Now that summer is here and days are getting hotter, this week’s weather question is: how hot is too hot to walk your dog?
“When the temperature is 90 to 100, most of the hard concrete and asphalt surfaces get well above 100. They go 10 to 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the ambient air temperature,” says Northside Animal Hospital Vet Dr. John Bloszies.
Peak heating during a typical summer day is around 4pm eastern.
We did an experiment with a heat gun when the air temperature outside was 86°F. The sidewalk registered at 100°F in direct sun; The road at 109°F and black asphalt at 120°F. The grass in the shade was 85°F. These temperatures will only increase when temperatures are higher.
Bloszies says dogs paws are just about as sensitive to the heat as our bare feet, so it’s important to pay attention to any signs your dog may give.
“If you watch carefully, a dog walking on hot surfaces quickens their step. They’re short stepped. They’re really trying to avoid it. They’re trying to float above it and obviously they can’t. More than five minutes of that kind of surface, they’ll get burned, and the feet will really be sore,” he says.
The best way to prevent your dogs’ paws from being burnt is to walk in the morning or late evening, when the pavement and temperatures are cooler. You can avoid hot surfaces completely by walking in shaded grass or dirt.
A good way to test if the pavement is too hot to walk your dog is to put the back of your hand of the pavement for at least five seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on the pavement.
The high heat in summer can also be problematic for dogs. The risk for heat stroke goes up in dogs if they don’t have enough shade or water.
“We’re in an area of the world where we really get beaten by the heat, and we have to consider that our animals can’t talk to us – they can’t tell us that they’re suffering from heat exhaustion. They can’t tell us that they’re burnt. You have to be aware of it and watch for signs,” adds Bloszies.
If you notice your dogs paws’ are burnt, soak them in cool water and consult a vet.
All puppies and dogs in the video are up for adoption at East Alabama Humane Society Inc. If you’re interested in adopting a dog, you can call them at (334) 298-6446.