Most pet parents give their pet’s paws little thought. Maybe it’s because pet paws aren’t very noticeable or because issues such as dental care or vaccinations seem more pressing or important. However, pet paws are actually quite sensitive and can become injured when precautions are not taken to keep them protected.

“Protected from what?” you might ask. Well, there are a number of things that can compromise the health of your pet’s feet.

Let’s explore…

  • Pet paws… feeling hot, hot, hot – When the late morning sun starts to sizzle the sidewalks and asphalt, these surfaces can create burn dangers. Pet paws are quite susceptible to burns, creating an emergency situation and weeks of painful recovery. Use caution by walking your dog during early morning or evenings hours, ensuring the surface is cool to the touch. If you walk your pet during hotter hours, use the 5-second rule to test if the pavement is safe for your pet’s paws. Or, consider some of these cool (literally so) dog booties made just for summertime heat waves.
  • Summer heat means dry feet – Another common problem during summer months is skin conditions, such as dryness and cracking. Since your pet’s paws take a beating on concrete, they can easily begin to crack, bleed, or even become infected. Slather on some soothing paw balm, formulated specifically for fur friends, to help keep those paw pads moisturized.
  • Summertime debris: avoiding the ouch – Summertime means summer crowds, and with these picnickers, vacationers, beach bums, and the like, comes trash. Whether you are on a lake, at the beach, or visiting a state park, keep in mind that your pet may stumble upon fishing lures, broken glass, and other debris. Watch where you wander and keep your pet away from areas that are popular with anglers or messy partiers.
  • Natural dangers – Not all outdoor paw pad injuries are sustained through trash. Sharp rocks and gravel can slash or become embedded in paw pads. For those of you who love to hike with an adventurous canine, these outdoor excursions may call for protective booties, designed to withstand rugged terrain (and fitted to withstand clever dogs who love to take them off).
  • Trimmed nails = healthy nails – One of the most important things you can do to keep your pet’s feet healthy any time of year is grooming. Whether you take your pet to the grooming salon or put your DIY grooming skills to the test, keeping nails trimmed to an appropriate length is a must.

Untrimmed nails can easily become broken or split, which can cause bleeding and pain. Untrimmed dew claws (the claws that grow farther up the foot and curl inward) grow quickly and actually start to become lodged in the skin before they’re noticed.

If you plan to take on the task of nail trimming at home, you may wish to refer to this video.


Along with at-home nail care, we recommend monthly professional grooming, which keeps your pet feeling great and allows for a thorough inspection of your pet’s overall skin, coat, ear, teeth, and paw health.

At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we can provide your pet with all of those important pet wellness and grooming services.