviously roads can too, as can hard baked earth, marble, tiles and lino if these are outside or otherwise in full sun.
There are a few things to mention here, and the first of them is avoiding such surfaces entirely if this is possible. Don’t forget too that even if you know your usual walking routes well and they’re largely grass, to factor in any roads you might cross or that your dog has to walk on even for just a couple of steps.
Getting your dog protective booties can help to avoid pavement burns, but not all such offerings will be suitable for such a task, so be sure of this before you assume that they are.
Keep checking the pavement regularly and particularly if you move from shade into sun, or something else changes; even after you have been out for a bit and the temperature warms up.
Keep your dog moving, and don’t stop on hard surfaces, as constant contact with the ground form standing still can result in burns even if the dog would have been unscathed if in motion.
Also, keep an eye on your dog and be responsive if they show any signs of distress, like reluctance to walk, walking unusually fast, stepping delicately, or anything else; get them off the surface in question immediately, and check their paws before returning home by a different route to avoid hot pavements.