Thursday, June 2, 2016

Walk Safe For Summer

Hot Surfaces, especially asphalt and pavement, can be extremely dangerous for your dog’s feet.  Paw pads and thick and hardy, but not any more thick and protective than the soles of our own bare feet. 
Pavement, metal, wood, and tar-coated asphalt can get extremely hot baking in the summer sun, and can get much hotter than the ambient temperature outside.
Even more concerning is that you might not always recognize burned or heat affected paw pads right away, because just like typical burns they develop outward signs over time.
Signs of burned or heat affected paw pads include: 
  • limping or refusing to walk
  • pads becoming darker in color
  • sloughing of parts of the paw pads
  • blisters and redness

First Aid for Hot Paws

Keep the foot area cool and clean.  As soon as you notice signs of your dog’s feet being too hot, get onto a grassy area, or carry your dog back home so no continued injury occurs.  Flush or cool feet with cool water or a cool compress to minimize the burn effects.
It is best to have your dog’s feet examined by your veterinarian to determine if antibiotics or pain medications are warranted, and to assess for deeper burns or injuries.
Sometimes socks or bandages need to be worn on feet to protect the affected areas, but mostly to keep your dog from licking at his sore paws, making the situation worse for infection, and pain.

Tips to avoid heat related feet injuries on a walk

  • Check the pavement prior to taking your dog on a walk.  
  • Place your hand (or bare foot) on the pavement for 10 seconds.  If it is too hot, do not let your dog walk on it.
  • Stay on more grassy areas and avoid bare ground when outside in the summer heat.
  • Avoid walking during the hottest parts of the day, walk early in the morning, or in the evening when temperatures are cooling.
  • Remember that bare feet, and paws are softer and more vulnerable after swimming, and you should be extra cautious about where your dog walks after a swim.