Summer Paw Protection for Your Pets in Charlotte, North Carolina

Summertime is a great time of year. The sunny days of summer bring to mind warm days by the pool or beach, cookouts, and fun times with your pet. It also brings a set of challenges, especially in the heat of Charlotte, North Carolina. With the high humidity and hot temperatures rising, even into the triple digits, it is important to keep your pet’s health in mind to keep them safe and cool this summer. The following tips will be helpful for you to help your pet avoid becoming a “hot dog” in the summertime!

Temperatures Impact Your Pets In More Ways Than You Think

Did you know dogs don’t sweat like people do? Dogs can only release sweat from their paw pads and nose. Because of this, most of their heat is released through panting. Your pet uses panting to cool themselves by exhaling the hot air and drawing in the air over the moist surfaces of the mouth to cool it. Because of this, it can be difficult for your pet to stay cool effectively in extremely hot temperatures. This is especially true for our smoosh faced (brachycephalic) breeds – such as pugs, bulldogs, and others. This can pose a challenge for our pets, especially in the “dog days of summer.” On those hot summer days, the temperature of the ground and pavement can be much higher than the temperature of the air. This can make the pavement or other areas painful for your pet and even dangerous for your pet’s paws. This leads to an increased risk of thermal burns or injury to your pet’s paw pads, as well as an increased risk of heatstroke.

The Seven-Second Rule

The “seven-second rule” is a great way to identify if the ground is too hot for your pet to walk on. Place the backside of your hand on the ground and hold it there for 5-7 seconds or stand barefoot on the ground. If it is too hot for you to stand on without shoes, it is definitely too hot for your pet. Walking your pet for a short walk first thing in the morning before it is too hot is ideal to prevent burns. Even walking at night can still be too hot for your pet – make sure to check before walking. Walking in the shade or on the grass can also make your pet more comfortable. Providing ample fresh water and taking breaks is also important to help you and your pet stay comfortable.

Look Out for the Signs

If you notice your pet acting abnormally on a walk by pulling to the shade, stopping, limping or crying out, or excessive panting, drooling or behavior changes, the best thing to do is to stop walking and take a break or return home. If you notice your pet limping, licking their paws excessively, or raw or red paw pads during or after a walk, please consult your veterinarian. You may apply cool water or a cold compress in the meantime on the way to the veterinarian to help your pet feel better. 

Regular Paw Care

With the summer heat aside, your pet’s paws are very important in their daily life. Routine maintenance can help prevent problems from occurring in the future. Routine nail trimming can help your pet maintain proper mobility and help prevent slipping or injury. There are many great ways to encourage your pet to be comfortable with nail trims and decrease their stress. If you are not comfortable trimming your pet’s nails, please contact your veterinary staff to help. 

Checking your dog’s paw pads frequently, particularly after a walk, can be helpful to prevent foreign material from becoming stuck or causing injury. Insects can also cause harmful bites or stings to your pet’s paws, causing pain and lameness. It is best to prevent your pet from walking in areas with long grass and areas with lots of bugs to help decrease these risks. If you notice any concerning findings with your pet or find that they are limping or not acting like themselves, we recommend consulting your veterinarian for advice or to schedule an appointment. 

Enjoy the Summer With Your Pet

Summer is a challenging time for pets. By using these tips and taking care of your pets and their feet year-round, hopefully, you will be able to avoid any problems with their paws or “burning up.”

We hope these tips can help you and your pet have a great summer and stay cool. If you have any questions about your pet’s health or would like to schedule an appointment with our hospital, please call 704-847-8466 or email