Alright, a “Pet Service Announcement” isn’t an official thing but we’re in charge around here and we have a slight bone to pick with the humans who walk their pets during the hottest part of the day. We know their intentions are good – everyone likes a nice jaunt to maintain optimal health and that much-desired summer body – but the reality is, it may be just too darn hot for your pal. Even the most responsible pet owners, the ones who bring extra water on outings, know the signs of overheating, and would never in a million years leave their pet outside or in a hot car, frequently space the fact that mid-day exercise isn’t the safest choice for a few reasons.
People often think that since dogs evolved from wild animals that they can handle tough terrain, but most of the buddies that sleep with us and get served choice kibble in a bowl twice a day simply aren’t conditioned for such things. Your dog’s paw pads play a big role in their everyday functioning (the same way our hands and feet do) and they can burn and blister just the same. Walking your pet on pavement that’s too hot can absolutely burn their pads, causing injury, discomfort, and possible infection to one of the body parts they rely most on.
Not to worry, pet lovers. There’s a very quick and easy way to tell if the walk should wait: place the back of your palm on the pavement for five seconds, if you can’t keep it there: the pavement is too hot for your dog’s paws. Walking on grass may be safer, but the best thing to do is wait until a cooler time of day to leash up.
If your pet suffers a paw pad injury, rinse the wound with cool/room temperature water and do your best to clear any debris that may have formed. For minor burns, apply a cooling balm that promotes healing and consider wrapping the paws if your pup will let you. If the burns seem severe, let your veterinarian treat them and vow to never walk your dog in the mid-day’s heat again! (And while we’re talking summer safety: as always, be sure to provide plenty of clean water and shade if your pet does anything more than potty outside.)