Can Dogs Feel Hot Pavement?

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Introduction

When it's a beautiful day outside and the sun is shining, the first thing you may want to do is take your dog for a walk. Getting out into the fresh, warm air with your furry BFF by your side sounds like the perfect day!

What you may not know, however, is how the sun's rays can harm your pup. With your shoes separating your feet from the pavement, you may not feel how hot it actually is. And what you don't know can actually hurt your pet - hot pavements during the summer are one of the number one injuries that vets see in dogs during warmer months. 

So yes, dogs absolutely can feel hot pavement, and unfortunately, it can severely injure them as well. Luckily, there's no reason to stay inside on nice days like these - you should be free to go out and explore the world with your munchkin. There are preventative steps that we as owners can take to keep our doggos safe, and their little feet and toes happy and healthy!

Signs Hot Pavement May Be Hurting Your Pup

We obviously want to spend gorgeous days with our dogs outside, but sometimes, that can actually hurt our fur-babies. It's important that during warm weather seasons, we keep an eye on our dog's health. Hot pavement can not only hurt Fido's paws, but it can also contribute to overheating and overexertion in your pup, which can lead to further problems. Because our dogs can't talk to us, we need to keep an eye on their mannerisms and health to keep them safe. 

In regards to our pup's paws, our dogs can act many ways we may not even notice that show that they're in pain. During summer, pavements can get so hot that they will literally burn their toe pads. Signs of burned feet include limping, or even the outright refusal to walk and licking at, chewing, or favoring certain paws/feet. 

When you look at your pup's feet, their pads may be darker in color, covered in blisters or redness, or even missing part of their toe pads. If it's hot out and you've already walked your pup, just make sure to check their feet when you get home. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to not take your dog outside again, and call your vet to see if they would like you to come in. 

If the pavement outside is hot, it's highly likely that it may be too hot for your dog to be on it. Heat entering through the feet can lead to your entire pooch overheating! Signs of overheating in your dog can range from heavy panting and excessive thirst to vomiting, unconsciousness, or seizures. 

Overheating is a serious issue, so you need to make sure it doesn't happen to your pup. Essentially, you should be able to tell relatively quickly if your dog isn't feeling well after coming home from your walk. Make sure that after your walk, your pet is behaving normally, and doesn't seem too out of it. More than your pet's feet could be at stake!

Body Language

Here are some cues to watch for that indicate hot pavement is hurting your hound:
  • Whining
  • Cowering
  • Chewing
  • Ears drop
  • Weakness
  • Sweaty paws
  • Whimpering

Other Signs

Other signs that the road is too hot are:
  • Favoring One Paw
  • Red, Blistered, or Missing Toe Pads
  • Chewing or Licking the Injured Paw
  • Extreme Thirst

The Science Behind Your Pup's Paws

While a dog's paws are known for being durable, they aren't indestructible. As a result, it's up to us to protect them! Dogs carry the majority of their weight on their toes (as opposed to their heels), so when they are injured, it can be extremely difficult for your dog to walk and function normally. 

Additionally, your dog's paws also contain sweat glands. When they get hot, sweat is emitted through their paws, which helps them cool off. If their glands and paws are damaged, this may cause an inability for your dog to secrete sweat, making them even hotter! 

We may not think of it too often, what with their cute little faces and wiggly butts to take our attention, but a dog's paws are extremely important to them living everyday life. As a result, it's incredibly important to keep your dog's toes well protected, so they can remain happy and healthy!

How to Keep Your Dog's Paws Healthy

Don't worry! There are lots of measures that you can take to keep your canine compadre's tootsies happy. Just because the thermometer's rising doesn't mean you need to stay indoors! But make sure you are aware of how hot the pavement really is. You can do this by testing it with your own hand or foot, and gauging if it's going to burn your furry friend.

If the road is way too hot, opt for grassy options like the park - and maybe drive there if you have a car. If you don't have a vehicle, stick to the backyard or a nearby grassy area. Chances are, if it's that hot, your dog won't want to play for too long anyway.

Another option is to invest in some protective footwear. It's true, many dogs are not big fans of shoes (on their own feet, that is), but with some work, your pupper will look to the booties as a good thing. Just make sure you offer treats everytime you put them on, and that your pooch knows that shoes on equals walk time.

How to React If You Think Your Dog's Paws are Injured

  • Check your pal's paws. If you see redness, blistering, discoloration, etc. your pup may have been burned by hot pavement.
  • Call your vet. There may be nothing that you can do other than trying to keep your dog from walking a lot, but they also may be able to give you advice or a salve to help with your pup's pain.
  • Run your pup's paws under cool water or use a cold compress. This will help with the pain before you're able to get them to the vet.
  • Don't let them lick or chew on their paws. Dog's mouths aren't the cleanest places in the world, so licking or chewing at an open wound can lead to infection, making the recovery period even longer. You can use a sock or other object to place over your pup's foot so it's harder for them to get at their injury.

Safety Tips to Avoid Pavement Injuries

  • Hand Test: place the back of your hand on the pavement that you're worried may be too hot for your pet. If you can't hold your hand there for at least 5 seconds, it's too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • Avoid walking your dog at times when the sun is hottest. One way to keep your dog's paws protected is walking them at times when the temperature is likely to be lower. This can be early morning and early to late evening.
  • Avoid pavement, period. If you can, try to walk your dog on grassy areas, instead of pavement. Hot grass isn't going to bother your pooch, so if you can avoid pavement, you may be able to avoid injury, all while enjoying a warm day!
  • If you can't avoid, protect. There are many options out there for paw protection, including paw wax, booties, and more. Talk to your vet about what you think the best option for your doggo is - some dogs absolutely refuse to walk with booties, so there may be a combination of several products that offer the best solution for you and your dog.

We Want To Hear About Your Dog And Hot Pavement!