Most dog owners know that they have to make sure that their dogs don’t come down with heat stroke in the summer.
This means ensuring that your dogs have plenty of water, aren’t overexerting themselves in the heat, and have shady places to rest when outdoors.
But not all dog owners are aware that simply walking your dogs in the summer can still be dangerous. Even if you’re taking precautions to prevent heatstroke.
Dog owners need to make sure they aren’t walking their dogs on hot pavement. This is because it can severely burn your dog’s paws.
The Medical Lake Veterinary Hospital in Medical Lake, Washington made a post on Facebook that has gone viral warning pet owners about these dangers.
They treated a dog name Olaf whose paw pads were badly burnt after he was taken on what his owners thought was a seemingly harmless walk.
“Hot weather means hot pavement! Olaf walked over a mile on the Fish Trap Trail before his owner realized his pads were burned, and even then he wasn’t whining or limping! He is one tough cookie (and exceptionally sweet cookie),” their Facebook post reads. “A good rule of thumb is if the pavement is too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dogs’ pads.”
That post ended up being shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook and was picked up by local news outlets. Poor Olaf had to have all four of his paws wrapped up.
Veterinarians say they see this problem every summer because dog owners just don’t realize how sensitive a dog’s paws are.
They are just as sensitive as human feet and hands, and while they can withstand significant pressure, they aren’t made to withstand extreme temperatures.
Pavement can get hot even on days when temperatures aren’t super high. Pavement can reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s only 77 degrees out and as high as 143 degrees when it’s just 87 degrees out.
This can burn your dog’s paws in just a few minutes.
“There might not be many clinical signs except pain expressed by the pet when it happens, but just as in people with burns, you can see blisters that can rupture and the pet might be acting painful and licking at their feet,” Dr. M. Duffy Jones, DVM, of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, told FOX 10.
It’s best to take your dog for walks earlier in the day, before 8 a.m., or later in the day, after 8 p.m. This is when the pavement will be cooler.
You can also try to walk your dog on natural surfaces like dirt trails or grass.
“Walk [your dog] through the year on concrete,” Jones said. “Just like you develop thicker skin on your feet in the summer when going barefoot, the best prevention is making sure you get those foot pads nice and tough. Try to avoid not walking them in the winter and then taking them out for a five-mile jog [in the summer]. Their foot pads are not ready for that type of exercise.”
Some dog owners left a few suggestions of their own on Medical Lake Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook page.
“Doggie shoes and baby socks work great to go for walks. Not just for snow,” said one dog owner.
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