The summer heat can affect your pet in many ways, but one hidden danger can be extremely painful and often goes unnoticed: hot asphalt.
Just like a car can heat up (even in the shade of summer), the asphalt under your pet’s paws can reach dangerously high temperatures in a matter of minutes. This can be extremely dangerous for your pet, and can cause severe burns on their paws. There’s even a risk on relatively cool days: if the temperature outside is 77 degrees, the asphalt temperature can reach a whopping 125 degrees!
“The Seven Second Test”
One quick way to determine if the surface temperature is too hot for your pet is to do the “seven-second test.” Put the back of your hand on the surface of the asphalt for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand to touch the asphalt all seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
Symptoms of Burnt Paws
If you’ve been out walking with your pet and see the following signs arise, your pet may be experiencing paw burn to varying degrees:
- The affected area is red and swollen (1st degree)
- Clear blisters emerge (2nd degree)
- Charred skin (3rd degree)
Treatment for Paw Burns
If your pet’s paws appear to be affected at all, please seek treatment from Animal Clinic of Woodruff as soon as possible. In the meantime, it’s important to try to cool the affected paws under room temperature running water. (Do not use ice as this can cause tissue damage.) Next, bandage their paw in a sock or wrap loosely and bring them in to be evaluated by our office.
How to Avoid Paw Burn in the Future
During the summer months, we recommend keeping your pet off any asphalt as much as possible. Try taking them on a walk through the grass or a local field. Additionally, you can take your dog out to stretch his legs early in the morning or evening to beat the heat!
For more tips about keeping your pets cool all summer long, check out our other summer blogs about "Keeping Outdoor Cats Healthy in the Heat," “How to Prevent Your Dog from Overheating,” and “Vaccines for Warm Weather Risks” that will ensure your pet is protected all summer long.
Have any other questions about keeping your pet safe throughout the summer? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Animal Clinic of Woodruff.