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Protect your dog’s feet this summer

Remember going to the beach and high tailing it across the burning sand in bare feet before hitting the waters edge for cool relief? Under the hot Australian sun, the sand, the road, the concrete footpath does get hot, hot enough to scold your soles and scar the bottom of your flip flops. Bitumen often melts and it feels like you’ve got a big piece of chewy stuck on your shoe.

We need to be aware that our dogs are racing around with bare feet and the pads on the bottom of their paws are exposed.  They can’t slip into a twin pair of their favourite thongs or a couple of pairs of plimsolls and there is such as thing as pad burn.

A dog’s paw pad is robust.  Made from a specialised skin to absorb pressure and protect the feet and tendons. However, they are susceptible to injury, overuse and burns. Pad burns can occur when your dog is exposed to walking on hot surfaces such as the footpath or a road that’s been baking in the Australian sun. When this occurs, your pooch may need immediate medical attention.

Our dogs want to be with us and will go for a walk even though the surface is hurting them.  Some breeds have a fur on their pads and won’t know that their pads are burning until the damage is done.  It is our responsibility to be responsible.

Symptoms of pad burns include:

Not wanting to walk or noticeable limping.
Discolouring or darker than usual pads.
Excessive licking or biting of feet.
Visible blisters or extreme redness.

Limiting the danger of pad burn:

Walk your dog on the grass rather than the footpath or road where possible.
Walk your dog in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature and surfaces have cooled.
Place your palm on the road or footpath to check the heat.  If the surface is too hot for you; then its too hot for the pads on your pet’s feet.
Booties are another option to protect the pads.

The key message here is awareness.

Dogs can get burns on their pads so please be careful when walking your dog, ensure they always have access to plenty of cool fresh water and if they do burn their pads, seek your vets advice immediately.

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