The summer is a wonderful time to be a professional dog walker. For the most part, the warmer months give those in the industry a small amount of bragging rights over those who may be stuck in offices cursing Britain’s (relatively) hotter days.
However, dog walkers do need to take extra care when the sun is shining. The Blue Cross are regularly warning owners and walkers about the perils of hot pavements for dogs.
The pads on a dog’s feet may feel tough, but they are just as sensitive as the rest of their paws, and exposure to too much heat can leave them with nasty burns. While the air temperature of the UK seldom gets up to a temperature that would give cause for concern for many, sun-baked pavements can soon heat up to unpleasant levels.
Tracey Parnell, a Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse says; “A simple test is to take your own shoes off and stand on the path. If you are unable to keep your feet on the path for five seconds, then it is not safe to walk your dog.”
So how do you spot if your dog has suffered an ailment due to walking on hot surfaces? There are a number of different ways you can spot pad damage on your dogs.
Sometimes the dog will tell you themselves in some way or another. This could be that your dog is limping or walking unusually. Sometimes a dog will lick or chew it’s feet if hot pavements have an affect on it’s paws.
Other times though, it’s a case of keeping an eye on the health of your dog’s paws yourself. Regularly checking for blisters, redness or pads that are a darker in colour that usual is the way to go.
If you think your dog has suffered burns, you should firstly ensure it is kept off any hot surfaces. Veterinary advice is best sought as some severe burns are susceptible to getting infected particularly quickly.
Some burns will need to be bandaged, others will require the antibiotics. As always though, prevention is the best cause of action in the first place.
Of course, dogs always need walking. While it is best to make a decision as to whether it is too hot to take a dog out, there are plenty of other things to do to protect a pooch’s paws in warmer weather.
These suggestions aren’t ground breaking, but they can make such a difference to the health of a dogs paws.
Firstly, get out early in the morning or later in the evening. This may go against the flexible nature of a career as a dog walker, but at the end of the day, you need to take good care of your clients.
Exercising your canines before the pavements have had a chance to get too hot, or later in the day when they have cooled down somewhat, is an obvious step to take.
If you can’t avoid going out in the hottest part of the day, why not change up your route to take in some grassy areas? If you usually walk the dogs around the block, why not drive them (if it’s not within walking distance) to a local park or nature reserve?
Finally, if staying off the pavement when it’s at is hottest, there is the option of dog booties. It may take some convincing certain dogs to keep them on their feet, but they’re still a wise investment nonetheless. Make sure the boots you buy are of good quality and protection from even the hottest of pavements is assured.
The desire to take good care of the dogs being walked will be second nature to most, but there are examples of even the most well-meaning of dog owner or walker’s pooch suffering paw burns. Follow these easy steps an ensure a dog in your care never suffers from pavement burns.
If you’re a professional dog walker, it’s important to cover all basis. So make sure you take out our comprehensive dog walking insurance policy to protect you if your canine clients were to get hurt.