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Protect Your Pet from Painful Paw Pad Burns

dog walking pavement hot

How to Prevent Burns and Overheating

Avoiding walking your dog on concrete, asphalt or other hot surfaces is the best way to prevent burns, but there are a few other things you can do to prevent burns and overheating. These tips will help your pet stay safe when the temperatures soar:

  • Walk your dog on concrete when temperatures are cooler to build up calluses. Calluses provide a little extra protection from temperature extremes.
  • Take walks on grassy surfaces when the pavement is too hot.
  • Bring your pet inside when the heat and humidity rises to unsafe levels. Turn on the air-conditioning or use plenty of fans on hot, humid days to prevent heat stroke.
  • Offer plenty of water on hot days.
  • Don't leave your pet in the car. The temperature in a vehicle can become dangerously high in as little as 10 minutes, even if you keep the car window slightly open.
  • Turn on the air-conditioning in your vehicle and let it run for several minutes before you or your pets enter.
  • Place a blanket or towel on hot car seats to protect your pet from burns.
  • Buy dog booties or socks to protect your pet's feet if walking on asphalt or cement is unavoidable.

Have you ever tried to walk across the beach barefoot on a very hot day? After the first few steps, you probably set a new speed record as you sprinted to the water, or maybe you gave in and put on your sandals before taking another step. Your pet experiences the same reaction during summer walks on the sidewalk or road. Despite the common belief that paw pads provide the ultimate protection for your furry friend, your pet's feet are vulnerable.

Your Pet’s Built-In Shoes

Paw pads protect your pet's feet just as your shoes protect your feet. They provide traction and act as shock absorbers when your pet jumps and runs. Walking over sticks and rocks isn't uncomfortable for your dog or cat because the pads distribute weight very effectively over the entire surface of the pad, minimizing discomfort. Although your pet's paws are very tough, they can be injured by sharp objects or exposure to hot or cold temperatures.

It's Hotter Than You Think

Concrete and asphalt heat up quickly. On average, these surfaces are 40 to 50 degrees higher than the air temperature. On a 90-degree-day, the temperature of the sidewalk may reach a sizzling 130 degrees. Concrete and asphalt tend to retain heat for hours. Even when temperatures start to drop, it's still may not be safe to walk your pet. Although both dogs and cats can experience pad burns, the problem is more common in dogs, as most cats don't spend time going for walks on a leash.

Not Just Pavement

Burns can also occur when your dog walks on the sand or is exposed to hot metal or other hot surfaces on a car or truck. Even riding in the seat of a car that's been sitting in the sun for hours can cause burns.

Take the Test

One simple test makes it easy to determine if it's too hot to take your dog for a walk. Place your hand on the concrete and asphalt for at least 10 seconds. If you find it hard to keep your hand on the pavement, it's best to skip the walk or delay it.

Pay Attention to Your Dog's Behavior

Dogs want to please their owners and may continue to walk even if they are very uncomfortable. When the street or on the sidewalk is just too hot, your dog may:

  • Hop from foot to foot to limit contact with the pavement
  • Head toward the grassy area between the street and sidewalk
  • Refuse to continue walking after touching a hot surface

Signs of a Burn

If your dog experiences a burn, you may notice:

  • White spots or blisters on the paws
  • Redness or darkening of the pads
  • Chewing or licking the paws
  • A missing part of the pad
  • Limping

What to Do if Your Pet Experiences a Burn

Use cool water to clean off the pads and apply an antibacterial cream or ointment. Place gauze or a bandage over the burns and make an appointment with your pet's veterinarian as soon as possible. If you're concerned that your pet may have experienced paw pad burns, or it's time for your furry friend's checkup, give us a call. We're committed to providing excellent healthcare for your pets.

Sources:

PetMD: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, 07/28/11

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2011/july/burnt_pad_denial_in_dogs-11436

Pet Sitters: How Hot is That Sidewalk?

http://www.petsitters.org/docs/How%20Hot%20is%20That%20Sidewalk.pdf

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Keeping Dogs’ Paws Healthy, 11/19/12

http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/caring-for-your-dog/keeping-dogs-paws-healthy.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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