When the “Dogs Are Barking,” Consider Summer Paw Care

summer paw carePeople often complain about foot pain, but imagine if we walked around without shoes? Our feet would easily suffer from constant wear and tear – not unlike the sensitive paw pads of pets. Sure, many pets can withstand fairly rugged conditions without the support of wool socks and boots. However, when the weather is harsh, a pet’s paws can truly suffer. Keep your pet trotting along this season with our summer paw care tips.

The Bookends

Limiting your pet’s exposure to the sun must be a priority this summer. Not only will you reduce the risk of sunburn and heatstroke, but exercising in the early mornings and evenings will keep your pet’s paws safe from harm. Encourage your pet to only walk in the shade or on the grass.

Asphalt and concrete can heat up throughout the day. Even when the air temperature is fairly pleasant at 75 degrees, the ground temperature can reach well into the triple digits. Nobody wants blisters, burns, or painful cracks on the skin or feet, and our summer paw care aims to eliminate the risks of hot walkways.

A Look at the Paws

Animals pant to regulate internal body temperature, but dogs also sweat through their paw pads. When it’s hot and humid outside, your pet will sweat more. This makes the paws very soft – and less resistant to hot, coarse pavement. This also occurs after wading in the splash pool, running through the sprinkler, or participating in other summer activities.

When you let your pet out or go for walks together, place the back of your hand on the ground for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot to hold your hand to, it’s definitely too hot for your pet’s paws.

Summer Paw Care

Keep a close eye on how your pet is walking. Any changes in gait or refusing to walk around can indicate paw pain. Other signs of damage include:

  • Limping
  • Top layer of the paw pad is missing or peeling
  • Cracks
  • Blisters
  • Pads darker in color
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Licking the feet (this can make the injury worse!)
  • Swelling

How to Help

It’s best to be prepared for summer paw care instead of the alternative. Because of the pain typically involved with broken paw pads, your pet may be difficult to handle. Approach calmly and have someone help you with the following:

  • Soak your pet’s feet in cool water or hold a wet cloth to the injured pads.
  • Carefully pat the feet dry and apply antibacterial cream.
  • The presence of blisters or bleeding signal urgent care.
  • In-depth cleansing of the wounds, topical medications, bandaging, pain relief, and/or antibiotics may be necessary.

The Heat is On

The best approach to summer paw care is to prevent injury. Limit your pet’s exposure to hot surfaces, walk only during the cooler parts of the day, and take extra care when your pet’s feet are wet.

If we can assist you with summer paw care, please give us a call. Have a great summer!

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