Protect your pets: Vets issue tips for keeping pets safe during hot summer days

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2018/05/06: Cocker Spaniel dog or pet in a city public park with green grass during the springtime. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

If you love taking your pets for walks during the summer, veterinarians are issuing renewed warnings for pet owners. 

As the Philadelphia area deals with a heat wave this week, it's important to remember that a simple walk could do some serious damage to your pets.

Every summer, veterinarians see burned paw pads. Pet owners may not realize that dogs’ paw pads are quite sensitive just like human feet and hands. Their paws are not designed to handle extreme temperatures.

To determine whether or not your pet is safe outdoors, veterinarians suggest testing pavement by either standing barefoot or holding the back of your hand on the pavement for seven seconds. If by seven seconds you cannot handle the heat then the pavement is definitely too hot for your canine companion.

Officials recommend several things in order to keep walks safe for your pet. 

One, you can walk during cooler times of the day. You should avoid talking walks during the hottest times of day and instead choose to walk in either the early morning or late evening when the pavement is cooler.

Two, keep your walks short. If you absolutely must take your pet out during the day, try to keep your walks short and choose a route that provides lots of shade.

Another recommendation officials make is that you can skip the asphalt entirely and instead walk your pet on the grass or on hiking trails. 

And lastly, it might be helpful to gift your dog with booties to cover their paws and keep the heat from burning them. 

However, pavement isn’t the only surface that can burn your pup’s paws in summer heat. VetsNow warns that artificial grass can also get dangerously hot because it contains black crumb rubber from recycled tires. 

Other artificial surfaces like running tracks and tennis courts can also reach scalding temperatures in the summer sun so it is important to keep this in mind where your pets are concerned.

You should keep an eye out for signs of discomfort like your dog holding up its feet, limping, or vocalizing or panting heavily during walks, as well as licking or chewing the feet after going on a walk. Also, if the pads are damaged you may notice a change in the color. Sometimes, if the paw pads are burned, pets can experience blisters. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your dog onto grass or another cooler surface and to flush the injured paws with water as quickly as possible. Also, a cold compress or ice may help soothe the pet's paws if they are injured. 

Treatment for paw pad burns can be difficult to manage, usually requiring bandages on the feet and administration of antibiotics to prevent infection from occurring while you wait for several layers of tissue to regrow. Many dogs with burned paws benefit from wearing booties during the healing process to protect the delicate tissue.



SUBSCRIBE: Good Day Digest Newsletter | FOX 29 Philly on YouTube

FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter