Dog Paw Protection Tips

4 Tips to Protect Your Dog’s Paws in Summer

Medical Contributor:

Dr. Annie Kwok

Jun 19, 2023

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Summer weather can be awesome for people and their pets, but it can also be ruffy-rough on dogs for a variety of reasons. Hands down, one potential problem is their delicate feet. The pads of your dog’s feet are very delicate and can burn easily when you take them for a walk or other outdoor activities.

In our pet emergency rooms, we see this often. Our VEGgie vets are trained to handle burns on paws, but overall we strongly suggest that dog owners practice prevention through paw protection. Paw problems can affect your dog’s overall health and wellbeing during the summer months. By implementing paw protection measures, your playful pooch can stay active outdoors all season long.


Follow the 4 tips below to help protect your dog’s paw pads in the summer: 

1. Place your own hands on the ground

Yep, put your own feelers out! Do this if the outdoor temperature is above the mid-70ºsF. How to check if it’s too hot for your dog:

  • Before you take your dog with you on a hike, a walk, a run, or anywhere outdoors, briefly head outside on your own first
  • Place the back of your hand on the cement or any other ground surface
  • If you can’t tolerate the heat on your hands, your pet’s feet should not be exposed to the surface either

This hand test is a great rule of thumb, and is often a better gauge than looking at an actual thermometer. 

So, what if your dog is just going out to pee? Keep in mind, if you have a backyard that is mostly covered with cement or gravel, summer weather can make it hard for your pet to go outside for their bathroom break during the peak part of the day. You may need to create a walkway to your grass lawn out of materials that make it safer for pet feet to avoid burned paws.

2. Take an alternate route to your dog’s favorite spots

Dogs get to know a regular route by heart, or more likely, by their snout. In fact, you might wonder, “Who’s walking who?” when the excitement of going somewhere fun kicks in. If you tend to take the same route to get to the dog park or other routine spot, but if the weather is hot, you may need a Plan B depending on the path. Check if there’s grass along the route; a walkway with sidewalks or pavement can be problematic for paws. If necessary, find a different path that’s safer on the toe beans.

3. Get your pet some dog booties

Dog booties can be a great solution to protect your dog’s paws for both hot and cold weather. Dogs with booties on will not get sunburned feet and will be far more comfortable in the summer months thanks to their canine paw coverings. 

For dog owners with patios and other cement areas where their pet spends a lot of time, booties can be a great solution that your doggy will appreciate! You’lll still need to leave your pets at home when the weather is over 80ºF, but if you are looking for a solution that will allow your dog to avoid burned feet due to the sun warming the ground too much, look into paw wear for dogs.

4. Leave your pet at home

If it is more than 80ºF out, your doggo is better off at home, preferably with the air conditioning on. Make sure that your dog is not left outdoors when you are away from home while the temperature is this high. You might need to create a space in your home that’s safe for your pet to hang out in when it’s really hot outdoors. 

While your pet might give you sad puppy-dog eyes about being left behind, there are many risks associated with high temperatures for dogs. Not only can your dog get heat burns on their feet, but there’s also the chance of your pet getting overheated and experiencing heatstroke. Heatstroke can be deadly in pets, and you want to avoid this health problem at all costs.

Many pet owners believe that hot temperatures are not a problem if their pet has access to some shade and lots of water. To that we say, H2Oh-no. Even in the shade, pets can get heatstroke because they are not able to adequately cool off after exertion. You may have seen that your dog takes a while to calm and cool down after playing. That’s because dogs are not aware of their own limits, so they can play too hard, and for too long. Combine that with temperatures that are too high, even in the shade, and you get a recipe for health trouble.


Sometimes the temperature spikes unexpectedly and you’re just not prepared with paw protection. If you’ve gone outside with your dog and think they may be affected by the hot surfaces, keep an eye out for the following: 

  • Limping or avoiding walking
  • Licking or chewing on paws
  • Visible paw damage, like blisters or redness


So, while summer comes with risks, you now have some tips on how to keep your dog from burning their paws on hot surfaces, like patios and sidewalks. To sum it up: 

  • Do not expose your dog to hot surfaces and extended periods in the sun 
  • Always be sure that you have a plan to protect your pet’s feet when the weather is really hot
  • Leave your pet home if the temperature is over eight degrees

Your pup looks to you for safety at all times. Remember, paw protection helps maintain your dog’s health and well-being during the summer!


If your dog does get burned paws when the sun is hot, contact VEG by calling your nearest location or come in for immediate triage. Carry your dog in, rather than making them walk. If you need assistance getting your dog into our ER from the car, call ahead and our staff of VEGgies will be ready to help. The skilled emergency vets at all of our VEG pet hospitals are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, to provide the best emergency and urgent care for your dog. At VEG, you stay with your dog the entire time, which is a comfort to you and your pet!