A white dog sitting with their human

As we round the corner toward the dog days of summer, it’s essential to approach scorching temperatures with a hearty dose of scrutiny. 

The heat risks pets face simply don’t let up, but there are many things owners can do to prevent season-related illness and injury. For starters, knowing when it’s too hot for your pet to walk outside (let alone run around!) is critical to avoiding an emergency. While pets need protection from heatstroke, summer paw safety is of equal importance.

Too Hot!

As soon as the days consistently hit above 80 degrees, pets can be in harm’s way. There are typically ongoing reminders about preventing heatstroke and ways to keep them cool, but summer paw safety may not always get the same response. However, since paw pads are exposed to sizzling pavement, asphalt, gravel, and sand, it’s only fair to prevent burns, blisters, cracks, and other possible injuries.

Us Without Shoes

If it’s too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, it is generally considered too hot for your pet. This risk is even more pronounced if you are walking, hiking, or running with your dog on rugged or rocky terrain. Even a pleasantly warm, breezy summer day can create hazardous conditions for your pet’s delicate, sensitive paws. 

A great rule of thumb for summer paw safety is to limit your pet’s exposure to hot surfaces. Walk or exercise with them outside only during the early morning and evening hours. While out and about, encourage your pet to walk along grassy or shady pathways. 

Taking a Look

The Pet Experts recommend close observation of your pet’s behavior, gait, and appearance of the paw pads. After any time outdoors this summer, simply follow these rules:

  • Watch how they’re walking, breathing and panting
  • Touch the bottom of the feet for any possible abrasions or irritations; swelling, bleeding, redness, cracks, blisters and more signal prompt attention.
  • Since cats and dogs mainly sweat through their paw pads, you’ll likely notice their feet are damp – this moisture softens the pads and makes them less resistant to injury
  • Always be sure to keep your pet’s nails trimmed
  • If they are limping, refusing to walk, or licking at their feet they may need immediate veterinary care. If they are in great pain, your pet may be difficult to handle. Please call us for help.

Upholding Summer Paw Safety

Protective boots can be extremely helpful for a proactive approach to summer paw safety, however, many pets won’t accept them. 

To reduce any painful symptoms, the Pet Experts recommend soaking the feet in cool water and draping damp cloths over the paws. Pat and dry before applying antibacterial ointment. If injuries include blisters and bleeding, professional wound cleaning and dressing may be necessary. 

Extreme Extremities

The possible outcome for your pet’s paws this summer is to take extra care toward preventing injuries. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let the Pet Experts know.