Summer is here, and in true Kansas fashion, it's going to be a hot one. While we all know that we shouldn't leave pets alone in cars this summer, another thing that pet owners need to be careful about is whether the pavement they are walking on is too hot for their dog's paw.
Scorching surfaces are especially damaging to puppies with sensitive young paws. So how hot is too hot for a dog’s sensitive paw pads? If the temperature is 85 degrees or higher without the chance for the pavement to cool down, the ground may be too hot for safely walking your dog.
Acording to data reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, when the air temperature is 85 degrees, the asphalt temperature registers 130 degrees. To find out if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk on, place your hand comfortably on the pavement for ten seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Your bare foot serves as another good measurement. Hand or foot, the same temperature test works on all types of terrain, including sand, metal, and concrete. And when it comes to a so-hot-you-can-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk surface, don’t discount dirt either.
Protecting Dog Paws in Hot Weather
Dog’s pads need to become acclimated to weather and stress. The first long walk or jog of a warm season can often cause blisters on feet. To help condition your dog’s paws, walk on the pavement during cool weather. The hard surface helps toughen them and builds resistance for when the temperature heats up.
Many canine products help moisturize dog’s pads to prevent cracking from heat. When pads are dry, they’re more susceptible to burns from hot pavement. Dog shoes or all-terrain boots offer protection from hot surfaces, but many dogs need time to adjust to wearing them before the first outing.
Getting the right size—fitting snugly, but not too tight and not too loose—helps your dog acclimate to wearing shoes. Your dog’s feet need some room to breathe. Choose foot coverings with wrap-around closures and full-foot grips on the bottoms. Avoid products that stick to the dog’s pads.
If you must take your dog out during hot weather, avoid the hottest time of day. Walk in the early morning or evening. Choose grassy or shady areas.
For exercise during hot weather, set up a hard, plastic outdoor wading pool made for dogs. Plastic children’s pools tempt dogs to dig and tear. If your dog swims in an adult pool, add a canine life vest for safety.
Symptoms of heatstroke requiring immediate veterinary attention:
- Excessive drooling and thickening of saliva
- Bright red, blue or purple gums
- Rectal bleeding
- Refusing to drink water
- Loss of consciousness
To cool your dog:
- Find a shady spot
- Apply ice packs under the front legs at the chest
- Pour cool water over the dog’s head and body
- Give them water to drink
- Find air conditioning indoors or in a cooled-off car
- Give your dog a cooling mat to stand or lie on