Paw protection in summer: How to keep your dog’s paws healthy in the heat

Dog paws standing on tarmac and the sun shining in the background Dog paws standing on tarmac and the sun shining in the background

Summer is coming, and temperatures are rising with it. The summer heat is becoming an increasing challenge for people and animals, especially in cities. 

Our dogs in particular suffer in high temperatures. Read how to protect your dog from heat shock here. In addition, protecting their paws in summer is an important issue that is often underestimated. In this article, you will learn all about proper paw care and how you can protect your dog’s sensitive paws from the scorching heat.

Why is paw care so important in summer?

Dog paws are very sensitive. In summer, hot tarmac can be not only uncomfortable but even dangerous for your dog. Burns, dehydration and cracks are common problems that can occur if paw care is neglected. And it’s also important to remember that it’s not just the tarmac that heats up: Your dog is also directly exposed to the hot ground on sandy beaches or mountain hikes. 

The heat sensitivity of dogs’ paws

A dog’s paws consist of complex structures made up of pads, claws, connective tissue and a special layer of fat. The purpose of this layer is to protect the paw from extreme temperatures. Despite this natural layer of insulation, dogs’ paws are sensitive to extreme heat. The pads can quickly become burned if they come into direct contact with very hot surfaces, as they do not have sweat glands that contribute to cooling their entire bodies, like us humans do. Because dogs’ paws are directly exposed to the hot ground and only have minimal cooling function, it is important to take special precautions to protect them in summer.

Eine Hundepfote die in der Hand eines Menschen liegt Eine Hundepfote die in der Hand eines Menschen liegt

The ‘7 seconds test’

To check whether the ground is too hot for your dog’s paws, you can perform the 7-second test: Place your palm on the ground and count to seven. If you are forced to pull your hand away before that, the ground is definitely too hot for your dog. This simple test helps you to quickly decide whether it is safe to go for a walk or whether it is better to wait until it cools down.

How do I protect my dog’s paws in summer? 

  1. Care: Regular paw care for dogs forms the basis for healthy dog paws. Check their paws regularly for cracks, wounds or foreign bodies. The paw pads can be treated with special balms that moisturise and strengthen the skin. The cream also provides light protection from the heat of the ground. The Natural Balm from DOG'S LOVE provides nourishment from organic oils and is a good choice for stressed or sensitive paws. 
  2. Dog shoes for the summer: If you are forced to walk your dog on hot surfaces, dog shoes may be necessary. They not only help to keep the heat off, but also protect against sharp objects and hot sand on the beach. Make sure the shoes fit well and are made of a breathable material to avoid overheating.

Advantages and disadvantages of dog shoes: 

Dog shoes can be a necessary evil. They offer your dog the following benefits in hot weather:

  • Burn protection: Dog shoes provide reliable protection from burns caused by hot tarmac or sand.
  • Injury prevention: They also offer good protection from sharp objects such as broken glass, sharp stones or prickly plants.
  • Hygiene: The dog's paws remain clean and do not come into contact with any bacteria or chemicals. 

However, the use of dog shoes also has disadvantages:

  • Patience and familiarisation: Not all dogs get used to wearing shoes easily. It may take some time and patience before they accept the shoes without any problems.
  • Risk of overheating and moisture: If the shoes are not selected correctly, they can cause the paws to overheat due to accumulated heat or cause moisture to build up in the shoe, which in turn can lead to irritation or infection.
  • Restriction of movement: Poorly fitting shoes can restrict the natural movement of the paws and impair your dog's gait.

To ensure that the shoes do more good than harm, it is important to choose the right size and the right material. It is best to seek advice from a specialist shop!

Protecting dogs’ paws on the beach

A visit to the dog beach is a must on holiday with a dog and is fun for almost all dogs. But be careful: Hot sand can be just as dangerous as hot tarmac. In addition, shells and sharp stones can injure their paws. Dog shoes can also offer good protection here. Sand residue should be rinsed off well after a visit to the beach to avoid sore spots that can be caused by friction. 

Conclusion: Enjoy summer with the right paw protection 

Even if the summer months bring fun activities with your four-legged friends, you should bear in mind how heat can affect your dog. The 7-second test and, if necessary, dog shoes can help protect your dog’s paws from burns caused by hot tarmac or sand. With a little consideration and the necessary protection, you can enjoy the summer with your four-legged friend to the full!