The “pause” that refreshes! Cooling her paws in a kiddie pool is Mazy, an 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier. She found the pavement too hot on her soles for a walk, but a soak in the pool was much to her liking as temperatures soared.
We have had a lot of very warm weather the last few weeks, and most of us are spending a little extra time soaking up the sun.
Many pet owners are getting out for extra walks — and to quote the Drifters, some days your shoes get so hot, you wish your tired feet were fireproof.
We really feel the heat through our shoes on that hot blacktop. So you can only imagine what that means from our shoeless walking companions!
While our furry friends have tough toes, their paws aren’t naturally protected from extreme temperatures the pavement can reach in the summer sun. The pads on your pooch’s paws can and do burn.
Burned paws are not always noticed right away. Many pet owners come home from a walk and notice the problem several hours later when their dog begins to show signs of pain.
Depending on the severity of the burns, symptoms may include:
• Limping, favouring a paw or refusing to walk on one or more of their feet;
• Licking, chewing or biting at feet;
• Paws darkening in colour or turning bright red;
• Swelling, cracking and blistered paws;
If you notice your dog has burned his or her paws on the pavement, use cold water or ice packs to help cool them down, and ensure the paws are clean.
If the burn is severe, your pet will probably require medication for the pain and swelling. Burns are also very prone to infection and must be kept extremely clean. In most cases, antibiotics are needed.
Dogs that have spent time swimming or wading in the water are at a higher risk to damage their feet on the pavement as water can make the paws softer and easier to damage.
Asphalt is not the only hot surface that can cause damage in the summer heat. Remember that things like blacktop pavement, metals and other dark-coloured surfaces are all risk things to have around your pet’s paws.
Dog shoes are an option for some dogs, and they can help to keep your dog’s paws protected.
However, some dogs don’t like to have their paws wrapped up, and won’t tolerate wearing anything on their feet. If your furry friend is not a fan of footwear, there are other options.
One is the peel-and-stick pads. They are much cooler than shoes and cover less of the foot surface area. However, the peel-and-stick pads are not always tolerated by dogs that are sensitive about their feet, and some dogs simply dislike the adhesive sticking to their feet.
Paw wax, like Musher’s Secret, is another option. This is a dense barrier wax, non-toxic, that still allows the paws to breathe and sweat. This is a perfect alternative for pets that dislike shoes, wraps and sticky pads on their feet.
There are stories of dogs burning their paws badly standing on blacktop pavement for only a few minutes!
If your pet is going without foot protection, try to stay away from the pavement and choose grassy areas, dirt trails and other gentler walking surfaces for your canine companion.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 19, 2012