Dogs love going outside for walks. It’s healthy for you, it’s healthy for them, and it’s something that should be done all year round. But during the summer, the sun can heat up the pavement to such high temperatures that it can actually burn or damage your dog’s paws.
There are a few ways you can get your dog used to the hotter pavement temperatures. Each method should be done over time to give your dog time to adjust. Once they are fully adjusted, however, walking during the summer will be more comfortable for both of you.
Condition Their Paws
Taking your dog out on frequent short walks can help “toughen up” their foot pads to tolerate the hot pavement. This should be done in the early morning or late evening when the summer temperatures are not as hot as they can be.
Frequent walks on the warm pavement can help your dog adjust to the summertime outings. As long as you monitor your dog while they are outside, and ensure they do not start showing signs of discomfort, these frequent short walks will thicken the foot pads and get your dog used to walking on hotter than normal surfaces.
Keep Paws Moisturized
Using a variety of dog-safe moisturizers on their foot pads can help prevent cracking and bleeding when walking on hot pavement. Moisturized paw pads are more flexible and can help regulate your dog’s natural body temperature.
Moisturizers such as udder balm or vaseline are safe to use on dog’s paws. You can also find a variety of wax type moisturizers and protectants. Look for foot balms used for sled dogs in order to get the highest quality and safest products.
In addition to topical moisturizers, always make sure your dog has access to fresh and cool water to drink. When out on walks, taking along a water bottle and a collapsible travel bowl to offer your dog a drink mid-walk can be a great way to keep your dog hydrated on extremely hot days.
Use Protective Booties
When the pavement is just too hot for your dog to walk on, or your dog starts to show signs of discomfort when walking on it, you might want to consider using protective booties. These booties come in all sizes and styles and are made to fit over your dog’s foot, similar to a shoe you would wear.
Each dog may need some adjustment time before they will tolerate wearing booties, so applying the boots to your dog while they are at home and letting them get used to the feeling of the boot is a good choice. Teach your dog not to chew on the boots, and use positive reinforcement often.
Once your dog is used to the boots, they will understand that putting on the boots is a positive experience and not a punishment. They will also walk normally when outdoors, and won’t get you strange looks from your neighbors.