With the summer months upon us, we may want to bask in the summer sun. And, as a dog owner, nothing sounds better than enjoying the weather with our canine companions, right? Well, it certainly is possible, but before you and your dog hit the streets, it is necessary to take precautions to ensure that the hot asphalt pavement is not damaging to your dog’s paws.
To protect your dog, it is imperative to understand how to prevent and manage burns on your companions’ critical appendages. We may not be able to interpret adjustments to heat or the pain our furry friends are in, and so it is crucial that we educate ourselves on the potential dangers of bringing our dogs in the summer heat. It is then that we can enjoy the refreshing ease of the summer season with our dogs.
Dog Foot Anatomy
Your dog’s paws serve many critical functions. Like human feet, they are made for walking, as well as running, stretching, and “high-fiving.” Unlike human feet, the appendages also help regulate a dog’s temperature, as sweat glands and adipose fat tissue layers maintain canine homeostasis. Their regulatory function makes it all the more important to protect your dog’s paw pads from the damage they are vulnerable to during the sweltering summer heat. The sensitive and vital paw pads can toughen with use, like a callous on a human hand, but even the toughest paw may not be able to withstand pavement temperature.
How Hot is it Really?
The outside air temperature is not the same as the temperature of the pavement. Enjoying a summer stroll with your canine companion may seem harmless; however, asphalt temperatures can be up to 60 degrees hotter than the air temperature. For perspective, asphalt that’s 135 degrees can fry an egg in five minutes. Pavement temperatures are influenced by air temperature and various parameters like surface material, cloud cover, wind, time of day, and humidity. As a general rule, asphalt temperatures vary with air temperature, as shown below:
|Air Temperature||Asphalt Temperature|
Burns Can Happen Fast:
It only takes 60 seconds on pavement that is 125℉ for a dog’s pads to burn. This means that the pavement could be potentially dangerous when the air temperature is 77℉. A good way to test if the pavement is safe for your dog is the “seven-second rule:” Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for at least seven seconds, then the surface is too warm for your dog!