Hot paws

Gloria J. Towle, Special to The County
3 years ago

We wait seven long months for the cold, dark and dreary days of winter to move on and the hints of spring and summer to finally arrive. We have had close to forty 80- to 90-degree days so far this summer.  

One thing that you may not even consider is just how hot the pavement can get on these days. Be careful walking your dogs. Dogs’ paws can be just as sensitive as humans’ feet.

It’s not just the air temps you have to worry about; it’s also the ground temps. If the temperature is 85, concrete is 105 and asphalt/blacktop is 130.  That pavement turns into a stove top during the middle of the day. 

If the ground is too hot to hold the back of your hand against it, it’s too hot for your dog’s bare paws. Try and limit those dog walks to early in the morning or later in the evening. This will be a lot more comfortable, and safer, for your pooch.

How are paw pad burns treated?

Treatment for paw pad burns depends on the extent of the burn on the dog. If a burn is severe, the pet should be taken to the veterinarian for care.

“Many times, we will bandage the feet and start antibiotics,” says Dr. M. Duffy Jones, DVM, of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. “Paw pad burns can get infected quickly and make things much worse. Sometimes we can suture the pad back on if there is some left.”

Dogs need to rest and avoid hot pavements as they heal, and Jones added that it is of the utmost importance that pet parents keep an eye on their dogs and do not allow them to lick the injured area, which will make it much worse over time.

While healing can be difficult for the dog because “the feet are a high motion area,” according to Jones, it’ll just take some time and patience to get them back up and moving. While your dog’s paw pads heal, walking should be limited (and on grassy surfaces) and he should be kept inside as much as possible.

In addition to recovery and the ointments and antibiotics that may be prescribed to injured dogs, it is suggested to put soft booties or children’s socks on your dog’s paws when walking to protect the damaged tissue and give him more comfort when using them.

The length of time a paw pad burn will last depends on the dog and the extent of their injuries. The most severe cases can see the effects of a burn for a few weeks.  Fortunately, as long as you give your dog the time he needs to heal, there are no long-term side effects of paw pad burns.  

For more tips, check out 

Check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society Facebook page to see pets that are available for adoption. Please be responsible pet owners — spay and neuter.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.