By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - You may be unaware of the dangers you may be exposing your dog to simply by walking on certain terrains in the excessive summer heat. Severe injury, infections and burns to the pads of your dog’s paws could develop quickly by allowing your dog to walk on hot concrete, tar-coated asphalt, hot pavement, metal or hot sand. Never force your dog to walk in these areas. Take your dog to a grassy area or carry your dog to a cooler area.
Paw pad burns and injuries may be overlooked since we cannot see them at first glance but it’s imperative to keep your dog off of these types of hot surfaces and to be extremely observant if your dog is limping or refuses to walk. Other signs of pad burn or injury include licking or chewing at the paws, pads become darker in color, blistering, swelling, redness or abrasions.
Keep the paw area cool and clean by flushing with cool water or cool compress. Your vet should check for infection and to see if antibiotics or pain medication is needed.
Walk your dog on only grass if possible. Walk on the shady side of the street. Walk earlier in the morning or in the evening to avoid the excessive heat to surfaces. Lay down a cool wet towel for your dog if you need to be in a sunny area.
A good rule of thumb is: Walk your dog where you would feel comfortable walking barefoot.