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How to Protect Your Pets’ Paws from Hot Sidewalks | Hastings Veterinary Hospital

How to Protect Your Pets’ Paws from Hot Sidewalks

Have you ever felt too hot even in your t-shirt? Imagine how much hotter you would feel if we wore shaggy coats like, say, our dogs!

Even though the air temperature may feel comfortable to us when taking our dogs out for their walks, we may not realize that we could be exposing our pets to extreme discomfort, and that hot sidewalks and roads can actually burn little paws. It’s important to be aware of your pet’s comfort level and safety in the summer heat. As for sidewalks, here are some important tips to keep in mind.

Use This Simple Test for Road and Sidewalk Comfort Levels

When outdoor temperatures are high, they may not bother us but they are hot enough to render concrete, asphalt, or blacktop unbearably hot on bare feet or bare paws. You don’t need to strip off your footwear to test the roads or sidewalks. Here is what to do: place the back of your hand on the sidewalk and hold it there. If you can’t hold it for more than five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Ouch! Watch out! Use the same test on the road or any pavement on which your dog will walk or play.

Remember that black absorbs heat and white reflects it. If you have checked the light coloured concrete or cement pavement with the back of your hand and found that it’s too hot, you needn’t bother checking darker coloured roads (blacktop or asphalt). It will be even hotter.

Watch Your Pooch for Signals of Discomfort

Your dog may be happy to go for a walk or play outside and may not show you that he or she is uncomfortable. Some pets usually don’t know their own limits and may try to cooperate by running for the ball even when they’re in distress. Watch for these signs:

  • High-stepping when walking on the road or sidewalk
  • Whimpering
  • Excessive drooling
  • Laboured breathing

If your pooch shows any of these signs, stop the walk or playtime. Make sure you are carrying a portable bowl and water in warm weather, lead them to a shady area, and let them drink up. Take your pooch home and help him or her cool down. Dogs sweat through their paws and cool down through them too, so you can help cool them off by letting him or her stand in a container or pool of cool water.

Here’s How to Exercise Your Dog in Very Warm Weather

You can keep your dog from overheating or burning his or her paws while you’re outside:

  • Find shady areas for your playtime and walk your dog on the grass, dirt, or gravel paths.
  • Avoid sidewalks and roads, especially those made of blacktop (asphalt) around noon or in the early afternoon when surfaces have been heated by the noonday sun.
  • Carry water and a portable bowl so that he or she can drink frequently.
  • Choose cool times of the day—early morning or evening—for walks and outdoor fun.
  • Watch your pet carefully so that they don’t overexert themselves when the summer temperatures rise.

You may need to take pooch out when it’s very hot and you live in an apartment or don’t have a yard:

  • Stay on grassy areas and limit the time he or she has to walk on sidewalks or roadways.
  • If your dog is small, you can pick them up to cross the road or hot surfaces.
  • You can buy tiny shoes to put on your dog’s feet (very cute, but not always functional).
  • Limit and supervise the time your dog spends outside.

Do your best to keep your dog from overheating or burning their little paws on hot sidewalks. Your pet is depending on you to see that their time spent outside on walks and playtime don’t result in dehydration, heat stroke, discomfort, or burns. Make sure you and your best friend have only fun in the sun! Visit your veterinarian if you notice discomfort, burns, blistering, or pad sloughing to ensure appropriate treatment is provided.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Hospital and a clickable link back to this page.


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