Paw pads are comprised of fat, connective tissue and thick skin, but that doesn’t mean dogs can’t feel the ground they walk on.

Sure, their specialized anatomy allows them to hike on rocky trails or run on scratchy pavement, and their paw pads stand up to a lot of action over time. However, summer paw safety is critical to avoid injuries associated with walking on sizzling surfaces.

Relative Ease

Soft paws may be more common on small dogs and cats because they are less likely than larger animals to walk or run on rough textures – especially in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. What this means for pets with softer paw pads is that when they are exposed to a hotter than normal surface, they are more likely to suffer from burns, blisters, irritation or cracking.

Proper Protection

While seasoned pets like hunting or hiking dogs have rougher skin on their paw pads that insulate them against the dangerously hot ground, it doesn’t mean they should be constantly exposed to it.

The pet experts recommend exercising with your pet during the hours of dawn and dusk. This not only helps you prevent heatstroke, but keeps the goal of summer paw safety within reach. When the sun starts to creep higher into the sky, surface temperatures can easily soar into the triple digits.

It’s always a good idea to walk your pet in grassy or shady areas. Provide lots of fresh, cool water, and lots of breaks.

The Rule of Thumb

If you are wondering how hot is too hot for your pet to walk around outside, we recommend applying this rule of thumb: If it’s too hot for you to stand barefoot outside on the concrete or asphalt, it is definitely too hot for your pet’s paw pads.

All About Booties

Providing your pet with protective booties can be an important component of summer paw safety. Train your pet to wear them around the house at first, offer treats and praise, and give them opportunities to get used to them while walking outside. You might be surprised how much your pet actually prefers them after a while!

Swimming Softens

It’s important to remember that water softens the skin on the paws. If your pet does any swimming or wading, be extra careful when they get out. Sand, gravel, black asphalt, concrete and more can cause burns.

Check your pet’s paw pads every day this summer for any evidence of cracking, bleeding, swelling, blistering, and irritation. Please let us know if your pet is suffering from any injury to their paws as it can be extremely painful. If they appear lethargic, unable to walk without limping, or they’re chewing or licking at their feet, it’s time to address their injuries.

Summer Paw Safety

We hope that by preventing any issues to your pet’s feet, they can continue accompanying you wherever your adventures take you this summer.

If you have additional questions or concerns about summer paw safety, we’re always here for you at Naperville Animal Hospital.