Although dogs have very strong paws, they are still sensitive to external factors such as heat. A dog can burn its paws on concrete, both from the chemical reaction during the curing of the concrete and from the heat accumulated by sunlight.
Although there is a considerable difference between the burns caused by these two factors of concrete, obviously, burns caused by heat build-up in concrete can affect a dog’s paws much faster.
Keep in mind that dogs’ paws have a lot of nerve endings and are quite sensitive, almost like the palms of the hands.
Dogs feel through their paws. Dogs are so sensitive in their paws that most dogs do not like to have their paws touched.
Although this website is about something as broad as architecture more than anything else, I also cover everything to do with materials and their interaction with living beings.
I enjoy covering these types of animal topics, in fact, I write on another site purely about animals and pets.
Let’s see, what are the negative effects that a very hot concrete can have on a dog’s paws, and what can be done to avoid it.
How much heat can dogs’ paws withstand?
Dogs’ paws can burn after only five minutes of touching a 50-degree surface, they say, For a 60-degree surface, the burn time is reduced to one minute. For surfaces over 65 degrees, blisters and burns can occur quickly.
Dogs cannot feel the heat of the concrete on their paws
Dogs are equipped a little differently than humans: We have heat sensors and cold sensors all over our bodies in the skin.
So we perceive precisely where something is too hot or too cold. Then we usually react very quickly – if the tar of the road is too hot, we pull our foot back before burns form.
Dogs only have cold sensors, not heat sensors. And that goes for the whole body, not just the paws. The only exception is the nose: Here the animals also perceive heat. While the dog will sniff a lot, he will still walk with his paws, not his nose.
So he would burn his paws (or make other body parts while sitting) before he notices. Only the pain receptors report that something was not okay. So it is already too late when the dog realizes
Heat accumulation in concrete and asphalt
Due to direct incidence and their dark color, both concrete and asphalt absorb energy during daylight hours that they do not have a way to release until the sun goes down at night.
Concrete and asphalt do not have a light color that can reflect the sun’s rays, on the contrary, they absorb all that energy which is transformed into heat.
The behavior of asphalt is based on its visco-elastic nature, so its behavior is a function of the loading conditions to which it is exposed and the temperature. The asphalt mixture exposed to very hot temperatures behaves like a viscous liquid.
How do you know if the concrete is too hot for the dog’s paws?
In summer, high temperatures can be harmful to dogs due to the fact that pavement can get very hot.
With the help of a simple trick, you can protect your dog from paw burns: With the “seven-second test”, dog owners can check whether the asphalt surface is too hot for their dog’s paws.
Hold the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds. If it is too hot for your hand, then the heat is too high for the dog.
It is generally assumed that at an air temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius, the sun’s rays can bring the asphalt to a crisp 50 degrees Celsius. If the sun burns down at an air temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, the asphalt is already a good 60 degrees Celsius.
So it helps to just look at the thermometer. This does not indicate a definite “road temperature”, but it helps with the decision. It becomes uncomfortable from ground temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius.
This means that the air temperature should not exceed 20 degrees Celsius for a pleasant walk for the dog.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the dog’s body language, pay attention to the following signs:
- limps or refuses to continue walking
- Licking or chewing on feet
- Darker than normal color of the pad
- Blisters or redness on the feet
- Missing part of the paw pad
When it gets too hot for dog paws?
Even if the air temperature is pleasantly warm, the concrete can become very hot. A pleasant temperature often hides a hot pavement. For example, the following temperature differences between air and concrete can occur:
|Air temperature||Temperature of the pavement|
|25 ° C||52 ° C|
|31 ° C||62 ° C|
|35 ° C||65 ° C|
How to know if the dog’s paw is burned?
A dog or cat suffering from burns may present different symptoms, depending on the degree of involvement. Fever, reddening of the skin, blisters, tissue loss and dehydration are some of the symptoms of burns that a dog may present.
A dog paw burn is a skin lesion characterized by inflammation caused by exposure of the skin to high temperatures.
The length of time the heat is in contact with the area has a decisive influence on whether the burn is more or less severe.
Should you use lotion to protect your dog’s feet from the heat?
Extreme temperatures can damage your dog’s paws, even if he is used to walking for miles on hard surfaces. Heat is absorbed by asphalt and concrete surfaces and will burn your dog’s paws as he walks.
On the other hand, ice, snow and cold sidewalks can cause extreme dryness and even frostbite. A special protective lotion can form a barrier to prevent damage, allowing your dog to stretch briefly on hot or cold surfaces.
Apply the protective lotion before exposing the dog to these surfaces. Protective lotion can be used with dog boots on long walks.
Can I put Vaseline on my dogs’ paws?
In the specific case of paw burns, avoid using petroleum vaseline on your dog’s paws, petroleum vaseline is usually a very oily product, oil only reflects the heat, it is not very useful.
It is advisable to use a water-based lotion or cream, which is moisturizing, this will be more helpful for his paws damaged by burns.
How to protect the dog from too hot concrete?
Take your dog for a walk when it is less hot
That is only logical: so that the walks do not become torture for your dog, you should go for a walk when it is least hot: as early as possible in the morning and as late as possible in the evening.
Touch the floor with your hand
To find out if the floor is too hot for your dog, you can test it yourself by touching it with your hand. If you get burned (on concrete, sand, etc.), your dog will also get burned.
Remember that your dog’s paws are in direct contact with the ground, just like when you walk barefoot on the street.
Your dog should not stop outside, especially on hot concrete, as this increases the risk of getting burned.
Let him go, don’t expose him to standing in one place without moving (outside a store or crosswalk, for example, or while talking to someone on the street). It is best to take breaks in a shady or cool place.
Shorten your walks
Take several walks, but shorter ones. If you think your dog is distressed by lack of activity, give him more attention indoors, especially in the form of play. You can also take a long walk in the evening, after dark, to compensate for the lack of exercise during the day.
Use barrier cream
Before and after walks, apply a barrier moisturizer to protect your dog’s paws (ask a veterinarian or pet store employee for advice).
You can also use dog shoes specifically designed to protect your dog’s paws. After the walk, you should wash your dog’s paws with cold water.
Calluses also protect the dog’s feet from the heat
The best way to prevent injuries to the pads is to harden them. To do this, the ideal is to alternate different types of surfaces so that they become accustomed to all types of terrain.
Walk with your dog on asphalt, sand or rocky areas and also in gardens so that the paws get used to different footprints. The level of hydration also plays a very important role.
The development of calluses on the dog’s paws is a natural defense mechanism, calluses are extra layers of hardened skin that develop to protect the more sensitive skin underneath.
What should you do if your dog’s paws get burned on the concrete?
Once the paws have been burned, the dog should be removed from the hot road surface immediately.
Avoid running with the dog, this will only maximize the damage and pain. If possible, carry the dog to a cool place. You should put him there and not let him stand on his paws.
If the dog trusts you, he will be happy to have you tend to him while he is lying down.
Generously wash the tips of his paws with cold water. This cools and removes the pain, and at least superficially cleans the burn.
Then apply a mild antibacterial agent to prevent infection or inflammation. Oily creams reflect heat back to the burned skin.
So avoid using such creams, which will harm your pet and worsen the discomfort.
Greaseless products with a high water content are better because they cool at the same time. Moist towels also help keep the paws cool and the healing skin moist.
For more serious burns (i.e., open wounds and blisters), take your dog to a veterinarian.
You should also do so if the dog is suddenly panting very loudly on such a hot day and does not calm down even in the shade. Because that may indicate other things like heat stroke.