Heat paw-tection: Keeping dogs safe from hot pavement

If you wouldn’t walk on hot pavement without shoes, neither should your dog

Help keep your dog's paws safe during the summer heat.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 5-second rule is commonly known for fallen food, but a 10-second rule can let you know if the ground is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Summers are getting hotter, and the heat doesn’t just affect people. Pavement can feel hotter than the air, and it can burn paws.

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When the air temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 135 degrees, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Think of it as if you were walking barefoot too, whether it be on the pavement or on dirt.

If you put your hand on the ground and can’t handle the heat for more than 10 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog too, according to the American Kennel Club.

One way to help your dog is by walking in the early morning or night to avoid the sun. But if you can only walk your dog during those hot hours, there are still options.

Here’s what you can do to help your pet:

  • Buy dog shoes or all-terrain boots. Your dog may not be used to shoes, so bear with them as they get used to their feet being trapped.
  • Moisturize your dog’s paws. Dry paws are more susceptible to burns and injuries. Dog lotions and balms are sold to help keep paws smooth.
  • Don’t forget the 10-second rule. While you wipe sweat off your forehead from stepping into the sun, remember that everything else is affected by the sun too, including your car, the sidewalk and dirt.
  • Keep in grassy areas or in the shade.

Dog owners should recognize when their dog has been burned. Some symptoms include limping, licking paws, red or bleeding pads, or vocalizing when using the leg, according to Pet MD.

Here’s what to do if your dog does get burned:

  • The vet knows best. If a burn is severe, take your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Bandages are often required to avoid an infection. Paws are dirty and are the first point of contact with the ground.
  • Vets may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics.
  • Restrict exercise and avoid hot pavement and rough surfaces.
  • Check that your dog is not chewing or licking the paw or bandage.

About the Author:

Ashley joined ClickOrlando.com in June 2022.