Most people would agree that it’s nicer to go for walks when the weather is on the sunny side, especially following some very changeable weather throughout spring. Your dogs will certainly appreciate the opportunity to have a good run around in the sun. However, one thing many people don’t take into account is how much this can endanger their pets’ feet.
If you’ve ever walked barefoot on the beach you’ll know that the sand can get incredibly hot underfoot, so you can probably imagine how uncomfortable a scorching terrain might be if you had to walk on it with bare paws! While dogs’ paw pads are weathered to protect them from sharp things and varying temperatures, extremes will still present a danger. Avoid walking around midday when the sun is hottest, and try to choose grassy routes rather than tarmac or concrete, as these get hottest. Try touching the ground with the back of your hand. If it is uncomfortably hot to the touch then it is too hot for your pet to be walking on. It is also worth bearing in mind that the fur between the pads may need trimming to help keep them cool.
As aforementioned sand can get incredibly hot. What’s more it has exfoliating properties, in other words it erodes layers of skin. To a certain extent this is beneficial, as gently removing the layers of dead skin allows new skin to grow properly. However, prolonged walks on sandy ground can actually wear away too much of the skin, leaving the paws vulnerable and sensitive. Make sure any walks on the beach are a sensible duration and check for any limping or signs of discomfort.
There are numerous parasites that your pet could pick up when they are out and about, and while many owners will brush down and check their pets’ bodies the space between pads is sometimes overlooked. Thoroughly check your pets’ paws on a regular basis, as they may have ticks or even thorns and splinters stuck in there. One sure fire sign that they have something wedged in their paw is if they start to chew their feet, so if they do this you must check them immediately.
If you’re changing your usual routes, and your usual terrains, you may find that your pets’ claws wear down at a different rate. For instance, if you’re using grassy locations to avoid hot concrete or tarmac, their claws may not be getting the same amount of friction, which might mean they get overlong. If this happens they can become uncomfortable to walk on, or even snap at the quick which would be painful. To counter this, you can visit a groomer or learn to trim their claws yourself.
It’s always a pleasure to make the most of the summer weather, and it’s made so much sweeter by the company of a pet. Just be sure to take precautions so everyone can enjoy the season together.