It's almost summer, and it's getting hot. Not just the air — the pavement. Though we humans, with our fancy shoes, rarely have to think about it, pavement gets incredibly hot in the summer. According to the University of Washington, asphalt can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day. That's a scorching hot surface that your dog's cute feet are touching. But how exactly can you tell when the pavement is too hot for your dog?
Banfield Pet Hospital says to place your hand or bare foot on the surface in question for 10 seconds. If it's too hot on your hand or foot, it's too hot for your dog.
Which surfaces are hottest?
This advice goes for any surface, but asphalt is the most likely to be too hot for delicate paw pads. A 2010 study measured the temperatures of various surfaces on a hot day in Florida and found that asphalt got the hottest, followed by red brick and then concrete.
The Humane Society of Knox County, Maine, also has a helpful guide that estimates asphalt temperature based on the air temperature. And the air doesn't have to be that hot for the pavement to heat up to dangerous levels. When the air temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the asphalt can reach 125 degrees, which is hot enough to cause skin destruction in only 60 seconds.
What should you do if you're walking your dog on a hot day?
The study above found that grass is significantly cooler than asphalt, brick or concrete. Ideally, try to walk your dog on shady grass, but if you can't find shade, grass in the sun is still your best option. If possible, on extremely hot days, take your dog outside to use the bathroom only, and limit longer walks to after dark.
How to tell if your dog's paws are burnt.
Banfield Pet Hospital also says to keep an eye out for warning signs that your dog may have burned paws. These signs include reluctance to walk, limping, a red or pink color change in the paw pads, licking or chewing at the feet, and blisters or missing pieces of paw pads. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
It's also important to consider the overall temperature and humidity before taking your dog outside. Safe outdoor temperatures for pets vary based on climate, so double check humidity levels before heading on that walk.
And when you come back from your walk, give your dog's paws a little kiss to make them feel better. It's just science.