Taking your dog outside your home with you can provide him with much-needed socialization and interaction with other people and animals. Care must be taken, however, to protect your dog when he’s outside, especially in hot summer weather. In addition to using a leash and making sure your dog has access to fresh water, protect his delicate footpads as well. Even though they’re relatively tough and durable, they can still be injured by hot pavement and sand.
Test the Heat
Pavement and sand that are warmed by the sun can retain heat. Avoid walking your dog during the hottest parts of the day to protect against blistering and pain. As a test, place your palm on the pavement or sand surface. If it’s too hot for you to be comfortable, it’s too hot for your dog as well. Keep in mind that tar-covered pavement can also bubble and become sticky, which can adhere to your dog’s footpads and cause both pain and discomfort, as well as track tar into your vehicle and home.
Buy commercially-made dog booties or foot coverings that are designed to guard against sand and hot pavement. You can find both reusable and disposable foot coverings in a variety of sizes. Take your dog with you to try on footwear to ensure you get a good fit. This will guard against buying ill-fitting coverings that will be uncomfortable and that your dog will try to pull off. Look for shoes with hard rubber soles and self-adhering hook-and-clasp straps.
If you’re taking your dog to a ball park or beach, protect his feet the way you might your own -- by positioning him on a towel or blanket to guard against the heat. If your pup is on pool decking, keep the deck hosed down regularly to keep it cooled off.
If you’re planning a trip with your dog to locations that will require protective footwear, get him used to wearing foot coverings in advance. Get into the habit of putting on booties when he gets in the car or goes for a walk. This will get him used to the feeling, and he’ll be much less likely to fight against wearing them when necessary.
Be Aware of Surroundings
Just as you would select appropriate footwear for different locations and activities, you should be mindful of your dog’s foot protection needs as well. It’s not just hot pavement that can burn a dog’s feet -- parking lots, paved roads and trails can also be littered with debris, such as broken glass, sharp rocks and garbage like aluminum cans that can cut or otherwise injure your dog’s delicate paws. Pay close attention to areas where you walk your dog to ensure there are no hazards.