Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Protect Your Pup's Paws From Hot Pavement & Other Surfaces

So far this summer, we've had 3 heat waves. During one of the days, I was outdoors, with Lobo, chatting with a friend. Lobo was curious and wanted to explore the pavement area. I was holding the leash so he was unable to do that. The grassy area was boring him. I took a few steps forward, slipped out of my flip flops, stood on the pavement for about 20 seconds, put my flip flops back on and made the decision to not allow him on the pavement.

During this entire process, our conversation carried on, however, my friend tilted her head and gave me a puzzled look.

"Why did you just do that?"

"I tested the pavement to see if it was too hot. It is."


That was it. We continued our conversation. It's the not the first I've been questioned and it won't be the last. During the spring and summer months, and sometimes early fall, if the sun is shining and it's hot, I test the pavement before allowing our kids off the grassy areas.

I've lost count how many times Lisa and I have carried our kids across a parking lot or from one grassy area to another when hot pavement separated the two.

Most of the time, when us humans step foot outdoors, we have shoes on. Even those, like myself, who despise shoes, will slip on a pair of flip flops to shield our feet from rocky surfaces, hot pavement, or any other surface that may hurt the bottoms of our feet.

Dogs don't have that luxury and, often times, humans forget paws are not immune to hot pavement. During the spring months, pavement can reach a scorching 125 degrees. During the summer months, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., pavement can reach temperatures high enough to cause second-degree burns on your dog's paw pads between 30 and 60 seconds.

An egg can fry in 5 minutes when asphalt reaches a temperature of 131 degrees.

What are the signs of burned pads?

  • Limping, impaired mobility and refusal to walk
  • Incessant licking or chewing at the paws
  • Pads will appear darker in color
  • A portion, or all, of the pad will be missing
  • Blisters or redness

How can you keep your dog safe when out and about when the sun is scorching? 

  • Be aware of hot surfaces whether it's docks, asphalt, pavement, etc.
  • Walk your dog in grassy areas during peak sun hours. If you're going to walk your dog in the early evening, make sure hot surfaces have cooled down first. At times, the cooling of any surface can take hours.
  • If you're uncertain whether a surface is too hot, hold the back of your hand against it for 15 seconds. If it's uncomfortable for you, it's uncomfortable for your pup.
  • Do not mistake air temperature for ground temperature. Asphalt and other ground surfaces retain heat. When it's 87 degrees outside, ground surfaces can reach a temperature of 143 degrees.
  • Look into purchasing a pair of dog boots or shoes. There are many styles and brands to choose from. Boots and shoes are reusable, some are waterproof and they'll protect those paws.
  • For smaller dogs, a stroller might be an option if you're going to be out and about for extended periods of time when hot grounds are unavoidable.

For more information...

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