Hopeful Henry: Keeping Fido’s paws safe over summer | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Hopeful Henry: Keeping Fido’s paws safe over summer

Summer is here and dog paws can burn easily. Hot sand and a few seconds on hot asphalt can hurt your dog’s paws. Here are some tips on paw safety that will also help with heatstroke.

The 10-second rule: if you place the back of your hand on asphalt and cannot keep it there for 10 seconds without feeling burning it is not safe to walk your dog. If you cannot go barefoot on the beach due to hot sand then put some booties on your pup when at the beach.

Be careful if you take your dog swimming then go on hot pavement. The time in the water softens their pads, so dry off the paws and walk on the grass. Gravel and rocks on hiking trails are also a danger, as the surface of the ground can not only get to hot to walk on but can also be covered in sharp rocks that can cause injuries to paws.



Did you know that asphalt can be 40 to 60 degrees hotter than air temperature? So if it’s a nice, comfortable 77 degrees the pavement is 125 degrees, 86 degrees equals 135 degrees and 87 degrees is equivalent to 143-degree asphalt. At 125 degrees, skin destruction can occur in 60 seconds. An egg can fry in five minutes at 131 degrees. In 85-degree heat, a car can heat to 102 degrees and 120 degrees in 30 minutes.

Here are some signs your dog is suffering from burnt or cut paws: limping or refusing to walk, licking or chewing at the feet, pads darker in color, missing part of pad along with blisters or redness.



There are several measures that dog owners can take to prevent burns and injury to a dog’s paw pads. Some of these preventative measures designed to prevent pad injuries will also make the dog less vulnerable to other summertime pet dangers, including canine heat stroke and sunburn:

Walk the dog in the early morning or evening to avoid paw pad burns. Avoid walking the dog in the heat of the day when the sun beats down, heating the pavement and sand.

Walk the dog on the grass. The grass remains cooler than the sidewalk, lessening a dog’s chance of paw pad injuries in the summer. This makes a trip to a shady park a good option for an afternoon walk in the summertime.

Take frequent dog walks on the pavement during cool times of day. This will help toughen a dog’s paw pads by promoting the formation of calluses. This makes the skin of the dog’s foot pads thicker and less prone to injuries like burns and cuts. Dogs who rarely walk on pavement will have more sensitive paw pads and require more frequent nail clippings, as walking on pavement files the dog’s nails.

Moisturize the dog’s paws on a daily basis. Keep a dog’s paws well moisturized with Vaseline or a special paw pad balm or cream, like Musher’s Secret. Moisturizing the dog’s paw pads will prevent cracking, peeling and minor pad cuts. These injuries will cause the dog’s pads to become more sensitive once healing is complete, so preventing injury is key.

If your pup does burn their paws here are some first aid tips:

It is important to keep the foot area cool and clean. As soon as you notice the problem (limping along on the road), flush with cool water or a cool compress if available. Get the dog to a grassy area or if possible, carry him or her.

At first chance, your veterinarian should examine your dog for signs of deeper burns, blisters and possible infection — they will determine if antibiotics or pain medication is needed. Washing the feet with a gentle cleanser and keeping them clean is important. Bandaging can be difficult to do and to maintain (monitor and change often), but licking must be kept to a minimum. Dog boots works great to stop the licking because the double straps keep it secure.

Some dogs will tolerate a sock to keep the area clean, but caution is advised for dogs that may chew and ingest the sock. Lick deterrents such as bitter sprays may help reduce the damage caused by licking.

The best advice is to be mindful of hot surfaces — asphalt and metal (including boat dock, car or truck surfaces) — and walk your dog on the cool side of the street or in the grass. Another tip is to lay down a wet towel for your dog to stand on when grassy areas are not available.

Remember keep your dog safe during the summer and protected from the heat,

Hopeful Henry

Submit furry family member photos to the Lake Tahoe Humane Society’s calendar/card photo contest. Visit http://www.laketahoefumanesociety.org and click on the calendar link, scroll to bottom of the page, fill out form and submit the photo. It is a fun way to support the Lake Tahoe Humane Society. Submit questions or letters via email to askhenry@laketahoefumanesociety.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. 96158. The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA and become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at http://www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry or follow us on Twitter @LTHumaneSociety.


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