It’s summertime. Dogs and humans alike love spending time outdoors at this time of year. Who wouldn’t?
But it’s still important to remember about the dangers that the heat can cause.
Olaf was out for a walk on a rocky surface when his owner noticed that his paws were bleeding.
They immediately brought him to the vet who discovered the short time he had spent on the rocks in the afternoon sun had caused burns severe enough to go right through his paw pads.
The Medical Lake Veterinary Hospital posted about the dog on Facebook to remind other pet owners to keep everyone’s paws safe this summer:
“Hot weather means hot pavement!
Olaf walked over a mile on the Fish Trap Trail before his owner realized his pads were burned, and even then he wasn’t whining or limping! He is one tough cookie (and exceptionally sweet cookie).
A good rule of thumb is if the pavement is too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dogs’ pads.”
Remember to use your hand to test where your dog will be walking. If you cannot keep your hand on the surface for ten seconds without getting burned, your dog won’t be able to either.
Stick to grassy areas and walking early in the morning or after the sun has set and the ground has started to cool.
While some minor burns can be treated at home, serious ones like second and third-degree burns need professional care in an animal clinic or hospital.
According to Pet Place, things to look out for include red skin, blisters, exposed skin, and missing hair.
Take note of the following in case your dog develops burns.
Find the cause
Know the cause of the injury. If you can discover the cause of the injury, I may help the vet to know how to treat it.
Only use approved medications
How many times have we heard a piece of advice from a “friend of a friend” that some first aid treatments include applying ointments, creams, toothpaste, or even margarine over the affected skin?
First, there’s no scientific research that can prove that they could indeed help in any way. Worse, you’ll never know if they can even do more harm than good.
Cool down the affected area
If the burns are brought about by hot liquid or a heated surface (such as pavement), the first thing you should do is run cold water on it. You can apply ice, a cold compress or anything from the freezer. Cover the burned skin with a clean cloth or non-stick bandage.
Are the burns from heat or from chemicals on the ground?
If your dog stepped in something dripping toxic, you may be dealing with chemical burns. In case of chemical burns, wear gloves and remove everything that the dog was wearing prior to the accident.
Flush the affected skin with cold water and use shampoo or detergent in rinsing away the remnants of the chemical. If it was caused by an acid, use baking soda.
Going to the vet
Regardless of whether the injury appears to be minor or calls for vet care, if you feel it isn’t a life and death situation, call the vet first as some cases can be remedied with a few instructions over the phone.
The vet may be able to assess the situation through your account of what happened and will be able to tell if they think a visit is necessary.
But remember, even if the injury is less severe and is just treated at home, a visit to the vet may still be necessary to avoid or treat an infection. Your vet may also offer advice on or assist with aftercare.
As the cliché goes, “prevention is better than cure.” The first rule is to keep those paws off hot surfaces in the first place.
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