by K Marie Alto October 14, 2021 11 min read
Your dog's paws are among the most sensitive parts of their body.
Those precious little toe beans are surprisingly susceptible to damage, whether it's a rock stuck between them, a splinter from the ground, or just being scalded by hot pavement.
When walking your dog, specially in the hotter months, making sure you know how to keep you dog paws from getting burnt on hot pavement can be as essential as making sure you feed your dog properly.
Did you know that hot pavement is a danger to dogs all around the world? Sunlight bears down on the pavement and heats it up hotter than you might imagine. Even light-colored concrete on a 90-degree day can be as hot as 135 degrees!
Dark-colored asphalt can hit a shocking 145. With the weather seeming to get hotter every year and days over 100 degrees increasingly common, concrete is a hazard every pet parent needs to know about.
Your fur baby loves to go on walks, but how safe is it on a hot day? Can you bring them out for a walk down the street, or do you need to take special precautions?
The fact of the matter is, when the pavement gets too hot, it's simply not safe for your canine companion. You need to do whatever you can to protect your pup from the heat, to avoid scalded toe beans ultimately leading to an unhappy fur baby.
Luckily, there are several options you can try, from doggy shoes to one of the most popular options amongst pet parents today: using 100% natural moisturizing dog paw balms to help keep those toe beans looking healthy.
Before we dive into the details, it's also worth keeping in mind that when temperatures drop and your neighbors start sprinkling rock salt on the sidewalks, this too is harsh on your pups paws.
It's always best practice to wipe your pup's paws when you get home to remove anything harmful they may have picked up on their walk. Then just top off those clean paws with a little moisturizing paw balm to heal and re-hydrate their toe beans.
As always, my blog is packed with useful 📚 resources so, do not miss the read further section at the bottom. I'm sure you will learn 🤓 a thing or two that will certainly help you improve your fur baby's life.
Let's dig in!
It can be surprisingly difficult to recognize just how hot pavement can get. Light-colored pavement can still be 30+ degrees hotter than the air temperature, and dark-colored asphalt can be even hotter!
Here's an example chart:
It's even hotter if there's no wind and nowhere for the heat to go. Those hot summer days might be great for basking in the sunlight, but that's for spending time at the beach or in the yard, not on a hot driveway, street, sidewalk, or parking lot.
Remember, burns can happen fast.
"It only takes 60 seconds on pavement that is 125 degrees F for a dog's paws to burn. This means even if it's only 77 degrees F outside, the pavement could potentially be hot enough to burn a dog's feet if it stands on it for long enough." - TheSprucePets.
Damage can also accumulate over time, so be sure to check your pups’ paws during warmer months to ensure their toe beans are in good condition.
So, how can you test the pavement to see if it's safe?
Here are a few tips:
*When testing with your bare foot or hands leave them stationary for at least seven seconds. If you can't stand touching the pavement for seven seconds, it's too hot for your furry friend.
In the heat of the summer, it can stay hot for days or weeks at a time. Heatwaves can even last months in some areas! You can't very well lock your furry friend inside all this time, right?
You need to take them out for walkies to burn energy and tire them out for the evening - not to mention taking an afternoon tinkle!
When you take your fur baby out for his or her walk, try to stick to surfaces that won't be as hot as the pavement. Even dirt and sand are cooler than pavement.
Grass is better, especially grass in the shade. Even shaded pavement can be hot, but shaded grass is often no hotter than the ambient air temperature.
We understand that this can be a difficult task, especially if you live in a city where there isn't much green space available or if your fur baby loves to frolic regardless of the heat of the surface.
A lot of dogs don't realize just how hot their feet are getting until they've already burned their sensitive paws.
Luckily, a combination of a leash, some training, and a distraction with his or her favorite toy, a ball, or a stick can be enough to keep them away from the pavement.
When you go out for a walk, a trip to work, or just to wander your yard, you put on footwear, right? Maybe you wear sandals, maybe you put on shoes, maybe you pull on a thick set of boots. It all depends on the weather and your intended task, of course.
Why should your canine companion be any different?
There are plenty of vendors online who will make a set of four doggy shoes for your fur baby. Dog shoes are small and designed to protect your fur baby's paws while he or she frolics out in nature.
They're designed to tie down or fit snugly with Velcro so they don't fall off while your pooch runs and jumps and rolls in the dirt.
You want to find dog shoes that meet all of the following important criteria:
The shoes need to fit your pooch.
Just like with people, your fur baby needs shoes that fit their paws. Shoes that are too small will pinch and cause friction abrasions, while shoes that are too large can slip off easily.
There's a wide range of shoes available for dogs, both large and small, so shop around and see what works best.
The shoes need to offer traction.
We've all seen those funny pet videos of dogs called into a room with a slippery or freshly waxed floor and watched as they slide around a corner past the doorway they wanted to enter, bumping safely into a wall or piece of furniture.
It's all fun and games inside, but there are hazards outside.
Shoes with traction are a must to help your fur baby keep their balance, avoid tripping, or sliding into obstacles or other people.
Dogs can already be pretty clumsy on their own; you don't want to exacerbate the problem.
The shoes need to be snug enough to not fall off, but loose enough to not hurt.
If your doggy shoes are too snug, they can cut off circulation, pinch toes, chafe around the ankles, or generally be irritating.
On the other hand if they're too loose, your furry friend might shake them loose and leave them in the dirt, or they can get caught on obstacles.
