Many owners like taking their dogs on walks to enjoy the warm summer weather with them, but many of them forget about one important detail: hot pavement can and will burn a dog's paws. It can be tempting to take your dog everywhere you go, but it can cause serious harm to your dog if you are not careful. Remember that if asphalt and cement can get hot enough to cook an egg during the summer or if it feels way too hot for you to leave your hands comfortably on the ground for at least 10 seconds, it can result in nasty burns on your dog's paw pads. This is especially true if you have a new puppy with tender young paws.
So what can be done to protect your dog's paws? Here are 10 tips to keep your dog or puppy from getting burned this summer.
Protect Your Dog's Paws
1. Walk Your Dog When It's Cool
This is probably an obvious tip but one that folks sometimes don't consider enough. It's a great idea to take your dog out on daily walks, but be mindful of when and where you walk him. The best time to walk your dog is in the morning or late evening, when the pavement is cool. Avoid walking your dog in the afternoon when the sun is high in the sky or early evening, because the pavement will be hot.
2. Toughen Your Dog's Paws
When it's time to walk your dog, it can actually be a good idea to stick to the pavement during the cool times of the day. While the pavement is cool, it won't burn your dog's paws, and it will also help to toughen them up. This will help to prevent any potential burns that could come later on.
3. Stay On The Grass
If you end up taking your dog out during the warmer times of the day, be sure to stay on the grass and stick to shady areas. Stay away from sidewalks or any paved areas to avoid burning. A shady park can be a great place to take your dog on a warm afternoon.
4. Moisturize Your Dog's Paws
Consider moisturizing your dog's feet daily to help prevent injuries like cuts, cracking, or peeling of the paws. Minor injuries like this can make your dog's paws more susceptible to burns and other serious problems. Moisturizing paw pad creams like Cain & Able Moisturizing Paw Rub can work wonders.
5. Use Paw Wax
Paw wax can easily be smeared onto your dog's paw pads to protect them from harmful surfaces. Paw wax is designed to protect your dog's feet from hot surfaces and potentially harmful chemicals like road salts. Try Musher's Secret Paw Wax if you go out with your dog frequently . It's my favorite solution for keeping my dog comfortable whenever I need to take my dog out under tough road conditions. It's a great solution for anytime your dog needs some extra paw protection. You can see a product review video for Musher's Secret at the end of our article. (If you need something right away, you can try some Vaseline. It is not nearly as good but better than nothing.)
6. Try Dog Shoes
Dog shoes are one of the best ways to protect your dog's paws from heat and potential injuries if your dog will wear them. If this seems like the right solution for your dog, be sure to buy shoes like Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot or My Busy Dog Shoes that have rubber soles to offer the best protection. Be aware that not all dogs can get used to dog shoes, and some might have a hard time walking in them. There will definitely be an adjustment period for your dog with dog shoes. If you can get your dog used to using them, nothing else offers better protection.
7. Consider Disposable Dog Booties
Disposable dog booties are a great short-term fix for the summer heat. Dog booties like Pawz Disposable Booties can provide good protection from the heat, and are a great temporary solution if you need to take your dog out on a hot day and your dog is willing to wear them.
8. See If Peel And Stick Pads Can Work
Peel and stick felt pads are a quick solution to minimize the dangers of hot pavement. They're easy to stick onto the pads of your dog's feet and they help protect against potential burns and injuries. They can even reduce the risks of your dog slipping on slick surfaces. (Yes, I am talking about the felt pads you find in the home improvement stores like these.) Just buy or cut them to the size you need and paste them on your dog's paws.
And even better alternative to the felt pads may be silicone scar pads or tape. They are so easy to put on and they can be cut to the perfect size for paws. They can be reused and they do well and stay on in wet conditions. They are so thin, flexible and durable that your dogs should not have any problems wearing them unlike many other things you put on their paws. Silcone scar sheets can be a terrific option for your dog's paws. I've tried and liked the Scar Away Sheets but there are less expensive ones also available here. Just be careful on smooth floors as they can be a little slippery depending on which of the tapes you get.
9. Grab Some Socks For His Paws
Socks are a decent last minute solution if you need to take your dog onto the hot pavement. Like dog shoes, not every dog will tolerate wearing socks. You can just take a pair of your old socks or little baby socks and see if they will work. Or you can buy these ridiculously cute dog socks. (These are for indoors, but these adorable dog socks are so cute too). You should be watchful when putting socks on your dog's feet, as some dogs will be tempted to chew them.
10. Wash And Check His Paws Carefully
Be sure to check your dog's paw pads daily for any signs of damage and wash his paws frequently. If you do happen to see a problem, or if your dog is acting strangely on his feet, be sure to have him taken to the vet to see how bad the injury is. If you wash and moisturize his paws at the same time you check his paws, you're doing three things to help protect your dog's paws at once. Saving time...and saving paws!
Here's a great reminder chart from the Humane Society of when it can be too hot for your dog's feet.
In addition to my These 10 tips will help your dog stay safe and uninjured this summer from the dangers of hot pavement. Be sure to keep a close eye on the dog to protect him from any other heat related injuries as well. Make sure you watch for Symptoms of Heat Stroke In Dogs. Also, consider these 12 Quick Tips For Keeping Your Dog Cool In Summer.
As mentioned earlier, here's a product review video for Musher's Secret if you're interested. You can buy the paw protection wax here and I can't recommend it highly enough.
With my tips on keeping your doggie's paws protected and on getting a great life vest for your dog if you are heading for the water should keep your buddy safer and more comfortable this summer. Happy Summer!
If you like my summer tips, you may want to take a look at my tips on protecting your dogs paws from freezing cold and save them for reference for the winter.
Originally published July 2012 and updated August 2016 .