Seasoned pet owners are familiar with the dangers of heatstroke, especially when it comes to leaving their best friend in the car. Less common, however, is an awareness of the ground temperature during the hottest months. Even when air temperatures hover between 75-85 degrees, asphalt and concrete temperatures can soar to 125-140 degrees! While that doesn’t impact our shoe-laden feet, damage to animal paw pads is imminent. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prevent injury and protect your pet’s paws this summer.

The Ouch Factor

It can be great fun to enjoy all that summer has to offer with your dog, but not when their paws are suffering burns, cracks, blisters, and loads of pain. We don’t want to discourage you from bringing your pet out and about with you, but the following precautions are necessary to protect their paws this summer:

  • If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s definitely not safe for your pet’s paws. Stand for at least 10 seconds to gauge dangerously high temperatures.
  • Exercise together during the hours directly following dawn and after sunset. This will reduce the chances of your pet getting injured from the scorching ground. During these hours, you don’t have to avoid concrete. In fact, walking on it during off-peak hours can actually toughen the skin on the paws.
  • If your pet is outside during the hottest hours of the day, be sure that they have access to grass, shade, and plenty of water.
  • Take daily notice of their behavior. Look closely at the condition of their feet and paws. Any damage should be addressed promptly and debris must be removed. 
  • Soak a clean cloth in lukewarm water and clean the feet after any time outside this summer.

Summer Paw Care

One of the best ways to prevent injury to the paws this summer is to invest in a great set of dog shoes or booties. There are many varieties and materials to choose from. While your dog may not beg you for them, they can definitely get used to the look and feel of footwear. Hiking, running, hanging outside in the sun are just a few activities that dogs in boots can participate in.

Since dogs sweat through their paw pads, be sure to remove any footwear after some time. This will allow them to regulate their internal temperature.


Injury to the paws can occur after swimming or wading as the paw tissue soften up. Avoid any hot or abrasive surfaces, like sand or gravel. 

There are dog-safe moisturizers and paw waxes available to help protect paws this summer. They won’t cause harm if licked and swallowed, and they can relieve any discomfort associated with dry, chapped paws. These products can also come in handy during the winter, too.

Watch Those Paws This Summer

If you see your dog overgrooming their feet, limping, or show obvious signs of injury (bleeding, swelling, blisters, abrasions, infection, etc.), let us know right away. Treatment may require antibiotics, pain medication, and daily dressing of bandages on the feet. 

If the Pet Experts can answer any questions about preventing injury to your pet’s paws this summer, we’re always here to help.