From the second your pet walked into your life, his or her paw print left a mark on your heart. From the perfect pink paws of the young to the weathered and worn pads of a senior companion, paw care is essential to overall wellness. While year round injury prevention is important, summer months are especially challenging because of hot pavement, packed dirt, and sand.
The Art of the Paw
With their built-in traction, your pet’s paws are made to withstand a variety of rough, uneven, or slick terrain. Paw pads are also great shock absorbers, protecting bones and joints and even insulating the foot from extreme weather.
Similar to winter paw care, summer paw care takes priority every June. Surfaces like asphalt, concrete, wood, metal, sand, and packed dirt absorb heat all day long, and temperatures can exceed 120 degrees long after the sun sets.
Allowing your pet to walk outside on a hot day can result in painful injuries to the paw pads. This includes blisters, burns, ulcerations, and loose skin. A good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s definitely too hot for your pet’s precious paws.
You may notice your pet limping or licking at the feet after spending time outside. If your pet’s paws are burned, try soaking the feet in room temperature water. This will help soothe your pet, but if you see any discoloration or exposed tissue, please contact us immediately.
Paw Care When You Need It
Are you looking for ways to enrich your pet’s life this summer? That’s wonderful! Just remember to keep a close eye on your pet’s feet and paws while walking or hiking. Follow this simple guide if your pet’s paws require basic first aid:
- Clean paw pads with mild antibacterial soap and use tweezers to remove anything that may be embedded (broken glass, fish hooks, jagged stones, etc.). Do not dig too deeply, as this can increase pain and make the injury worse.
- If your pet is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. You may have a pet emergency if bleeding continues for more than 15 minutes.
- Gauze pads will absorb any bleeding and cushion the paw pad. With a self-sticking bandage wrap, cover the entire foot all the way up to the wrist or ankle for maximum protection.
We may also recommend antibiotics and pain medication for burns or foot injuries. Daily attention to re-dressing and bandages is often necessary.
Too Hot to Trot
To prevent accidental injuries this summer, always test ground surfaces before walking on them and encourage play in grassy areas. As a general rule of summer pet safety, try to limit time spent outdoors during peak temperatures. Instead, go outside in the early morning or evening hours.
It’s hot in Cleveland, and your friends at West Park Animal Hospital want you and your pet to enjoy the summer weather safely. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about pet paw care.