Summertime is a great time to be a dog; the weather is warmer, there are more hours of sunshine, and typically, family members are home more often. Along with all the fun that is associated with summer come some safety concerns for your dog. You’re probably already aware that you should limit the amount of time your dog spends in the heat and make sure that they have access to plenty of cool water, but did you know that hot pavement can pose a serious threat to your dog?
The hot sun beats down on asphalt and concrete during the summer. On a hot day, concrete and asphalt will be significantly hotter than the outside temperature. For example, on an 87-degree day, the asphalt can be as hot as 143 degrees. Just imagine how hot and uncomfortable it would be on a 95- or 100-degree day for your poor pup. Hot asphalt will obviously be uncomfortable for your dog to walk over, but it can also lead to more serious problems, such as burned paws or food pads.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t walk your dog on concrete or asphalt that feels too hot it you press your hand against it. It is isn’t comfortable for you, it won’t be comfortable or safe for your dog either. But your dog needs exercise, and summertime is a great time to get out together. You will need to take steps to protect your dog, but don’t feel like they need to be banished to stay inside the house all summer. Below we’ll share some tips that will still allow you and your pup to enjoy some quality time together and have some fun.
Choose Walk Times Carefully
In the afternoon, the sun is at its highest point in the sky, which will make sidewalks and walkways hotter. Try to walk your dogs during times when the pavement won’t be so hot. Early in the mornings and later in the evenings are typically a great time to choose. During these times, the sun isn’t as high in the sky, so the asphalt and concrete are not as hot.
In the summertime, there are frequently thunderstorms. The rain from a thunderstorm will help cool down hotter surfaces. You don’t want to walk your dog while there is still lightning and thunder, but after the storm has passed could be an excellent opportunity to get out together.
Stay on the Grass
If you need to take your dog out during a warmer time of the day, have him walk on the grass (where possible) rather than the sidewalk. The grass will be significantly cooler that the sidewalk or street will be, so it can help protect his paws and prevent them from getting burned.
Find a Well-Shaded Path or Park to Walk In
Rather than walking around your neighborhood where there may not be much shade, look for a well-shaded pathway or park you can visit with your dog. Find somewhere that has lots of trees that will provide shade to keep the ground cooler. As a bonus, you’ll be cooler as well walking out of the direct path of the sun.
Play Games in the Yard
When your dog needs some exercise on a particularly hot day, you can stay in your backyard instead of going out together for a walk. Bring out a Frisbee and a few balls and play a fun game of fetch with your dog. They’ll be able to get plenty of exercise chasing down the toys you toss. Since grass is much cooler than pavement, this will be a safer option than risking getting their pads burned if you walk on the sidewalk.
Walk by the Water’s Edge
It is typically much cooler by a lake or beach, especially if the sand or soil is a little damp. Plan a fun outing together with your dog (and maybe some friends or family) and head over to a nearby lake, creek, or beach. If your dog likes the water, they may enjoy getting wet and going for a little swim as well. If they don’t love swimming, they’ll still be able to keep their paws cooler as they walk on the damp dirt or sand.
Try a Paw Wax
There are various brands of paw wax that are available. You can spread the wax over your dog’s pad to provide them with a barrier to protect them hot surfaces. On an excessively hot day, the wax coating may not be sufficient enough to provide adequate protection, so be cautious using it.
Buy a Pair of Dog Shoes or Boots
There are numerous options available if you are looking for a pair of dog shoes or boots to protect your dog’s feet. Just like we wear shoes to protect our feet, a pair of shoes could help make it safer for your dog to walk on hot pavement. It would be a good idea to have a good pair of shoes or boots on hand for days when you won’t be able to avoid hot pavement. If you’re planning to bring your dog along with you to an event that won’t be shaded, the ideas above won’t really help protect his paws. But, if you have a pair of shoes, you’ll be able to slip them on and be ready to enjoy the day together.
Even when you take extra precautions to protect your dog’s feet from hot pavement, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on them. Check their feet regularly for any signs of burns. If your dog has burned pads, they may also limp, chew at their feet, or try to avoid going for a walk.
If you think your dog’s pads have been burned, there are a few steps you will want to take. First, if your dog is outside, bring them inside the house to avoid any more burning. Next, run cool water over their paws to stop the burning and cool them down. Then, call contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to examine the burns and recommend treatments and next steps. Try to make sure your dog doesn’t lick or bit their paws as it could make their burns worse.
If you take a few steps to protect your dog’s paws, you’ll still be able to enjoy a fun summer together. As a dog owner, your dog is like your family, so you want to do everything you can to protect them, keep them healthy, and keep them happy. Hopefully the tips we have shared in this article will allow you and your dog to have a blast this summer.