With a heatwave set to hit this week, dog owners have been warned that they should keep an eye out for their dog licking their paws. This is because dogs will often lick their paws if they are in pain from paw burn.
It is important for dog owners to watch out for signs that their pet is struggling in the heat, Birmingham Live reports. Dogs are at risk in hot temperatures because they are not able to cool down through sweating, as humans do – and breeds with long coats are especially prone to overheating.
Common signs that a dog is struggling in the heat include; excessive panting, drooling, showing bright red gums and shaking.
General advice includes avoiding leaving animals in hot cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans, as these can be fatal in rising temperatures. The RSPCA also recommend applying sunscreen to pets on their noses, as well as giving your pet frozen and plenty of water. They also say damp towels for your pet to lie on, or an ice pack wrapped in a towel, could provide a welcome relief from the heat.
However, owners are being warned that they should keep a particular eye out for if their dogs start licking their paws, as it may be that they are trying to tell you they have burnt themselves on the ground in the sun. Pet insurance experts at Protectivity say that if they are licking their paws more than usual you should check for paw burn.
Why do dogs lick their paws in the sun?
If you notice your dog is licking their paws, it could be because they have paw pad burns. This can happen from your dog walking on the sun-scorched concrete in hot weather conditions.
Another sign that your dog may have sunburned paws is if they are limping when they are walking. In some cases dogs can even try and chew their paws as they struggle with the itch and pain caused by the burn.
How to prevent dog paw pad burns
One of the ways to prevent dog paw pad burns is by regularly checking their paws for any blisters, redness or the pads looking darker in colour.
You could also opt to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t at its hottest, to avoid hot pavements. If you can help it, try to drive your dog to the local grassy park too to avoid the amount of time they walk on the pavement.
On top of this, Protectivtity also suggests investing in boots for your dog to protect them when walking on hot pavements and prevent any existing paw pad burns from getting worse.