DENVER (CBS4) – If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Colorado’s Front Range will experience triple-digit temperatures through Friday. Sunny skies have some pet owners heading to the park, but the heat could turn some pups into patients.
“Think about how you’re feeling if you walk outside. That is what your dog’s feeling, multiplied by three,” said Jonathan Gegerson, Veterinarian Technician at MaxFund Animal Clinic.
Gegerson says it’s common for him to treat dogs with heat-related injuries in the summer. Denver’s hot spell just started, and he’s already seen two dogs suffer the effects of blazing heat.
“Her paws got so bad, they actually blistered up and were bleeding. She got a terrible paw infection. She was only outside on the concrete for 10 minutes,” said Gegerson.
Cats and dogs have sensitive paw pads and they become vulnerable in temperatures that don’t seem very hot to humans. According to the SPCA, when it’s 88 degrees outside, the pavement can reach 147 degrees very quickly.
“We’re looking for redness or scaling of the paw pad. That is going to cause severe irritation in that area, which can cause actual nerve damage,” said Gegerson.
Artificial grass can also become dangerously hot for pets, causing blisters or burns.
The hot pavement can even increase a pet’s body temperature, leading to heatstroke. Even if your dog isn’t showing physical signs of pain, like limping, Gegerson says red paws can be an indicator they’ve been on hot pavement too long.
“You’re going to want to ice the paws if you do see a burn to bring down the inflammation. It will also help alleviate the pain, because we’re now pushing blood away. This way we’re not going to have that blistering,” said Gegerson.
During the summer months in Denver, the sun doesn’t start to set until after 8 p.m.
Even the morning hours reach high temperatures. Gegerson gets up at 4 a.m. to walk his dogs to beat the heat.
“Time is always worth more than money to pets. I hope people are putting in the time for their animals and are willing to make sacrifices for them,” said Gegerson.
CBS4 spoke to other animal owners who opt to sacrifice for their animals on the other end of the clock.
“As the summer progresses, we come out later and later,” said Alberto Martinez, a Denver dog owner. “We’re balancing the need for exercise and staying cool.”
For more information on summer pet care, visit ddfl.org.