June 20th was the first day of summer, and now that we are officially in the season, we are spending more time outside enjoying the nice weather with our dogs. It may not always be fun in the sun though... there are a handful of summertime risks we as pet parents must be aware of to protect our four-legged friends! 

You may be thinking of heat stroke, or leaving a hot dog in a locked car. These are definitely dangers that you should be aware of in the warmer weather, but did you know that walking your dog can also be a threat? In hot weather, concrete or pavement can heat up to extremely uncomfortable temperatures. This can cause your pup some mild discomfort, all the way to creating painful blisters. 

When Is It Too Hot? 

How can you determine if it is too hot to walk your dog on the pavement? If the outside air temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, asphalt can be 52 degrees Celsius. At 30 degrees Celsius air temperature, asphalt is 57 degrees Celsius. You can see how even when it doesn’t feel that hot out, pavement (and especially dark asphalt) can be searingly hot! To check if the pavement is too warm, place either your hand or bare foot on the asphalt, keeping it there for 7 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your bud! 

How Can You Prevent Your Dog’s Paws Getting Burned?

  • avoid the hottest time of the day and instead take your walks either early or late in the day.
  • if you do have to walk during the middle of the day, try to stick to the grass as much as possible and make sure you find lots of shade! 
  • change up your routine and find a trail where you don’t need to walk on the pavement. This may require more planning and travel, so it’s best to come up with some options ahead of time. Keep in mind that artificial turf and sand can also get very hot, so avoid areas with these surfaces too.  
  • if you can’t get to a trail, consider purchasing protective booties for your pup’s paws! If your dog won’t tolerate booties or socks, consider a paw wax that creates a protective barrier. 

How Can You Tell If Your Dog’s Paws Are Burned? 

There are a few ways that you can tell the hot pavement may be bothering your pup. They may show physical signs of discomfort such as lifting a foot up or alternating holding a paw in the air, limping, crying, refusing to walk, or licking / chewing on their paw. If you visually inspect your dog’s paw and you notice a colour change, there may be damage. Typically you will notice a change from pink darkening red. If there is significant damage, you will see blisters, pieces of the skin on their paw pad missing, or redness. 

What Should You Do? 

If your dog has burned or damaged paws, you should get your pup to a cool safe area immediately. You can apply a cool compress, and then contact your veterinarian immediately. 

We hope these tips help you and your pup to stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors during this beautiful summer season!