How to keep your pet's paws perfect.
Summer is hot, and when that sun is still beating down on the asphalt, rocks, and cement, it can really do a number on your pet's toe beans, regardless of size.
Most dogs show signs of distress when they walk on pavement that is too hot. How hot is too hot? The general rule is "if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for his paws." It's hard to believe that when your temperature reaches 77 the pavement can be 125, but it is true. Pavement that hot can literally burn your dog's paw pads off.
In the summertime, it's best to walk Pal during early morning hours or late evening hours. If your dog can't go that long between walks, carry him---if he's not too big---to the grass. But even grass can be too hot in the midday sun. If he starts to whine, limp, or simply stop walking, take him home immediately. Examine his feet to make sure not damage has been done. Wash them gently in room temperature water and soothe them with balm formulated specifically for canine use (ask your vet for a recommendation).
If you see signs of burned, torn, or injured pads, there are some things you can do until you can get him to the vet.
- Clean the wound. Use room-temperature or cool water to wash away dirt and debris. If there is something deeply embedded, do not attempt to remove it---you can cause further damage. Use mild antibacterial soap or betadine to cleanse the area
- Stop the bleeding. Firm pressure against the wound should stop the bleeding within ten to fifteen minutes. If it doesn't, an emergency trip to the animal hospital is in order---NOW.
- Bandage the wounded pad. Use gauze to cushion the foot and absorb the blood. Hold it in place by using self-sticking Vet Wrap to wrap the entire foot, including toes and up to the top of the ankle or wrist. Don't make the wrap too tight, though, or you can cut off circulation. You should be able to fit a finger between the bandage and the foot.
- Change the bandage every day. Look for swollen toes or a foul smell. These can indicate an infection and definitely require a vet's help. Antibiotics and pain medicine can promote faster healing. Keep the bandage dry. You can use a "cone" or a spray-on product to stop licking or chewing on the bandage.
If it's still too hot outside for the two of you, especially for those that live in the southern half of the US, find some fun games to play while you're inside. Teach your dog some new tricks or do some indoor workouts with him. Either, way, stay safe, and keep your pup's paws perfect!