Dogs are very intelligent and most of the time understand that pavement can be too hot to walk on due to previous experiences with them. Any accidental contact with the hot pavement can be translated as a very unpleasant experience for your dog and bring negative effects.
The negative effects of walking dogs on hot pavement can be shortly divided into two sections: short-term and long-term.
- Painful burning or cracking of paw pads
- Limping or reluctance to walk
- Whining or whimpering
- Pulling on the leash toward cooler areas
- Constant scratching or chewing of paws
- Loss of trust and confidence in the owner when it comes to safety and well-being
- Associating their owner with pain and discomfort
- Anxiety, fear, and avoidance behavior
- Difficulty walking and standing due to severe damage to paw pads
- Aggression or destructive behavior due to built-up stress and anxiety
🚨 While the short-term negatives can be fixed in a relatively short span of time, the long-term may take much longer and often represent serious behavior problems.
How to protect dog paws from hot pavements?
The easiest and most recommended solution is to choose a different time or route for walking your dog. Early in the morning or later in the evening is usually the best time. It also perfectly fits the busy time schedule of dog owners. If you are not able to change your time management in favor of your dog, consider changing your route.
If none of the above works for you, check the temperature of the pavement manually. Just place your bare hand for a couple of seconds on the terrain you are going to walk on. If it’s hot for you, it’s hot for your dog too. Carrying your dog in your arms through all the too-hot passages is a recommended solution.
Try to avoid dog boots as a long-term solution unless your dog is perfectly comfortable with them (rare). Dog boots decrease the contact with hot pavement practically to zero, but toleration in dogs is at a bare minimum, and it’s far from a natural experience for your dog.
Apply natural dog paw ointment before and after the walk. Before, to minimize the negative physical effects of hot pavement (if any), and after to soothe, heal and relax the paws.