Happy Paws are Healthy Paws

Looks like our great SA weather is here, so it’s time to take our dogs outside and enjoy every moment.
A leash and enough water on a hot day or long hike is probably all you will need, right? Oh yes, don’t forget you may also need something to scoop up the poop.

However, you may be forgetting something really important. We wear shoes to protect our feet and sunblock to protect our skin, but what about our dog’s feet and skin?

Our 4-footed friends need special attention in summer too. When the heat is on, make sure your dog’s paws stay COOL and clean and that you prevent injury to their soft foot pads.

Their pads are firm and generally thick, designed by nature to endure most tough surfaces. But as durable as they may be, our dog’s paws are still susceptible to soreness, bruises, burns, blisters and unfortunate scrapes. Sore foot pads are unfortunately a common after-effect of a long day of hiking, walking on a hot pavement or road in summer.

The condition of your dog’s paws is key to his/her well-being. You can purchase special protective footwear for your dog’s feet, for both winter and summer. Some are even waterproof. Summer booties can help keep your dog’s feet cool and protected from the hot tar.

Don’t let them sweat it.

Did you know that when dogs become overheated, they sweat from their paws? While panting is the 1st clue that your dog needs to cool off, a trail of doggy footprints should also move you to immediate action. Get your dog out of the sun and into a cool air-conditioned space, if possible. Then moisten a cloth and wipe down your dog’s face and paws.
Walk when it’s cooler!
Bricked and tarred pavements and roads as well as sandy beaches can get terribly hot when the temperature soars. With prolonged exposure to these surfaces, your dog’s paws could get badly scorched. The best times in summer for walks and exercise are in the mornings. Go for walks when it’s still cool or just before sunset, when it’s still light outside.
Please folks don’t walk your fur friends during the heat of the day.


Keep nails trimmed.

If you hear the ‘clicking’ every time your dog walks, your dog’s nails need to be shortened. Unless you are a ‘Pro’ at it and have the best tools for the job, let your veterinarian trim it for you. If hair pokes out between the pads, that needs to be trimmed as well. As always, call your Veterinarian if your dog is hurt or any conditions worsen.

Look ahead.

Keep your eyes open for any broken glass and other sharp objects that could break the skin on your dog’s paws. In dry areas, there are often nasty thorns on pavements to avoid. According to most Vets, wounds that are smaller than a centimeter in diameter can be cleaned with an antibacterial wash and wrapped with a light bandage. For deeper paw cuts, see the Vet for immediate treatment.
Watch out for limping. Sometimes dogs on farms or in the countryside pick up a prickly burr that lodges itself in between the paw pads. Tweezers may remove it. If your dog’s gait is off, inspect the paws for foreign objects and injuries indicated by redness, swelling and discharges.

Check for cracks.

Walking on hot, hard ground can dry your dog’s paws, which may lead to cracking. Examine the paw pads to make sure they’re soft. If not, moisturize them by rubbing in a little bit of good quality Shea butter or a good organic and natural coconut oil once a day.

Last licks.

Dogs lick their paws for a variety of reasons: For some, it may relieve stress. For others, allergies may be the reason. Contact with grass, weeds and also pollen is a common source of irritation. And once your dog comes inside, tracking the substance into the house can prolong his/her discomfort. One way to combat that is to moisten a washcloth and wipe down paws after a walk.
By following these tips, you and your dog can get the most out of the beautiful sultry season.
As always, call your Veterinarian if your dog is hurt or any conditions worsen.

Scroll to Top