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Bulldog walking on pavement in the shade

Hot pavement dangerous to dog paws

Q: Can hot pavement burn my dog’s feet?

A: Yes. When my dogs stroll on the sidewalk and it gets a bit too warm, they pull over to enjoy the cool grass.

As the temperature increases, hot pavement can cause searing, blistering burns. When the blister sloughs off, the tender flesh beneath is exposed, making every step painful, even on soft carpet. Moreover, these burns can become infected.

So, walk your dog during the early mornings and late evenings, and don’t argue if he prefers to walk on the grass. Start with short walks, gradually lengthening them to give his foot pads time to thicken—and to accustom his body to the heat.

If you stop to talk with a friend, make sure your dog is standing in the shade on cool grass, a thick towel or even a piece of cardboard.

Don’t play fetch on sidewalks or in the street, because skidding to a stop on pavement abrades the pads even when the weather is cool.

Consider doggy boots, as they protect canine feet not just from winter’s cold and road salt but also from summer heat. Since not all dogs tolerate them, ask to borrow a pair from a friend before you buy.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at

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