The danger of hot pavements

We know dogs thrive with daily exercise, so what do we do when temperatures soar? Many of us walk our dogs along pavements every day, but do we ever stop to think about paw-to-pavement contact during summer months?

Although owners are aware that dogs need extra care in hot weather, it’s important to consider the dangers of hot pavements and how we can keep their paws safe in the sun.

Should you walk your dog in the summer?

According to UK pet emergency service Vetsnow, heat-related illness in dogs can happen when temperatures reach more than 20 degrees. Dogs who are young, old, or obese are at greater risk of getting heat stroke, as are flat-faced breeds and dogs with breathing difficulties. All dogs are at risk of getting burnt paws.

The good news? Most heat-related illnesses in dogs are preventable!

By walking your dog bright and early before sunrise, or taking them for a sunset stroll, you’ll avoid the hottest part of the day and can keep them cool.

Can dogs stay outside in the summer?

Some pawrents let their dogs roam the garden during the day, and there’s a lot to consider when leaving your dog outside in warmer weather.

It can be very dangerous for dogs to be left alone outside for a long time. Dogs should always have access to a sheltered space in the shade, where they can stay cool and rest in a comfortable bed.

Having constant access to clean, fresh water is essential for your dog, too.

To beat the heat, we recommend placing your dog’s water bowl in a shady spot and adding ice cubes to keep their drinking water cooler for longer!

Did you know:  Artificial grass can get hotter than 60 degrees in the sun. If you have any artificial grass in your garden, make sure it’s only accessible to your pooch during the cooler hours of the day.

Walking dogs in the summer

Walking works wonders for our mental health; the same goes for our dogs. Warm weather and brighter nights allow for more adventures, helping us all feel happier.

During the summer, it’s important to think about the effects heat can have on our dogs’ well-being. While we can still enjoy our daily walks with them, it takes a little extra planning to keep our dogs safe.   

How can I exercise my dog enough during warmer months?

There are lots of ways to exercise your dog safely on hot days:

  • Planning walks for early morning or late evening.
  • Shorter walks (e.g. 30 minutes instead of an hour).
  • Carry bottles of cold water for yourself and for your dog.
  • Leave the tennis ball at home (avoid playing fetch/any running around).
  • Choose a shaded route requiring less pavement-walking (e.g. grass is cooler).
  • Apply dog-friendly suncream to sensitive skin (ask your vet for advice on this).
  • Limit car travel and never leave your dog in the car (at any time of year).

Can pavements be too hot for dogs to walk on?

Yes, pavements can be too hot for dogs to walk on.

Pavements absorb heat quickly. This means that while you may feel the warmth is pleasant, the pavement could already be too hot for your dog’s delicate paw pads.

As a study by one of our charity partners, FOUR PAWS UK, highlighted, the huge difference between air temperature and asphalt temperature is shocking. The study found that an air temperature of 25 degrees resulted in an asphalt temperature of 52 degrees, and an air temperature of 35 degrees led to asphalt temperatures of a scorching 65 degrees! Imagine walking on that barefoot! Well, that’s exactly what our canine companions have to do while out and about.

How do I know if the pavement is too hot for my dog?

Luckily, there are ways to check if the pavement is safe for your dog.

The best test is to place the back of your hand (which is more sensitive than your palm) onto the pavement and hold it there for seven seconds. If you are unable to keep the back of your hand comfortably on the ground for seven seconds, the pavement is likely to burn your dog’s paws.

How do I know if my dog has been burnt?

If you think your dog has been burnt, please contact your vet immediately.

Here are signs of burned paw pads:

  • Limping
  • Refusing to walk
  • Licking or chewing feet
  • A darker pad
  • Missing part of pad
  • Blisters

What do I do if my dog’s paws have been burnt on the pavement?

While waiting for the vet, ease your dog’s pain by gently placing their paw or paws under cool, running water. (Please do not use ice or freezing-cold water, as this can cause more damage to your dog’s paws!)

Summer walks with your dog need careful planning, thanks to soaring temperatures, but walks in warm weather can also allow you to create magical memories together.

Learn more about protecting your dog’s paws in the summertime.

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