Skip to main content

Furry Friends

Protecting Our Furry Friends: Understanding Hot Pavement and Its Effects on Dogs’ Paws Especially on the Florida Suncoast

Hot summer days bring with them scorching temperatures that affect not only humans but also our four-legged companions. Summer brings excruciatingly hot temperatures to the Florida Suncoast.  Understanding the temperature differences among blacktop, cement, grass, and shaded grass when the mercury rises above 80 degrees is crucial in safeguarding our dog’s paws. Additionally, adhering to the rule of thumb, which advises against walking dogs on pavement if it’s too hot to touch, is a responsible measure to prevent paw injuries.

  1. Temperature Differences among Surfaces: When the temperature surpasses 80 degrees, various surfaces react differently to the heat. Blacktop, with its dark color and dense composition, absorbs and retains heat intensely. As a result, it can reach scorching temperatures that can cause burns and blisters on a dog’s paws. Cement, although not as hot as blacktop, can still become uncomfortably warm and potentially injure a dog’s paws. In contrast, grass provides a cooler surface, offering a reprieve from the heat, especially when shaded.
  2. The Sensitivity of Dogs’ Paws: Dogs’ paws are sensitive and vulnerable to extreme temperatures. They lack the protection of shoes, making them susceptible to burns and other injuries. When dogs walk on hot pavement, their paws are exposed to the scalding surface, which can lead to discomfort, chapping, blisters, and even permanent damage to the paw pads. Prolonged exposure to hot pavement can also increase a dog’s body temperature, potentially resulting in heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
  3. The 7-Second Rule of Thumb: To ensure the safety of our furry companions, a simple rule of thumb is often suggested: If you can’t hold the back of your hand against the pavement for more than 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. This guideline acts as a practical indicator of whether the pavement is safe for dogs. By following this rule, pet owners can avoid subjecting their dogs to the harmful effects of hot pavement and make informed decisions regarding walks and outdoor activities.
Ambient Temperature (°F) Asphalt (°F) Concrete (°F) Grass (°F) Shaded Grass (°F)
                    80      125      100      80       75
                    85      135      115      85       80
                    90      140      120      90       85
                    95      150      130      95       90

Please note that these temperatures are approximate averages and can still vary depending on factors such as sunlight exposure, humidity, and geographic location. It’s crucial to be cautious when walking pets on hot surfaces, as even slightly lower temperatures can still pose a risk to their sensitive paw pads.

When temperatures soar above 80 degrees, responsible pet owners must be mindful of the surfaces their dogs walk on. The intense heat of blacktop and cement can lead to painful paw injuries, while shaded grass provides a cooler and safer alternative. Adhering to the 7-second rule of thumb ensures that our beloved companions can enjoy outdoor activities without risking their well-being.

Photo from Deposit Photos

Skip to content