Excessive, extreme, and extra may describe this relentless summer heat. You aren’t alone if you don’t ever remember summers being so hot. This year is the 5th warmest year on record. Our pets feel it, too, and this heat is burning their feet. Today, we’ll discuss safe times and temps to walk your dog, what surfaces to avoid, and how you can protect your pet’s paw pads.
1) What temperature places our dog’s paw pads at risk of burning?
Around 76-77F is the temperature that places your dog’s paw pads at risk for burning. It only takes 60 seconds to burn a dog’s paw pads.
Ground heat is hotter than the air temperature.
Before you walk, always check the heat index on your phone’s weather app. It will show you the temperature, yet, scroll down and view “what it feels like.” That is the heat index. This guide gives you an idea of how long you can walk your dog and where you can go to walk them safely. Keep in mind that heat exhaustion and heat stroke are additional dangers to your pet’s health when walking them.
Paw pads aren’t just cute; they provide balance, stability, traction, and shock absorption for joints and bones. They have sweat glands that help to regulate body temperature. As unique as paw pads are, they are not burn-resistant.
2) We know that asphalt and concrete surfaces can be too hot; what other surfaces heat up quickly?
Sandy beaches, sunny docks, decks, piers, artificial grass, a truck bed or boat floor, tennis courts, and brick or metal walkways are surfaces that can retain extreme heat from the sun and burn your dog’s feet.
3) What are some safe options we can do to protect our dog’s feet from the heat?
Do you know that phrase, “got it made in the shade”? Make it your mantra when the heat is extreme. You may have to rethink your walking route according to the time of day and where you live. Early morning walks are best. If your pet needs a potty break during the day’s heat, take the 7-second test. Place your hand on the concrete or asphalt for 7 seconds. If it is too hot, take your dog for a walk on natural grass or choose a shaded route.
Booties or socks are a great option to protect your dog’s paw pads. Our husky, Special Agent Gibbs, is trained to walk with socks on sidewalks and hiking booties when we walk or hike nature trails. The only thing to pay attention to is the dewclaw on their front leg. It must be inside the bootie or sock to avoid getting injured or irritated.
Paw protection balm or wax is another way to help keep paw pads healthy. Easy to place on the paw pad and rub in and can help prevent cracking or dryness.
Summer days may be longer, yet our dogs’ walks must be shorter. Walking early and late definitely helps to beat the heat. Prevention is the solution to keep your dog healthy, happy, and safe.
This summer, it’s time for pet parents to be on paw patrol!