When Is Pavement Too Hot to Walk Your Dog?

| Updated: July 12, 2023
dog walking on pavement sidewalk on leash

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your furry friend, but it also comes with some risks. One of the most common hazards for dogs in warm weather is the hot pavement. Walking on hot surfaces can cause serious damage to your dog’s paws and even lead to heat stroke. In this article, we’ll explain how to tell if the pavement is too hot for your dog, what are the symptoms of burns and heat stroke in dogs, and how to protect your dog’s paws from the heat.

How to Tell If the Pavement Is Too Hot for Your Dog

The pavement can get much hotter than the air temperature, especially if it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Asphalt, concrete, metal, and sand can all reach scorching temperatures that can burn your dog’s paws within minutes. A quick way to test if the pavement is too hot for your dog is to place the back of your hand on it for five seconds. If it feels too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.

Another way to check is to use an infrared thermometer to measure the surface temperature. For around $20, it sure beats a trip to the veterinarian and wrapping your dog’s sore paw in baby socks.

Generally speaking, if the pavement is above 125°F, it can cause skin damage in 60 seconds or less. Even above 85°F, your dog can burn his/her paws if they stand on it long enough.

Air TemperaturePavement Temperature
Pavement temperatures can be 30-60 degrees higher than the air temperature. Many factors, such as region, humidity, shade, and surface material, will factor into the actual surface temperature.

Dog Paws

You might think that your dog’s paws are tough enough to handle the heat, but they’re actually very sensitive and delicate. The pads of your dog’s paws have nerve endings, blood vessels, and sweat glands that help them regulate their body temperature and sense their environment. When they walk on hot pavement, they can get burned, blistered, or infected. They can also lose their ability to sweat and cool down, which can lead to heat stroke.

What Are the Symptoms of Burns and Heat Stroke in Dogs

Burns and heat stroke are both serious conditions that require immediate veterinary attention. Burns can cause blisters, ulcers, infections, and permanent scarring on your dog’s paws. Heat stroke can cause organ failure, brain damage, and death. Some of the signs that your dog may have burned paws or heat stroke are:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Red or dark gums and tongue
  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Dry nose and eyes
  • Mental dullness or confusion
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Limping or licking paws
  • Seizures or collapse
  • Coma

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to a cooler place, offer them water, and wet their body with cool (not cold) water or cloths. Don’t use ice or very cold water, as this can cause shock or worsen the condition. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible and follow their instructions.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws from the Heat

The best way to protect your dog’s paws from the heat is to avoid walking on hot surfaces altogether. Try to walk your dog in the early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler. Choose grassy or shaded areas over pavement or sand. Check the weather forecast and avoid going out on very hot days. If you have to walk on hot surfaces, limit the time and distance, and check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of burns.

Another option is to use dog shoes or booties that are designed for hot weather. Dog shoes can provide a barrier between your dog’s paws and the hot pavement, as well as traction and comfort. However, not all dogs like wearing shoes, and some may need time to get used to them. You should also make sure that the shoes fit well and are breathable, waterproof, and durable. Some examples of dog shoes for hot weather are QUMY Dog Boots, Waterproof Shoes, and Dociote Breathable Dog Booties.

Paw wax or balm is another product that can help protect your dog’s paws from the heat. Paw wax is a natural substance that creates a protective layer on your dog’s pads, preventing them from cracking or burning. Paw wax can also moisturize and soothe your dog’s paws after a walk on hot surfaces. Some examples of paw wax are Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Wax and Natural Dog Company Paw Soother. You should apply paw wax before and after walking your dog on hot surfaces.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has helped you understand the dangers of walking your dog on hot pavement and how to prevent and treat burns and heat stroke in your dog. Remember, your dog’s paws are sensitive and can easily get hurt by hot surfaces. Always check the pavement temperature before you go out, and use dog shoes or paw wax to protect your dog’s paws from the heat. If you notice any signs of burns or heat stroke in your dog, take them to the vet right away.

Do you have any questions or comments about walking your dog on hot pavement? Let us know in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading, and happy walking!

P.S. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family who have dogs. You never know who might need this information!

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Kayla Stewart
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