Walking Dogs on a Hot Pavement: How hot is too hot?

Now that the weather is warmer, you might want to spend more time walking your precious pooch (sounds like the perfect way to spend the day). But there are a few things you need to know before walking dogs on a hot pavement.

Did you know that hot pavements are one of the most common injuries in pets during summer? That’s because as pet parents, we have our shoes to separate our feet from the heat of the pavements and are therefore not always aware of the harm done to our dog’s paws.

A little bit of pawfect science about walking dogs on a hot pavement

Your dog’s paws might be incredibly durable, but they are far from indestructible. Your dog carries a large amount of her weight on her toes, this means that when the toes are injured, it is extremely hard for your dog to walk normally and move around. Sweat glands are also found in the paws. This means that when it’s hot, sweat is emitted through the paws to help your pooch to cool down.

If the sweat glands in the paws are damaged, then this can lead to your dog overheating. With all of this in mind, it becomes clear as to why our dog’s paws are so vital to their health. Which is why it’s vital you protect them to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Signs that the pavement is hurting your pup

You need to ensure you keep a close eye on your pet’s health during the hot summer months.

Hot pavements can not only hurt your dog’s paws, but it can also lead to overexertion and overheating, both of which lead to several other health concerns. Because our precious pooches are not able to put into words how they are feeling, we need to make sure we pay close attention to their body language and mannerisms.

During summer, pavements become so hot they can burn your dog’s toe pads (ouch!).

Related: How Do I Know My Dog is in Pain? 8 Signs

When is the pavement too hot?

The trick is to feel the pavement with your hand for seven seconds. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

Signs of burnt paws:

  • Limping
  • Refusing to walk
  • Licking the paws
  • Chewing the paws and feet
  • Favouring certain paws

Physical signs on the paws:

  • The paws may appear darker in colour
  • Blisters
  • Redness
  • Missing part of the toe pad

If you are only reading this after you have already walked your dog on hot pavement, then you need to make sure you check her paws for any of the above signs when you get home. If you notice any of these signs, then call your vet for a professional opinion on how to treat the burns before taking your pet to the vet.

Signs your dog is overheating:

  • Heaving panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures

Signs the pavement is too hot for your dog:

  • Whining
  • Chewing
  • Sweaty paws
  • Whimpering
  • Weakness
  • Dropped ears
  • Cowering

What to do when it’s too hot outside

Just because it’s a hot summer’s day, doesn’t mean that you can’t both spend time outside. Instead of walking on the pavement, try to walk on the grass as much as you can. A good idea is to drive to the park with your precious pooch to avoid the pavements.

You can also invest in some protective footwear for your dog. Some dogs do not like the feeling of wearing doggie shoes (regardless of how cute you think they look), but with some training, your dog might start to see his new booties as a good thing. The trick is to offer your dog treats every time he wears his booties.

Discover: 5 Fascinating Facts About Your Dog’s Ability to Smell

What to do if you think your pup’s paws are injured

  • Check your dog’s paws for redness, blisters, or discolouration.
  • Call your vet to find out if he can offer you some advice to help with your pet’s painful paws.
  • Place your dog’s paws under cold running water – this will help ease the pain before getting your dog to the vet.
  • Try to stop your dog from chewing or licking her paws as this can lead to infection. It helps to place a sock over your dog’s foot to prevent them from licking before seeing your vet.

If the thought of vet bills is daunting, you should consider getting pet insurance. We would highly recommend Oneplan Pet Insurance because their unique prepaid claims system means you get paid BEFORE you see the vet, and you can keep your pet’s favourite vet!

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to something like this. Which means you need to be mindful of hot pavements and surfaces for the health and safety of your pup. Whenever possible, try to walk your dog on the grass or shady areas of the street. If you are loading your car and your dog has to wait for you on the hot pavement, then it’s a good idea to lay down a towel for your dog to stand on.

Yours in Not-so-average Pet Advice,

The Petinsurance.co.za Team