Pet Safety and Heat

Two quick reminders to help you keep your pets safe during these warm months.

Too Hot to Trot

Asphalt temperature and outdoor air temperature are two very different things. When the outside air temperature is 77°, the asphalt in the sun is 125°. A dog’s foodpads aren’t any thicker than our feet, and they are just as easily burned. Here’s a quick test: Place your hand against the pavement and hold it there for 8-10 seconds. If that is uncomfortable for you, it will also be uncomfortable for your pooch.

From Accuweather’s article, Summer Heat Dangers: How Hot Can Outdoor Surfaces Get?

“The dangers of pavement are the same as other hot things,” Barr said. “If the pavement is too hot, then it can physically burn the footpads of dogs that are walking on them. Since the footpads have evolved to be tough and withstand rough surfaces, they are more resistant to heat than our feet are. However, prolonged contact with hot pavement and concrete is dangerous especially when strenuous exercise is done on hot pavement.”

Footpad burns are a common injuries in the summer after exercise, Barr said.

“The damage can be so severe that the footpads themselves can come off the feet themselves. This is extremely painful for the pets and takes a long time to heal,” Barr said.

The hotter the pavement, the shorter period of time that is necessary for damage to occur, Barr said.

“When you notice your pet licking their paws or limping after being on the hot pavement, then you should see your veterinarian immediately. Dogs will continue to run or play in the pavement as long as their owners are there.”

Barr suggests that owners do not run in the heat of the day with their pet.

“If they are to be on the pavement for a prolonged period of time, then you should be mindful of hot pavement. There are booties that are made for dog paws that are commercially available to protect their paws.”

“I’ll just be a minute…”

Many people think that if they open the car windows an inch or so and park in the shade on a 70° day, the pets inside will be fine. Contrary to what people seem to think, those “open” windows do NOT help reduce the inside temperature.

“In terms of heat-rise over time, it makes very little difference whether a car’s windows are closed or partially open. In both cases, a car’s interior temperature can rise approximately 40 degrees within one hour, even when the exterior temperature is only 72°F.”

American Academy of Pediatrics study (2005)

How hot and how quick? The study linked above notes that “eighty percent of the temperature rise occurred during the first 30 minutes.”

Chart: temperature rise in a vehicle
Temperature rise in a vehicle
Temp Outside After 10 minutes After 30 minutes
70° 89° 104°
75° 94° 109°
80° 99° 114°
85° 104° 119°
90° 114° 124°

Pets may love to be with you, and you with them. They can’t tell you when their safety is being compromised. If it’s a warm day, leave your pets at home where it’s comfortable. They will be happy (and alive) to see you when you return.


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