We recently had a greenhouse put up in our yard, but before it was erected, we needed to lay down a concrete base for it to stand on. Given that our dogs use the yard during the day, I wanted to make sure that I knew when our dogs could walk on the drying cement safely without leaving paw prints.
Whether it’s a freshly poured sidewalk on your usual walking route, or you’ve just completed your new concrete driveway. If you have dog like me, you will want to know how long before dogs can walk on concrete.
Dogs can walk on fresh and new concrete 48 hours after it has been laid. Fresh concrete takes between 24 and 48 hours to harden up to two days in most cases should mean the concrete is now dry for dogs to walk on.
48 hours is probably over cautious, but it’s worth it. We kept our dogs away from new concrete for 24 hours after it had been poured, and it was ok. But there are specific situations where your dog should wait for 48 hours or more before walking on cement.
Read on as I go into details about these situations, what can happen to your dog’s paw pads if they walk on fresh concrete, what to do if your dog has wet concrete on their paws, and more.
How long before dogs can walk on new concrete
You’ve probably seen footprint marks on dried concrete. And I bet what came to your mind first was that someone stepped on it too soon. Malicious much? I always think so.
It’s not just people who mess up fresh concrete surfaces. Our four-legged can also do worse if you fail to keep an eye on them.
They will casually stroll on the wet concrete, leaving a trail of tiny paw prints as though showcasing their decorative skills to the universe.
And let’s be honest. It’s a frustrating sight. Paw marks ruin the original beauty of a new concrete surface.
If you have a concrete project in your home, the last thing you’d want to see is your dog’s paw stamps after professionals spent hours smoothening it to perfection.
Which begs the question, when is the right time for a dog to walk on newly laid and fresh concrete?
Generally speaking, the minimum time it takes for fresh concrete to at least harden up is anywhere between 24 hours and 48 hours.
So, it’s correct to say that a dog can walk on concrete and cement after a full day has lapsed.
But this doesn’t mean that the surface will be completely paw print-free. Your dog might still leave faint paw marks or nail scratches.
In case it heavily rains a few hours after pouring the concrete, or if you’ve done ornamental decoration on it, 24 hours is too soon. Your dog will need to wait for at least two days (48 hours) or more before walking on it.
That’s because the surface will still be a bit runny due to the excess water, making it vulnerable to paw prints.
And with decorations, faint paw marks will make the entire thing look imperfect.
To be on the safe side (even when there’s no rain involved), consider waiting longer than 24 hours before allowing your dog to step on newly laid concrete.
You wouldn’t want to see almost-fading nail scratches or paw prints that leave you wishing you were a little more patient, would you?
So, patience. It will save you a lot of regrets.
The dangers of wet concrete on dog paws
Dog parents are often advised to ensure their dog don’t get into contact with wet concrete.
It’s not simply a matter of protecting the beauty of your new concrete. There’s a greater risk of your dog getting paw pad burns.
Fresh concrete looks harmless. But reality is, it can and will burn your dog’s paw pads. Wet concrete is said to have a burning effect on dogs as it has on human skin.
While dog foot pads have a reputation for being tough, they certainly can’t withstand certain things. For instance, hot pavements and the harsh chemicals in wet concrete.
Ready for a quick chemistry lesson?
As you know, cement and water are among the main substances used in concrete mixtures. The chemical found in cement is calcium oxide which is an alkaline.
If you recall your chemistry lessons, a chemical solution was either an alkaline (base, in other words) or an acid.
Now, with fresh concrete, the calcium oxide and water react to produce an extremely alkaline mixture.
It’s not just acids that are abrasive to the skin. Strong alkaline is equally corrosive.
When your dog’s paws are covered with concrete for an extended period, they will suffer concrete burns. The agony may be worse for puppies because of how tender their pads are.
The symptoms of fresh concrete burns in dogs are like other chemical burns:
- Limping or hesitant to walk
- Redness or blistering on the paws
- Extreme Irritation on the paws
- Peeling skin on the paws
We know that dogs instantly become the grooming kings and queens when there’s dirt or irritation on their paws.
So, if your dog sees a wet cement covering on his paws, it’s likely that they will try to lick it off. And in the process, they may accidentally swallow some of the concrete.
That’s a big problem, because again, the corrosive concrete chemicals.
Wet concrete is toxic if ingested. Besides having tummy woes, your dog may also experience symptoms such as:
- Burns in the mouth, throat, and even stomach
- Difficulty swallowing food
These side effects might not appear right away or not be as severe as they would have been if your dog licked lots of fresh concrete directly from the concrete slab.
But still, that small amount of wet concrete can cause internal harm.
If your dog walks through the door with paws covered in concrete, you need to keep an eye on them (after cleaning them up, of course). You should see the vet if you notice any signs of illness or odd behaviors.
What to do if your dog steps on wet cement
To protect your dog from the effects of fresh concrete, you should tend to his paws as soon as you see them coated in concrete.
This will ensure that the concrete doesn’t stay on their paws long enough to cause damage. Also, the concrete will dry up, making it harder to remove.
Here are simple steps to clear fresh concrete on your dog’s paws:
- Wet a clean cloth and wipe off as much concrete as possible.
- Run water on your bathroom tab or a spacious basin (just enough to cover your dog’s entire paws) and add some white vinegar. Let your dog stand in the tab for a few minutes.
Research shows that in its diluted form, white vinegar’s mild acidity can neutralize the alkalinity in wet concrete. In other, diluted vinegar will stop the concrete’s burning sensation.
- Rinse your dog’s paws thoroughly to get rid of the remaining concrete. Don’t forget to run water between their toes and use your fingers to remove the trapped concrete. You can use a friendly tone when cleaning your dog to help them keep calm.
- If there are pieces of dried concrete hanging loosely on the paw pad’s fur after the wash, carefully trim the fur.
- Dry your dog’s paws with a clean cloth, and make sure to monitor for any signs of redness or blisters. Schedule a vet appointment if their paw pads appear in bad shape a few days after the clean-up.
FAQs on dogs walking on concrete
Can dogs walk on concrete?
Walking your dog on concrete is okay, provided the surface isn’t too hot or if at least 24 hours have lapsed since pouring new concrete.
If you are concerned that concrete could be too hot for dogs to walk on, do the hand test. Put your palm down on the concrete. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for dog’s paws.
What temperature is safe for dogs to walk on concrete?
Whilst I advocate the palm test detailed above, the AKC say this:
“If the temperature is 85 degrees or over without the chance for the pavement to cool down, the ground may be too hot for safely walking a dog.”
The general acceptance is that dogs can walk on concrete 24 hours after pouring it. But if it’s rained heavily or if there’s ornamental decoration on the concrete, you should wait for at least 48 hours or more before walking your dog walk on it.
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Image of dog on concrete in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/N76vS8glmd8