This is a serious issue that I think a lot of us don’t even consider when we think about taking our dogs for a walk. As a brief overview, a lot of our pavement and other surfaces actually can retain a lot of heat. I think we have all seen the videos of a person frying an egg on the sidewalk. Well, that degree of heat can cause serious damage to paw pads as well. When I practiced in Las Vegas, I saw numerous dogs that had serious burns on their paw pads from even just short walks in the Vegas heat.

There are a number of online sources that can show you the level or temperature of a sidewalk that can become dangerous for walking your dog. The problem is that many of us live in areas where we are forced to walk our dogs in order for them to use the bathroom…or you have a spoiled dog like myself that demands at least one walk per day or I pay the price. So, what options are there for you to protect your dog’s paw pads?

There are a few products on the market. First of all, don’t trust balms and rub on products. That is the equivalent to you putting Vaseline on your hand then putting it on the stove burner…it isn’t going to help. You can use products that go over the foot but be warned that these can cause irritation and dermatitis and many dogs hate products that cover their feet – although they do make some pretty funny videos! Probably the best product on the market is PawFriction. This is a rubber based paw pad coating applied directly to the paw pads. Essentially, it is like putting rubber on the paw pads and does a wonderful job of protecting against heat damage. One application can last 5-7+ days and will get you through the hot summer months to come!

-Dr. B