A warm summer day may seem like the perfect time for a long walk with your furry friend. A breezy day with temperatures hovering around 25C may not seem dangerous but imagine if you were walking barefoot on hot sand or pavement! That’s how it feels for your pet on a warm day.
Cats and dogs have sensitive paw pads that become vulnerable in the heat. Surfaces such as pavement, asphalt and artificial grass can become searingly hot causing blisters or burns on their paw pads. Hot pavement can also increase the overall body temperature of your pet and lead to heat stroke.
Before you reach for the leash consider these simple tips:
- Check the pavement before your walk. Place your hand or bare foot on the pavement for five seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin, then it’s most likely too hot for your pet.
- Walk during cooler times of the day. Avoid taking walks during the hottest time of the day. Instead, opt for walks in the early morning and late evening when the pavement is cooler.
- Keep midday walks short and shady. If you’re taking your pet out during the day, be sure to keep walks short. Choose a route with lots of shade and grass patches.
- Skip the asphalt entirely and choose to walk your dog strictly on grass or hiking trails.
- Consider outfitting your dog’s paws with booties to help keep the heat from burning their tootsies.
- If you have a longer adventure planned, be sure to bring water and take frequent breaks.
How to tell if a pet’s paw pads are burned
- Pet appears to be in pain and showing signs of discomfort. If your is pet holding up a foot, limping, vocalizing, licking or chewing at the feet or is not wanting to walk.
- Pads are damaged if you notice a change in colour, typically they’ll be darker and will change from pink to red.
- Pet’s paw pads that are burned will be visibly damaged with blisters, ruptured blisters, and redness, and pieces of pads are missing.
First aid for burned paws
- Bring your dog inside right away, or to a safe cool place. Carry your pet if necessary.
- Flush the foot with cold water or use a cold compress.
- Try not to let your dog lick the injured pad.
- Consult your veterinarian.
- The BC SPCA is offering free car decals for a limited time to help people raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars.