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What Your Dog Can’t Tell You About Hot Pavement

What Your Dog Can’t Tell You About Hot Pavement

Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? If you wouldn’t walk barefoot across the parking lot, should your dog?

Dogs are experts at not complaining. When they’re hurt or sick, our canine friends are hardwired not to show weakness. It’s in their DNA—so it’s up to us responsible dog owners to read their silent cries for help.

Do my dogs paws hurt?

Unlike us, your dog has nifty little footpads that protect them in rough terrain. While these pads are usually fine for a hike through the woods or around the block, they simply aren’t suited to most man-made surfaces like sidewalks, metal, concrete or asphalt.

While a variety of issues could cause your dogs to show the following symptoms (which is just another reason to choose the right pet insurance), these may be signs that your dog has burned paws:

  • Limping
  • Avoiding walking
  • Chewing or licking their feet
  • Darkened paw pads
  • Visible damage to the paw pads
  • Redness
  • Blisters

OK, so your dog has burned paws…now what?

First-aid for paw burns

If you believe your dog is suffering burns on their footpads, you should:

  • Take your dog inside immediately, carrying them if needed
  • Flush their foot/feet with cold water, or apply a cold compress
  • Don’t let your dog lick their injured foot—dogs love to lick, and it will only make the damage worse

Once you’ve taken these first steps, you should take your dog to the vet ASAP. Unfortunately, burns can easily become infected, leading to much worse pain and a potentially dangerous illness if left untreated.

Your dog may need pain medication or antibiotics, depending on the burn’s severity. Your vet can also help you rule out other causes of your dog’s symptoms, if any. For example, excessive paw licking may be a sign of allergies, among others.

Heat protection for sensitive doggy feet

Dog lovers have several options available to protect their pooch’s tootsies on dangerously hot surfaces, such as:

  • Dog socks or booties
  • Staying off hot surfaces when the sun is strongest
  • Switch your walk from your usual sidewalk or favorite roadside to more natural scenery, like grass, which stays much cooler than asphalt or concrete
  • Continue to take your pup for walks on pavement in cooler weather. This will allow your dog to build up calluses around the paw pads (don’t worry, it’s a good thing) which will help the pads resist burns and other injuries

Trust your instincts

Dogs can’t always tell us what they’re feeling or thinking, but reluctance to walk in a once-energetic pooch could be a sign that something is wrong. If you discover that hot pavement isn’t the cause of your dog’s change in behavior, be sure to talk to your vet—there could be other problems that need medical attention.

And as always, if you’re still searching for the perfect dog, check out our comprehensive puppy finder and get ready to meet the pooch of your dreams.

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