Summertime typically means that dogs spend more time outside. But summer isn’t always kind to your dog’s paws. Whether you live in the city or in the country, your dog’s paws need some special care during warm weather.

Summer paw care for city dogs

Urban dogs tend to spend more time on pavement, whether it’s concrete or asphalt. They even encounter gravel at times. Many dogs take their exercise by going for walks on these surfaces and that can mean walking on some hot surfaces at times. While most dogs can tolerate sidewalks on normal days, when temps heat up, your dog’s paws can burn. Dogs who spend an excessive amount of time on pavement can get blisters and burns on their paws.

Shoes and booties for the city

You can prevent these problems with hot pavement by outfitting your dog with shoes or booties. There are a wide range of dog boots for city use. Most dog boots for city wear are not as rugged-looking as other dog boots. You can find booties in all kinds of colors and styles. If your dog wears dog apparel, many pet stores sell booties to match outfits. You can find everything from booties that resemble tennis shoes to boots that look like socks or that have “toes.” Some booties look more traditional or formal. Whatever kind of bootie you’re looking for, you can probably find.

Paw balm

You can also protect your dog’s paws by using a protective balm. Some protective products can be applied before taking your dog for a walk to help toughen up the paws. Other products are applied after a walk to help soothe the paws. Your dog will probably appreciate all of these efforts to keep his tootsies comfortable.

Regular nail care

Another way to keep your dog’s paws comfortable during the summer is by making sure you keep your dog’s nails trimmed short. Trim your dog’s nails every week or two, removing a small amount of nail each time. Long nails make walking more difficult for your pet and can cause his paw to splay.

If your dog has long hair on his paws, you can also use a pair of scissors to keep the hair neat and tidy. Lift his paws and trim the long hair on the bottom of the paws, too. This will help prevent him from picking up a lot of dirt and debris when he walks.

Paw care for country dogs

If you and your dog live in the country you can follow these same suggestions. There are also a few other things for you to keep in mind. If you and your dog go hiking or walking over rocky terrain, consider getting dog boots for your dog. This is also true if your dog will be out in tall grass and weeds or if you go hunting with your dog. Dogs can get grass awns and foxtails wedged between their toes. Sometimes these sharp plant materials can fester for months and even require surgery to remove them. So, if you and your dog will be in an area where he could pick up something between his toes, think about fitting him with shoes. More and more hunting dogs are wearing dog boots these days, just to be safe.

Pet Boots and Shoes

Why dogs need pet boots and shoes
In the winter time, especially in snowy areas, cities often put down chemical de-icers as well as salt on pavement. If you walk your dog on this pavement, his paws will become covered with this salt and chemicals. This causes problems for many dogs. Their paws can chafe and crack. You can use emollients on their paws to help them heal. You can also use paw wax to help toughen the paws. And you need to wash your dog’s paws when he walks on pavements where these chemicals are found. Do not let your dog lick his paws after he has been walking on pavement in the winter until they have been washed. These chemicals can be dangerous for your dog.

You can also put pet boots or shoes on your dog when you walk him so you can keep his paws free of these chemicals. Boots and shoes will keep the salt and chemicals off your dog’s paws so they won’t crack and they will prevent your dog from ingesting the chemicals.

In the summer, dogs who walk on hot pavement can appreciate wearing boots or shoes to keep their paws from getting too hot. Rain boots can also be a good idea if you want to keep your dog’s paws dry.

Senior dogs with arthritis or other mobility problems can often have trouble walking because they can’t get enough traction on the floor. This is especially true if you have hardwood floors. If you put pet boots or shoes on your dog’s paws, especially on his rear paws, it will often provide the traction he needs so he can walk again.

Some hunting dogs wear boots or shoes if they will be hunting in tough terrain that could injure their paws.

Of course, there are many boots and shoes that are made for fashion reasons. You can always buy them for your dog just because they look good.

Choosing boots and shoes
Pet boots and shoes usually come in small, medium, and large sizes. You should choose the size that’s appropriate for your dog. Some boots and shoes have Gore-tex or other gripping soles. These boots and shoes would be especially good for dogs that need good traction.

There are several good brands of dog boots and shoes. You can find them online or in pet stores. Brands include Guardian Gear, UltraPaws, and Muttluks. Some dog boots and shoes come in four-packs and some come in two-packs. Boots and shoes tend to be rather expensive but they do last a while.

Your dog may have trouble walking in the boots or shoes at first or try to remove them but most dogs quickly adjust to them. Elderly dogs should adapt and become more mobile as soon as they realize they can get their footing again.

Article by Nancy Cope – Owner of an online boutique for spoiled pups and their owners.