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Burned Dog Paws Warning

Circulating message, which features a picture of a dog with severely burned paws claims that the injuries were the result of walking the dog on asphalt or concrete in the summer.

burned dog paws warning

© Antonio Gravante

Brief Analysis
Walking dogs on hot asphalt or concrete can indeed cause burn injuries and, in this regard, the message is worth heeding. However, the image does not depict such an injury.  In fact, the image shows an injury to Bernie, a Pit Bull that was left stranded on a hot rooftop for ten hours during a Pennsylvanian heatwave in July 2011. Bernie has since recovered from his injuries.

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THIS is why you do not walk your dogs on asphalt or concrete in the summer. If you see someone walking their dogs on asphalt or concrete, PLEASE educate them and get the pet to cooler ground. Do not just hit "like", SHARE this warning too. Thankyou

Burned dog paws

Detailed Analysis

This message, which is currently circulating vigorously via Facebook and other vectors, warns dog owners of the dangers of walking their dogs on asphalt or concrete during the hotter months.  To illustrate the danger, the message features a picture of a poor pooch with severely burned paws.   

The danger described is real. Information on notes:

Dog feet pads have thick, strong skin intended to protect your dog's feet from injury. That doesn't mean your dog's feet are invulnerable, however. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to foot pad burns, especially when walking across hot surfaces in the summer. […]

In the summer, many outdoor surfaces can get hot enough to burn your dog's feet. Asphalt, concrete, paving stones and sand can all get very hot during the summer. Metal grates and manhole covers can also heat up enough to burn your dog's foot pads.

Walking on hot surfaces can indeed injure your dog's paws, sometimes quite seriously.  Thus, the core advice in the message is well worth heeding.

However, the image used as an example in the message, does not show an injury caused by walking a dog on asphalt or concrete. The dog in the picture, a Pit Bull named Bernie, received his injuries after he was left on a scorching rooftop for ten hours during a heatwave. An article on about Bernie notes:

Bernie was found on a rooftop of a row home in Reading, Pa., in the midst of a heat wave July 19. When police found him, the pit bull had severe, third-degree burns on all four feet, and on his back and belly, probably from falling or rolling over as his pads were scorched. 

To look at Bernie today, one would never guess his injuries were enough to warrant euthanasia. But a new stem cell treatment, which required special permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may have saved the dog's life. 

"I would have thought that with such severe third-degree burns on these feet, you would have gotten a lot of scarring and deformity ... and it would have taken a lot longer than one month to heal," says Boyd Wagner, BVMS, MRCVS, and 25-year owner of the seven-veterinarian Wyomissing Animal Hospital, where Bernie was treated. "If you look at these feet now, there's beautiful epithelial tissue—like a baby's bottom." 

Bernie has reportedly recovered well from his injuries.

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Last updated: July 19, 2013
First published: July 19, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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