Summer is around the corner. While it’s going to rain next week, there are also going to be some really hot days coming up. After the rain subsides, you’re probably going to want to take your furry friend for a much needed long walk.
But before you step foot outside, you first need to test the asphalt. That is because hot days can be brutal to your dog’s paws, and sometimes your dog won’t know how to tell you that their paw pads are burning.
Asphalt – even more so than concrete – absorbs heat. Many factors affect the temperature of asphalt, by asphalt is anywhere from 20 to 70 degrees hotter than the ambient temperature. Under direct sunlight, temperatures can be:
It’s often 90+ degrees in the summer. Rain gives us a bit of protection, but, during much of the day, rain is not present. There are also days without any rain at all. This means that the asphalt, under direct sunlight, is going to get very, very hot.
It’s critical to remember that we wear shoes. It is very easy for us to forget how hot the ground can be, because our shoes protect us from the heat and make it much easier for us to ignore the effects of direct sunlight on the ground. But the foot pads that our dogs have are just skin. They are coming into contact with that 140+ degree ground.
The other issue is that our dogs won’t tell us they’re in pain. That is because they have specialized nerve endings and calluses that help them tolerate hot surfaces. After all, if a dog were in the wild and looking for food, they would still need to hunt no matter how hot it was outside.
But, even while your dog is tolerating the pain, their skin and foot pads are still burning. In some cases, the amount of burn that their feet can experience can be severe, causing infections and other very health problems. They are also used to the idea of functioning with pain, which is how older dogs manage to function despite their pain and discomfort.
As a dog owner, it is important to help your dog stay safe. Touch the asphalt. If it’s too hot for your hands, it’s too hot for your dog. If it’s too hot and you want to walk with your dog on a hot day, find a shaded area with grass where they won’t get too hot.