It's tricky to find the right balance. Try measuring your fur baby's feet and picking shoes that match those measurements.
Let's face it, some dogs don't like shoes. No matter how comfortable or well-sized the shoes are, your fur baby may shake them off, chew at them, or even refuse to move until the booties are removed.
If he or she refuses to let you put shoes on their paws, what other options do you have?
One common suggestion is to use socks. Socks can work as a sort of loose shoe in a pinch, providing just enough protection from the heat to make it across a parking lot or sidewalk to the grass.
Unfortunately, they have the same problem as shoes. If your fur baby doesn't want something wrapped around their ankles, it won't matter whether it's shoes or socks.
Another option is peel-and-stick paw pads. These pads are essentially stickers. They have adhesive on one side, a thick construction to provide structure, and a grippy side to provide traction.
Simply peel them from their package and stick them to your fur baby's toe beans. That way, the stickers may absorb heat and protect your fur baby from the hot pavement.
The biggest downside to this option is that most paw pad stickers are made for indoor use only. They can deteriorate when they rub against something as abrasive as pavement, they can dissolve and fall apart if they get wet, and they aren't necessarily designed to insulate from hot pavement.
If you want to protect your fur baby's feet from the heat, you might need to find specific products to do it. Any old sticker won't work.
Also, some dogs who don't like shoes won't like stickers either. They simply don't like anything stuck to their feet, and that applies to both shoes and paw pads alike.
If your pup is averse to all forms of footwear, you can try some desensitization techniques to help ease the transition. Start with putting the shoes on when your pup is relaxed.
Praise and reward then remove. Continue lengthening the time the shoes are on at rest to allow your pup to get more tolerant. Once they get used to the shoes at rest, move on to using them for short periods around the house before trying them outside.
With time, and a lot of praise your pup will start to associate the shoes with positive rewards and you’ll be good to go.
Probably the best tip, especially for a fur baby that hates anything stuck to their feet, is to limit your walks to the early morning or late evening hours.
Watch for times when the air temperature drops, when the sun goes down, and when the heat of the day is passing.
"This is probably an obvious tip but one that folks sometimes don't consider enough. It's a great idea to take your dog out on daily walks, but be mindful of when and where you walk him. The best time to walk your dog is in the morning or late evening when the pavement is cool. Avoid walking your dog in the afternoon when the sun is high in the sky or early evening because the pavement will be hot." – Hemet Fire Department.
Yes, this means it's more difficult to get that lunchtime walk in or take those photogenic pictures of your fur baby playing in the sun.
You might also miss the routine of playing with his or her friends at the local dog park. Either way, the health and safety of your fur baby is more important than anything else.
One option for canines that don't like anything attached to their feet is a balm or wax. Paw balms and paw waxes, like our Momma Knows Best Hydrate and Soothe paw balm, help protect, heal, and restore your furry friend's toe beans.
How do they work? These balms are made of organic, naturally skin loving and needed protective ingredients. These materials help hydrate and heal your furry friend's feet. When he or she has cracked, dry, or blistered toe beans, heat can be much more of a problem.
By keeping their beans healthy, they can be much more resilient to brief exposure to hot pavement. These protective balms won't protect your fur baby from hot pavement, but they can make it safer to walk across the street or a short distance down the sidewalk without pain.
You can pick up a container of our balm from our website at the link above. Be sure to check out our other options as well; we have balms for several purposes.
from a 2-in-1 dog balm option especially formulated for skin wrinkles to a vegan optionand they're all USDA certified organic, safe, and made here in the USA using only the finest ingredients sourced from US companies. We do not source ingredients "globally". Watch out for companies that globally source ingredients as this usually mean some or all ingredients come from China.
When it comes to paw balms it's important to keep in mind that not all dog paw balms are created equal. Because dogs usually lick their paws, you need to make sure that the paw balm you pick is free from chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.
These harmful substances find their way into your pup’s blood stream and later into their vital organs. Your best bet when it comes to dog paw balms is to go for USDA organic dog paw balms only. Learn how to buy safe dog paw balms here.
Remember, your fur baby is susceptible to heat in more than just surface contact.
According to the American Kennel Club:
"A dog's normal resting temperature ranges from 99 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature over 104 signals heat stress. Over 105 registers as heat exhaustion, and more than 106 is heatstroke requiring emergency veterinary care." – AKC.
Watch for warning signs like seeking shade, sitting down, excessive panting, nausea, and excessive saliva.
And, if your fur baby experiences confusion, blue or purple gums, dizziness, bleeding, or a refusal to drink water, bring him or her to the vet immediately as they might be experiencing a dangerous case of heatstroke.
Luckily, it's not too difficult to take care of your fur baby on hot days. The best things you can do are use a hydrating paw balm to keep his or her feet healthy, avoid taking walks during the hottest hours of the day, and avoid the hot pavement as much as possible. Your fur baby will thank you for it!
Interested in more dog care guides? I have picked a bunch for you!
Do you have any tips to keep your pup's sensitive paws safe from the hot asphalt? Please share with your fellow pet parents in the comments below!
They say sharing is caring. If you found this content helpful, can you do fellow pet parents a little favor by sharing it? Use any social media button located around the post.
Additionally, if you are feeling like getting a little something for your fur baby that is made right here in the USA, 100% safe and, USDA certified organic, check out Toe Beans online pet supplies store!
K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer, and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 30K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).
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