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Is the Pavement Too Hot to Walk Your Dog?

During hot weather, pavement can heat up quickly and become even hotter than the surrounding air temperature, which can potentially cause burns and discomfort to your dog's paw pads.

To prevent such injuries, it is crucial to know when it's too hot to walk your pet and take steps to protect their paws.

Dog owners should be aware of the ground temperature and its impact on their furry friends paw pads before taking them on walks.

If you have any concerns regarding the temperature of the sidewalk when walking your dog, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has all the information you need.

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Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1. Preventing Burns on Pavement

Dog with green rubber rain boots

To protect your furry friend’s paw pads from burns caused by hot pavement, consider using dog shoes, socks, or booties as a simple and effective way to prevent injury.

It is essential to allow your dog time to adjust to wearing these foot coverings before going outside for a walk. Try putting them on while indoors to let your dog get comfortable walking in them.

Another option to consider is paw wax, which provides a protective barrier for your pet’s paw pads. This wax is easily applied before walking and dries in seconds.

It only needs to be reapplied every few days or weekly and is non-toxic, ensuring your pet’s safety if it licks its feet.

If walking on hot pavement is unavoidable, try to schedule walks earlier in the day or later in the evening when the pavement is cooler.

It’s also important to avoid activities that involve frequent stopping and starting on hot pavement, such as playing fetch or chase, as this can increase the likelihood of paw injuries.

By taking these preventative measures, you can help keep your pet’s paws safe and avoid the discomfort of burned paw pads.

2. When is it Safe to Walk a Dog on Pavement?

owner walking with dog on street

Determining whether the pavement is safe for your dog to walk on can be challenging, but there are several methods to assess the temperature. If the air temperature is 76 degrees F or cooler, the pavement is typically safe for a dog to walk on.

However, if the temperature is higher, a laser temperature gun can be used to check the pavement’s surface temperature. Alternatively, pet owners can place their bare hand on the pavement and hold it there for 10 seconds.

If it’s too hot to keep your hand on for less than 10 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. This simple technique can help prevent paw pad burns and ensure your pet’s safety during hot weather conditions.

3. Signs and Symptoms of Burned Paws

Dog in boots

Burned paws are a common injury for dogs, particularly during hot weather conditions. It’s crucial for pet owners to recognize the signs and symptoms of burned paw pads to prevent further injury and discomfort for their furry friend.

Some common signs of burned paw pads include limping, licking, or chewing of the paws, reluctance to walk or play, and redness or swelling of the paw pads. In severe cases, blisters or open sores may also be present.

If you suspect your dog’s paw pads are burned, it’s essential to take immediate action to prevent further damage. One of the first steps is to cool down the affected paws by gently applying cool water or a cool compress.

It’s also important to keep your pet off hot surfaces and avoid walking them during peak sun hours. In severe cases, it’s best to seek veterinary attention to ensure proper treatment and care.

4. Risks of Ignoring Hot Pavement

Woman Taking Pet Dog with Bandana Collar for a Walk

Ignoring hot pavement can pose significant health and safety dangers to a dog. During extreme heat, the pavement can become extremely hot, causing discomfort and burns on a dog’s paw pads.

If left untreated, these wounds can lead to infections and other complications, which in turn can cause the animal agony and discomfort. Additionally, a dog with burned paw pads may have difficulty walking, running, or playing.

Ignoring scorching pavement can also result in dehydration and heatstroke, particularly in dogs unaccustomed to hot weather. These conditions are potentially fatal and require immediate veterinary care.

5. Alternatives to Walking on Pavement

Beagle Dog Walking on Grass Lawn

Dogs require regular exercise to maintain their physical health and mental well-being. However, during hot weather conditions, walking on pavement can pose a serious risk to a dog’s paw pads.

Pet owners should consider alternative ways to provide their furry friends with the necessary energy to prevent heat exhaustion and paw injuries.

Walking on grass or soil is a simple and effective alternative to walking on pavement. These surfaces do not heat up as much as hard pavement and are typically safer to walk on.

If there is no grass or soil to walk on, swimming in a pond or lake, playing in a grassy yard, going to a dog park, or spending time at doggie daycare can provide the necessary exercise for a dog.

It’s important to remember that physical exertion in hot weather conditions can increase the risk of heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses.

Pet owners should consider their dog’s individual health concerns and the temperature before engaging in physical activity. Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting.

If these signs are present, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately.

In conclusion, providing regular exercise for your dog is essential for their physical and mental well-being.

However, during hot weather conditions, pet owners should consider alternative ways to provide exercise to prevent paw injuries and heat exhaustion.

6. When Does a Burn Occur?

The temperature of the pavement can contribute to a dog’s sustaining a burn injury, among other factors. When the temperature of the pavement exceeds 130 degrees Fahrenheit, damage to the epidermis can occur within 60 seconds.

When the air temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement can become sufficiently heated to cause thermal injury to a dog’s feet if it stands on it for an extended period of time.

A thermal injury to a dog’s feet can cause pain and distress, resulting in alterations in gait and posture. In extreme instances, thermal injuries can result in blistering, exposed wounds, and infections.

7. Pavement and Air Temperatures

Pavement refers to any firm road or street surface, and while black asphalt pavement is particularly dangerous due to its tendency to overheat, even concrete surfaces can become too heated for a dog to walk on.

This is important to keep in mind because the ambient temperature is not the same as the pavement temperature. As the temperature outside rises, the ground can become dangerously hot for paw pads.

Walking a dog during hot weather conditions can pose a risk to their paw pads, especially if the pavement temperature is too high.

The air temperature is a crucial factor in determining the pavement temperature. When the air temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement temperature can reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The temperature of the pavement might change based on the time of day, the weather, and the surface composition. The duration of sun exposure can also impact pavement temperature. The longer the pavement is exposed to the sun’s rays, the hotter it becomes.

For example, pavement temperatures will be hottest during peak sun hours, typically between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The pavement temperature is influenced by both the air temperature and the duration of sun exposure, so it’s essential to understand how these factors interact to determine if the pavement is too hot to walk a dog.

8. Dog Foot Anatomy

Dogs possess paw pads that are designed to protect their feet from rough surfaces, provide shock absorption, and offer traction.

Unlike the rest of the foot, paw pads are hairless and consist of thick skin, fat, and connective tissue.

Each foot contains five paw pads that come into contact with the ground, while the front limbs have an additional two pads that don’t typically make contact with the ground.

Even though paw pads offer a natural defense mechanism for dogs, they are still vulnerable to burns from hot pavement and other environmental hazards.

Therefore, pet owners must take proactive measures to protect their furry friends paw pads from thermal injury and other hazards.

By being vigilant and taking preventative measures, pet owners can ensure their dog stays comfortable, healthy, and happy.

Conclusion

Woman walking with dog

In conclusion, walking a dog on hot pavement can cause thermal injury to their paw pads, leading to pain, discomfort, and possible infections.

The pavement temperature is influenced by both the air temperature and the duration of sun exposure. Pet owners should be aware of these factors to determine if the pavement is too hot to walk a dog.

It’s crucial to take preventative measures to protect a dog’s paw pads, such as walking on grass or soil, using paw wax or booties, providing shade, and wetting the pavement with a damp towel or sponge.

By being vigilant and proactive, pet owners can ensure their furry friend stays healthy, comfortable, and safe. Remember, a dog’s safety should always come first.

Author Image

Dr. Elsa Fabian

Dr. Elsa Fabian, DVM, is a qualified veterinary and medical editor with seven years of experience and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. She has edited approximately 700 projects, such as research papers published in academic publications, continuing medical education training materials, and pet health articles.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Elsa Fabian

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