According to Dr. Marty Goldstein, it is never a good idea to take your dog for a walk on a hot sidewalk or black asphalt without first testing it. Your shoes protect you, but paw pads can suffer from the heat. He suggests before going for a walk on a hot day, that you press your hand against the pavement to test the heat. If you can’t do this comfortably for at least 5-7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Generally dogs should not be in the sun for any more then short periods of time, and the best time to walk your dog is before 11:00 a.m and after 4:00 p.m. Dr. Goldstein suggests that to avoid heat exhaustion, make sure your dog has access to water and a shady spot to rest. Even with these cautions, watch for excessive panting, and if your dog seems to be showing signs of lethargy, or exhaustion. If this happens you should cool them down as quickly as you can and provide them with cool water to drink. If you are still concerned, he suggests you take him to a vet to be checked out.
Another issue that has become more common in recent years is poisoning by lawn chemicals. This is something few people think about, yet skin problems and paw chewing, both a sign of chemical exposure, have become one of the leading causes as to why people take their dogs to the vet.
Even with rain and/or watering treated grass, the ground that is chemically treated may be unsafe for puppies and young children for as long as two years. To test for safety, a soil sample can be tested by your state. Contact your state Agricultural department to find out where to send it in your state.
Dog paws can get damaged in the winter, too. If your dog is like mine, they love the snow and cold temperatures and want to stay out for long periods of time. Just like children though, they should be monitored with care and brought in where they have shelter as soon as they appear to be getting cold. Short walks are harmless, but overexposure can lead to frostbite. If you plan on being out in the snow for a long time with your dog, you might want to consider purchasing dog boots.