The other day I had an annoying pebble in my shoe I wanted to get rid off. So, I stepped out of my shoe and put my toes on the pavement –OUCH, the ground was so hot that I actually burnt my toes! Ozzie sat next to me, happily, looking up at me with that loveable, huge grin that is so characteristic for him. This made think: if I burn my toes on the hot pavement, what about his little paws? I figured I already knew the answer, but I did some research just to be sure.
Here is what I found out:
People think: Dog paws have protective calluses and won’t burn on hot pavement.
Not so: A dog’s paws can and will burn when exposed to extremely hot surfaces such as pavement, sand, concrete, asphalt and so forth. Test the ground; hold your bare hand or, as in my case foot, on a sidewalk for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin to handle it is also too hot for your dog’s paws to handle. In fact, Fido’s pads cannot only burn but blister, too.
People think: Oh, I have her winter booties; they should protect her from the hot ground when I take her for a walk.
Not so: If you put outright winter boots on your dog’s feet in the summer, chances are that he will sweat even more. According to Thais Zoe, author of Lucky Duck Living, “dogs have the ability to cool their paws through the in-between of their pads”. Heat rises from the ground up and gets trapped in the boots.
A much better alternative is Pawz boots (because they don’t trap the heat and the dog actually has traction, and, therefore, she can walk properly) or Musher’s Secret, which is a super dense wax that protects paw pads in extreme temperatures –hot or cold.
I love this stuff, I use it on my arms when they are scratched-up from the rose garden, or from playing with my cats and puppies, I use it on my chapped hands and lips, I use it on Oskar’s nose and pads, and I use it as a general heal-all remedy for minor surface injuries. Trust me, my husband thinks I’m nuts. But hey, if it works, why not ;-)
The point is that it’s easy to misunderstand or overlook our pets’ discomfort. We need to pay close attention to their body language as well as other signs. Our French Bulldog, Oskar, always has a huge smile on his face, even when he’s panting like crazy. So, if you can’t walk your pup in the shade, take preventive steps.
As Dr. Patty Kuhl points out in her PetMD article If You Can’t Stand the Heat … On Burnt Pad Denial in Dogs, “Your dog would probably follow you to the ends of the earth and never complain.”
Woof, woof & meow!
Images courtesy of: Dietmar Hoepfl, Musher’s Secret.net, Pawz.com