July 12, 2016

Walking on Hot Pavement

Author: Gail Brasie

Walking On Hot Pavement

Paws And Hot Pavement, Not An Ideal Mix.

There’s a lot to love about summer, although the heat in Chicagoland can be brutal. The hot summer sun can heat concrete and asphalt to astonishing temperatures, making them dangerous for your dog to walk on. Your pet can still enjoy the health and emotional benefits of daily exercise, but keep some things in mind while out walking in the heat.

Concrete and asphalt heat up and retain heat—temperatures can get as high as 145 degrees on these surfaces, which isn’t safe for your dog’s paw pads. Instead, encourage your dog to walk along the grassy parkway, where it’s cooler, or enjoy walks in parks where you can stick to the grass.

Morning and evening walks are ideal: the weather is cooler, so the sidewalk will be too. Temperatures and humidity can still be high, so use the weather as a guide for how long your walk will be that day.

If you are walking in the middle of the day keep walks on the short side. This not only decreases a dog’s exposure to the burning concrete, it also decreases the chance of your dog overheating. Humidity plays a factor in this as well. When it’s very humid a dog cannot effectively cool herself off by panting. So keep walks short and opt for more playtime in the air-conditioned house instead. When you get back from your walk let your dog cool down and make sure she has access to fresh water!

Additionally, if your dog has been swimming, her paw pads are more susceptible to burning because that time in the water has softened them up. If your dog has been swimming or even lounging in a baby pool before your walk, be extra careful.

Signs that your dog has sustained injury to her paw pads include limping, darkened pads, reluctance or refusal to walk, licking or chewing her feet, and even sections of the paw pads themselves missing! If your dog has been burned by hot asphalt or concrete, get her to a vet immediately.

Learn more about heat safety from the Humane Society of the United States’ website.

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