(ABC4) – As anyone who has seen videos of dogs wearing shoes or booties will tell you, it’s an absolutely delightful sight.
While the dogs adjusting to wearing protective footwear can make for terrific content on social media, the booties also serve a useful purpose. The current heat wave that Utah is experiencing makes it even more important; dog owners should take caution when taking their canine pals on walks on sizzling surfaces.
The Humane Society of Utah spokesperson Guinnevere Shuster recommends not taking dogs for walks at all during the heat of the day, especially on sidewalks and streets.
“You want to avoid asphalt, that tends to heat up the most and even when it’s about in the high 70s, the asphalt is indirect some can get hot enough to burn the skin on dog’s feet. Also cement, as well can warm up and heat up quite a bit,” Shuster explains to ABC4.
If walking the dog during the early morning or later at night isn’t an option, booties and shoes are definitely an option. Such footwear can be found online or at pet stores for around $15 to $20 for a set of four. Shuster laughs when reminded of many online videos she has seen of dogs wearing shoes for the first time, saying that owners should take an adjustment period into consideration.
“It’s going to take some time to get your dog used to wearing those types of booties. So, if you buy them from the store and take your dog straight out to wear them and they’ve never worn them before, your dog’s probably not going to enjoy walking in them,” she smiles. “Or they may just lay down and refuse to walk. You’ll want to take a little bit of time to get your dog accustomed to wearing those.”
It’s also important to buy the proper doggy shoes with thick rubber soles, as opposed to those intended just to keep paws clean from dirt and mud, Shuster explains.
Some products which are also marketed to protect dogs from hot surfaces come in a wax or jelly form. Shuster recommends avoiding those as they can sometimes be oil based and may increase the chance of harm to an animal.
“That’s going to be more to protect your dog’s paws from the snow or keeping a barrier in between like salts that people put on the sidewalks to melt snow, but it’s not going to do much in terms of protecting your dog’s paw pads from the heat,” she says.
An owner of two dogs herself, Shuster is constantly thinking of ways to keep her pets cool during the summer months. Sometimes, the group will enjoy a walk inside a store that has air condition and is pet-friendly, such as a pet store or Home Depot. They also take trips to dog pools, such as Barley’s Canine Recreation Center and DogMode, which are specially designed to accommodate a four-legged friend’s aquatic needs.
Shuster also keeps a selection of dog toys that can be frozen and chewed on at her residence and at the Humane Society’s headquarters in Murray. Frozen popsicles and treats are also a hit with the animals in the summer.
“It’s kind of a nice treat to help your pet cool down,” she says of the toys and popsicles.
The Humane Society of Utah additionally is asking Utah pet owners to be very conscious of heat conditions and how it can affect their animals. Shuster reminds ABC4 that dogs should not be left in cars for any amount of time. Leaving dogs on balconies or uncovered porches can also be dangerous to animals in the heat of the day.
If your dog has to stay outside during the day, make sure they have plenty of shade and lots and lots of cool water, Shuster states.
“Dogs can definitely overheat quicker than people, so they’ll often drink more water during hot weather, so just refreshing those water bowls, continuously throughout the day is really important.”
And if you do decide to get the shoes, don’t forget to have a camera ready when you put them on your dog for the first time.