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  • Molly Weinfurter

When is Pavement Too Hot for Dogs?

Updated: Jun 5

Every time the weather heats up, it’s exciting for dogs and their humans. It’s finally an opportunity to spend lots of time outside without needing to bundle up or shiver. However, there are safety concerns associated with hot weather just like there are with cold weather. So, when is pavement too hot for dogs? And how can you protect your dog’s sensitive paws?

Why is Hot Pavement Dangerous for Dogs?

Dog paw pads can be pretty tough, which is why many people think they’re stronger than they are. Yet, they can be just as sensitive as the bottom of human feet. Walking on hot surfaces barefoot can be just as uncomfortable for dogs as it is for us.

In extreme heat, dark-colored pavement warms up more than any other surface. If the pavement gets hot enough, especially if your dog walks on it for long periods, it could cause painful burns on your dog’s paw pads. 

Paw pad burns may take over a week to heal, leaving your dog uncomfortable and restless in the process. Thus, it’s best to avoid walking your dog on hot pavement to prevent injuries like this from occurring.

Dog sitting on hot pavement

When is the Pavement too Hot for Dogs?

If you’re wondering “how hot is too hot for dog paws?”, there isn’t a clear answer. There are lots of sources out there with great information, but they don’t all agree on the exact numbers. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the outside temperature, the type of pavement, whether or not it’s in the sun, and how long it has been in the sun.

Here’s a rule of thumb for how much the pavement can heat up on a hot summer day:

  • 70 ℉ = 80 - 120 ℉ (21℃ = 26 - 48 ℃)

  • 80 ℉: 90 - 130 ℉ (26℃ = 32 - 54 ℃)

  • 90 ℉: 100 - 140 ℉ (32℃ = 37 - 60 ℃)

  • 100 ℉: 110 - 150 ℉ (37℃ = 43 - 65 ℃)

If the pavement is a light color or in the shade, it’ll be on the lower end of the range. However, the longer the sun is shining on the ground, the hotter it’ll be. Asphalt is the hottest type of pavement because its dark coloring quickly absorbs heat. So, asphalt is best avoided altogether on hot days.

How to Test Hot Pavement for Your Dog

The easiest and most common way to test pavement’s temperature is to place the back of your hand on the ground. If you can rest your hand there for at least seven seconds without it becoming unbearably hot, then it’s probably safe for your dog.

Some dog parents might be grossed out by the idea of putting their hand on the ground. Yet, touching the ground for a few seconds is better than having your dog burn their paw pads. Just make sure to wash your hands when you get home. I always make sure to do this on hot days before my dog and I walk on dark-colored pavement.

small dog  walking on asphalt

How to Protect Dog Paws from Hot Pavement

You may not be able to fix the ground’s temperature, but there are ways to reduce the risk of paw burns. If you’re sick of worrying about your dog and checking the pavement temperature every time you walk, one of the following may be a good solution for you.

Early Morning/Late Evening Walks

You may want to consider changing your dog’s walking routine in the summer if possible. Walking your dog early in the morning is safer than in the middle of the day because the pavement hasn’t had the chance to absorb much heat from the sun yet. Plus, the temperature is usually cooler in the morning. 

Evenings are also cooler, but if you walk when it’s dark out, make sure you use some kind of light, like a light-up leash, to ensure you’re visible to cars passing.

Dog Shoes for Hot Pavement

Dog booties for hot pavement are a great way to keep your dog’s paws safe. However, most dogs won’t be happy about wearing shoes the first time they do it. If your dog is reluctant to walk while wearing shoes, you may have to practice in the house before you take them out with the shoes. Put the booties on your dog for short periods inside and reward them for wearing them to help them get used to shoes.

Paw Protection Wax

There are a few paw wax products that can protect your dog’s sensitive feet. Before you walk your dog, cover their paw pads in a coat of protective wax. The wax provides a barrier between your dog’s feet and the hot ground. It’s a great alternative to dogs that hate wearing shoes.

Avoid Pavement

If possible, avoiding pavement on walks can be a great solution. Go to the park and stay in the grass or on dirt paths to ensure the surfaces aren’t too hot on your dog’s feet. If you need to walk past pavement, carry your dog over it if you can.

Exercise in Other Ways

Sometimes, it’s just too hot to walk your dog at all. In extreme heat, your dog is faced with lots of other risks in addition to burning their paws. They could also suffer from heat stroke or dehydration after only short walks, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Playing fetch inside, using a dog treadmill, or going for a walk inside a dog-friendly store are all alternatives to walking outside in extreme heat. If it’s not too hot out, you could play fetch in a shaded area outside or take your dog swimming.

person walking dog on asphalt

Regularly Check Your Dog’s Paws

Regardless of the temperature outside, it’s a good idea to frequently check your dog’s paws. Look for signs of burns, scratches, and dryness. If anything ever seems out of the ordinary or if it hurts your dog when you touch their paw, visit your vet.

Some dogs just have drier paws them normal. If that’s the case for your pup, you can use a dog paw moisturizer to ease the discomfort on their paws.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Signs of Paw Pad Burns in Dogs?

Dogs with paw pad burns may limp, lick their paws excessively, or refuse to walk. Look closely at your dog’s paws for signs of blisters, inflammation, and discoloration. If you suspect that your dog’s paw pads are burned, contact your vet.

What Should I Do If My Dog Burns Their Paws?

As soon as you spot burns on your dog’s paw, wipe the paw with cool water. Don’t use ice-cold water because it could be too extreme of a temperature change for their sensitive paws. Most burns require bandages and ointment, but it’s best to consult your vet for the best approach.

Are Certain Dogs More Susceptible to Paw Pad Burns?

Puppies and dogs that don’t spend much time outside are typically more susceptible to paw pad burns. As dogs walk on their paws, their paw pads become tougher. If your dog has pink paw pads, that’s a sign that their feet are more sensitive.

What Temperature is Too Hot for Walking Your Dog?

Long exposure to temperatures above 82℉ (27℃) can be risky for dogs of all breeds. However, if the sun has been shining on the pavement for a while, even if the temperature is lower than that, the ground is likely too hot for your dog’s feet. Also, individual dogs may be different depending on their breed, age, and whether or not they’re used to warm weather.

What are the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs?

Dogs with heat stroke may experience excessive panting, drooling, dry or sticky gums, increased heart rate, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, move them to a cooler place immediately.

Puppy running on hot pavement

Make Sure the Pavement Isn’t Too Hot for Dogs

Knowing when the pavement is too hot for dogs is the key to keeping your dog safe on hot days. We might not notice how hot the ground is because we usually wear shoes outside, but that’s not the case for dogs. So, check the ground temperature or follow the necessary precautions to keep your dog’s paws safe.

Remember, your dog’s paws aren’t the only body parts at risk in the summer. While the weather might seem nice to us, dogs are covered in fur and some breeds have breathing problems. Thus, our furry friends could suffer from heat stroke much quicker than us. To reduce the risk, limit your dog’s time outside and provide water as much as possible.


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