Despite all of the wear-and-tear they receive, pet paws are actually quite sensitive and subject to risk of injury, burn, and dryness or cracking. From scorching sidewalks to sharp rocks, paws are at increased risk, as we often spend more time outdoors with our furry companions during the summer months.
So how can you better protect those tender paws? Through summertime pet paw care!
Sources of Paw Injuries
In order to enjoy your outdoor rambles and jaunts to the dog park, being aware of the dangers that can puncture, burn, or scrape your pet’s paws is a good way to prevent accidents.
Burn risks – Hot asphalt, concrete, wooden decks, sand, and even hard packed dirt can all soak up the sun rays, creating a burn risk when the temperatures may otherwise feel OK.
Natural debris and sharp rocks – Broken twigs, jagged rock, and other natural debris can cause a puncture, scrape, or deep wound.
Foxtails/Cheatgrass – These plants contain tiny barbs that detach and can dig into your pet’s paw pads and skin and lead to infections and even potential medical emergencies.
Trash – Broken bottles, fishing line and hooks, and other trash from outdoor recreationists can become embedded in or wound paws. Avoid areas where there is visible trash and take care around lakeshores.
Protecting Pet Paws
In order to enjoy time outside with your four-legged this summer, take some precautions to keep those sensitive paws in good shape.
- Enjoy outdoor recreation during the early morning hours
- Before your intrepid fur friend bounds out the door, check the surface temperature by placing a palm flat on the ground
- Opt for grassy, shaded areas for your pet’s playtime
- Prevent dryness and cracking by moisturizing and protecting your pet’s paws using paw friendly products like Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax
- Try dog boots or shoes for trail walks and other rough terrain
- Disposable dog booties are another solution for those pet parents on the go with their fur pals (just keep some in the car)
- Inspect your pet’s paws (as well as skin, eyes, ears, and so forth) after time spent outdoors
- Keep nails clipped at a good length to avoid snags, breaks, and problems with balance and gait
- Learn to identify awn-bearing plants like cheatgrass or foxtails and avoid areas where they grow (large open meadows, for example)
Burns to paws can result in an emergency, so know the signs of 2nd and 3rd degree burns including:
- Redness or darkening of paw pads
- Refusing to walk
- Missing skin on pads
While minor burns can be treated at home with cool water and antibacterial ointments, more serious burns, such as blistering or bleeding, should be medically treated. Call our team to discuss the symptoms and how to proceed.
While summer can present some additional concerns for pet owners, you can protect your pet by taking the aforementioned precautions to keep those precious paws in good condition.