Perfect dog weather means never having to say “it’s too cold” or “it’s too hot” to go play outside. What temperature is that? Every dog is different, but generally speaking, a moderate 70 degrees is usually right for every dog. Knowing how to protect your dog in hot weather and protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement is critical.
How hot is too hot for your dog’s paws
When the thermometer registers 85 degrees and stays elevated throughout the day, taking your dog with you wherever you go, even on short excursions, can lead to serious injury. Even spending a few minutes strolling through the great outdoors can prove dangerous.
That’s because you’re wearing shoes to protect your feet, but your dog isn’t.
“Pavement, like asphalt or artificial grass, can get very hot and cause discomfort, blisters and burns to a dog’s paw pads,” says Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer and veterinary emergency and critical care specialist.
The burning surface can be especially harmful to puppies with sensitive paws.
So how hot is it for a dog’s sensitive paw pads?
“If the temperature is 85 degrees or higher and the surface has no chance of cooling, the ground may be too hot to walk the dog safely,” Klein says.
When the temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt is 135 degrees, according to data reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“To determine if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk, place your hand comfortably on the sidewalk for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws,” Klein said.
Your bare feet are another good barometer.
Hands or feet, the same temperature test applies to all types of terrain, including sand, metal and concrete.
When it comes to sidewalk surfaces so hot you can fry an egg, don’t ignore the dirt. A social media post shows how a soldier traversed dry land for his canine companion in hot weather. To avoid burning his dog’s paws, the soldier carried his German Shepherd over his shoulder for eight miles.
Heat-Related Health Problems in Dogs
“In addition to damaged paws, hot pavement increases a dog’s body temperature and causes heat stroke,” Klein said.
The normal resting temperature range for dogs is 99 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature above 104 indicates heat stress. Anything over 105 registers as heatstroke, and anything over 106 requires emergency veterinary care.
Watch your dog for these signs of heat stress and treat immediately.
- Seek shade
- Limit movement or restlessness
- Choosing to sit or lie down
- Uncontrolled panting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reddening of the skin
- Excessive salivation
Symptoms of heat stroke that require immediate medical attention.
- Excessive drooling and thickening of saliva
- Bright red or blue or purple gums
- Rectal bleeding
- Refusal to drink water
- Loss of consciousness
- To cool your dog.
Find a cool place
- Apply an ice pack to his chest under his front legs
- Pour cool water on his head and body
- Give water to drink
- Find air conditioning indoors or in a cooled car
- Give your dog a cooling pad to stand on.
- Small and short-legged dogs are especially prone to overheating because their bodies absorb heat in close proximity to hot ground. Flat breeds also heat up more quickly.
Protecting your dog’s paws in hot weather
“Dog pads need to be adapted to the weather and stress,” Klein says. “The first long walk or jog of the warm season usually results in blisters on the feet.”
To help condition dogs’ paws, walk on sidewalks in cooler weather. A hard surface helps make them more resilient and builds resistance when temperatures rise.
Many canine products help moisturize a dog’s foot pads to prevent heat cracking. When the pads are dry, they are more likely to be burned by hot pavement.
Dog shoes or all-terrain boots can provide protection against hot surfaces, but many dogs need time to get used to wearing them before going outside for the first time.
Choosing the right size – fitted, but not too tight or too loose – can help your dog adjust to wearing the shoes. Your dog’s feet need some room to breathe. Choose footwear with wrap-around closures and full foot grips on the bottom. Avoid products that stick to your dog’s pad.
If you must take your dog out in hot weather, avoid the hottest times of the day. Take walks in the early morning or late afternoon. Choose a grassy or shady area.
For exercise in hot weather, set up a hard plastic outdoor shallow pool for your dog. Plastic children’s pools entice dogs to dig and tear. If your dog swims in an adult pool, add a canine life jacket to ensure safety.