Lifestyle & Human Interest

Veterinary Hospital Warns Pet Owners After Dog's Paw Pads Burn Off During Walk


Summer is in full swell, and you know what that means. Home air conditioners start working overtime, car interiors turn into saunas and pavement becomes hot enough to fry the proverbial egg.

Of course, we usually only expect things to get really sweaty in places such as Arizona, Texas or Florida. But a story out of the Evergreen State reminds us that heat-related injuries can happen almost anywhere — and pets are especially vulnerable.

According to KXLY, a veterinary clinic in Medical Lake, Washington, has issued a warning for pet owners. The message’s gist? Take care when walking Fido on pavement during the summer.

Veterinarians at Medical Lake Veterinary Clinic encountered a plucky pooch named Olaf who ended up in a horrible situation. Olaf’s owners decided to take him for a walk.

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That shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Well, no one expected that the heat of the pavement could cause real and lasting harm to the stoic golden retriever.

Olaf’s owners strolled with him without noticing anything amiss, but by the end of their jaunt, the heat had nearly scorched off the pads of his paws entirely.

“They didn’t notice he had bloody paw prints for a mile,” said Dr. Heather O’Bannon. “He didn’t complain, whine, or limp or anything.”

Many pet owners avoid taking their canine companions outside during midday because they don’t want their doggos to get overheated. Yet petMD reminds us that scorching the pads on their feet is another real risk.

Though those toughened layers of skin protect against injury, they’re more vulnerable than many people think — particularly to hot concrete.

“There is actually a physical burn when the paw pads are burned when the concrete is too hot,” Dr. M. Duffy Jones of Atlanta’s Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital explained.

“These manifest themselves as blisters that rupture over the course of a few days after the burn. There might not be many clinical signs except pain expressed by the pet when it happens but, just as in people with burns, you can see blisters that can rupture and the pet might be acting painful and licking at their feet.”

In Olaf’s case, though, he didn’t express pain at all. He just kept walking, eventually leaving behind a set of bloody pawprints.

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“Obviously he didn’t want to stop his walk,” O’Bannon said. “He didn’t want to let his owners know.”

The golden retriever didn’t even react during treatment. “We were able to clean around those pads without him even moving a muscle,” the vet recalled.

The Medical Lake Veterinary Hospital added on its Facebook page, “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.”

Olaf has a long road ahead of him. “Pads don’t heal extraordinarily fast,” O’Bannon explained.

However, the brave pooch is on antibiotics and pain killers. His vets expect him to eventually make a full recovery.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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