Paws For Thought!
1st December is the start of Summer in Australia and we know just how scorching our Summers can be. The things that Aussie pet people need to be aware of are many and varied, the most common of which are heatstroke and paw-burn. We'll leave heatstroke on the back-burner for the time being and today we'll discuss paw-burn. The 'awesome' thing about paw-burn (if we dare say such a thing) is that it means that we're making sure our dogs are getting out for their walks (Yay!!). Not so awesome is that although painful, sometimes the signs of paw-burn are so subtle that puppy parents aren't even aware of the damage done to those puppy paws and therefore don't treat them.
Right from the time that we do puppy training with baby puppies we try to make dog parents aware of the perils of being a dog in the city (paw-burn DOES primarily come from over-heated bitumen, after all). We teach all our puppy parents to hold a hand firmly on the ground for at least 3 seconds before taking their precious pup for a walk to feel the heat themselves - they trust us and we need to uphold that trust. After we suffer throuh the heat of a hot day and finally feel the cooling temperatures of the evening as the sun slowly sinks behing the high-rises, it feels much cooler, relativley, to what we sweltered through earlier. Therefore we throw the leash on the dog and bolt through the door with our fun-loving hound. Our rubber-soled feet hit the bitumen as we stride out the door and our Dogga bounds along by our side. Then we gt tothe first street crossing and everything changes quite dramatically (and we humans are usually completely oblibvious). Suddenly we're standing still at the kerb waiting for the traffic to clear or the lights to change and our dog is also standing still (or has been make to 'sit', poor little tyke!!) On HOT BITUMEN!! Usually our hot-footed hound is nice and calm and any obedience trained dog would be but suddenly he's doing the hot-shoe-suffle at double pace and probably getting in trouble for it. Meanwihile his little pawa (and possibly his/her butt) are being SCORCHED!
Yes, we have to wait at those lights and yes, we can still have our fur-friend understanding road rules but...we can also step away from the previously sun-drenched roadside to where the shade from trees or buildings has cooled the ground earlier in the day. Delaying our walk to a later time works as does walking on the grassy verges. Standing back from the road and moving much more quickly than usually across that road to the next patch of cool ground are also things that we can do. And if worst comes to worst there are also doggy booties. Yes, your dog will hate them but will get used to them if you introduce them properly - there's no point learning about dog behaviour if you can't work out how to get your dog to wear potentially ridiculous looking things (and it IS almost Christmans....)
But most importantly, protect those little paw, check them when you get home an treat them (cool water is always a good start!!) if you notice ANY tenderness. And enjoy wonderful summer together :-)