The hot days of summer are starting to bite in Australia. February is traditionally the warmest month before March arrives with a cool change. This time of year it is vital that you pause and think about protecting your pet's paws on a hot summer day. As the owner of a new puppy, you are probably unaware of how fast the hot pavement can damage the feet of your pet. Here's what you need to know about dog paw burns and how you can avoid them.
How do paw burns happen?
Dog paws are tough, but that toughness is no match for the searing heat of a hot footpath. As your dog walks on the hot surface, the heat attacks the padded part of their paws. This heat causes burns which range from minor to major in severity. Additionally, tar-covered footpaths create further issues when the melted tar sticks to the paw pad to add further aggravation to the feet of your pet.
If your pet has already burned their paws, then you need to take immediate action to relieve the pain and get them to an animal hospital.
How to treat paw burns
When you notice your pet is limping or is reluctant to walk, then an inspection of their paws is the first place to start. A paw burn looks red and raw. If the burn area is finger-nail sized or smaller, then place the paw in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. If more than one paw is burned, tackle the paws one at a time. If there is road tar stuck to the paw, use a small amount of dish detergent to try and dissolve the tar and peel it off the pad. Once the pad is washed and clean, bandage the wound to keep it clean while it heals.
If the burn area is more than 50% of the paw pad or you cannot remove the tar, take your pet to the vet so they can receive emergency treatment. After treating the burn, you need to ensure it does not happen again.
How to prevent future paw burns
There are several things you can do to make sure your dog never gets a burned paw again:
- walk early morning or early evening when the footpath is cooler
- talk them to walk somewhere where they are on grass rather than on concrete
- purchase paw wax from your vet. Paw wax is applied to the paws daily and provides an extra layer of protection from the heat.
If you have any concerns about the state of your dog's paws, talk to your vet for further advice.