What Every Pet Lover Should Know About Summer Dog Paw Pad Injuries
You might not think about the dangers of sizzling sidewalks and searing sand on your dog’s paw pads but they pose a danger.
If you’ve ever walked barefoot on hot pavement or sand, you know how fiery it can be.
Your pet can feel it too.
Yes, their paw pads are thick and offer some protection, but sidewalks in the summer and sand can reach temperatures of 90 degrees and above in some areas. When your dog walks on a 90-degree surface bare pawed, he or she can experience burns or blisters.
Here’s How You Can Prevent Dog Paw Pad Injuries in the Summer Heat
Plan ahead and you’ll not only protect your pet’s paws, but also likely prevent canine heat stroke and sunburn.
1—Walk your pet early in the morning or late evening to avoid paw pad burns. The mid-day heat builds in the pavement and can reach scorching temperatures. Hot asphalt can blister your pet’s paws and the heat can lead to heat stroke. Early and late walks will protect you both.
2—Use the grass – Grass is cooler than the sidewalk so a trip to a shady park where you can romp on the grass is a good alternative in the summertime.
3–Moisturize your dog’s paws on a daily basis. Keep paws well moisturized with Vaseline® or a special paw pad balm or cream, like Musher’s Secret®. Moisturizing your dog’s paw pads will prevent cracking, peeling and minor pad cuts.
How to Treat Paw Pad Injuries and Prevent Infection
Paw pad injuries are hard to treat. Cuts, blisters and sores are prone to infection and healing is slow due to the constant pressure placed on the dog’s injured paw when they walk.
And, when paw pads are burned or blistered because of hot pavement or sand, healing is even more complicated by the fact that all the dog’s paw pads are usually injured.
If a heat-related paw pad injury does occur, here’s how you can prevent infection.
- Wash the dog’s injured paw pad using antibacterial soap like Dial® and rinse thoroughly.
- Pat the injured foot with a clean towel to dry the area.
- Pour an antiseptic like betadine (preferred) or hydrogen peroxide over the burned, blistered or cut paw pad and allow the liquid to air dry. (Note: Hydrogen peroxide can damage tissue and delay healing. After the initial cleaning, hydrogen peroxide must be used at half-strength, with 50% water added. This is why betadine is preferred.)
- Apply a generous amount of antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin ™) to the site of the dog’s footpad injury.
- Wrap the paw and ankle with rolled gauze. Roll the gauze in a “figure 8″ pattern, looping around the paw and ankle to prevent the bandage from slipping off.
- Cover the bandage with a sock, placing a bit of tape around the dog’s leg at the sock’s ankle to hold the sock in place. The sock will prevent soiling of the foot bandage. If you have trouble keeping the socks on your pet’s feet, consider this solution.
- Take your dog to the veterinarian for an examination. Cuts, burns or sores have a high risk of infection, for that reason, your pet may need antibiotics.
A more thorough cleaning may be needed which your vet can do with your pet under anesthesia if necessary.
In the case of a dog with burns (or other injuries) on more than one foot, pain medication may be prescribed since the dog will be forced to walk on injured paw pads.
If you’re looking for a way to way to protect your pet’s feet or help them heal, consider dog socks paired with the Snuggy Boots Suspender System. Here’s what one happy customer had to say:
Genie, my chocolate Labrador and I have always taken early morning walks in the park near our home in Scottsdale Arizona. To get there we have to walk on an asphalt walkway through some rocky terrain. One day we were running late for our walk. Going out was not bad, but by the time we returned the asphalt walkway had become very hot. I could feel the heat through my sneakers. I didn’t think much about it. When we got home, my poor Genie’s feet were raw, bloody and two pads had come off. I was terrified. I rushed her to the veterinarian. ….It seems dog paw pad injuries are more common than I ever imagined. Fixing the injuries are every dog owner’s worst nightmare. One blogger mentioned something about a dog shoe suspender. That led me to the Snuggy Boots website. I saw immediately this could be the answer. I purchased a full set of dog socks and ordered a large Snuggy Boots shoe suspenders. The veterinarian changed the dressing on all four paws, but replaced it with light breathable porous gauze so lots of air could get through. We put on the socks right in his office and connected the elastic leg straps of the Snuggy Boots suspenders….The knit socks I purchased are porous but kept dirt out of the bandages, that prevented infection from recurring, and her paw pads stayed clean.
In about five days, I could see that the paws were healing and she was going to be okay…