Is it too hot to walk your dog on the pavement?

Small white dog walking on pavement in the sun.

When it's hot outside, the ground can cause burns on paw pads because it warms up rapidly and is much hotter than the air around it. Knowing whether it's too hot to walk your dog or how to keep your dog's paws from burning is critical for avoiding burns and pain.

Dog Foot Anatomy

Dogs have paws that are partially covered in fur, but they also have paw pads that aren't covered in hair. Paw pads are excellent for shielding the feet from rough surfaces, providing shock absorption, and traction, but they are not burn resistant. Dogs have five paw pads on each foot that make contact with the ground, as well as two extra pads on the front limbs that do not. Thick skin, fat, and connective tissue make up each paw pad.

Pavement and Air Temperatures

Pavement may be any hard road or street surface, and while black asphalt pavement is more dangerous when it comes to heat, even concrete surfaces can become too hot for a dog to walk on. The temperature of the air is not the same as the temperature of the pavement, contrary to popular belief. This implies that as the weather warms up, the ground temperature might rise to dangerous levels for paw pads.

Because asphalt temperatures can be substantially higher than air temperatures (in direct sunlight with little breeze and low humidity), it's critical to understand the difference between the two.

Air Temperature Vs. Pavement Temperature
77 degrees F 125 degrees F
86 degrees F 135 degrees F
87 degrees F 143 degrees F

When Does a Burn Occur?

Many factors determine when and how a burn occurs, although skin will exhibit evidence of thermal damage in about 60 seconds at temperatures exceeding 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This implies that if the air temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement may be hot enough to burn a dog's feet if it stands on it for an extended period of time.

Alternatives to Walking on Pavement

Dogs require exercise, and if it's too hot to walk on the pavement, you might be wondering how else you can provide your dog the essential energy expenditure. Walking on grass or dirt is the most basic alternative to walking on concrete. These surfaces do not heat up as quickly as hard concrete and are therefore generally safer to walk on. If you don't have access to grass, consider swimming in a pond or lake, taking a "walk" inside the home, playing in a grassy yard, visiting a dog park, or visiting a doggy daycare. It's crucial to remember that physical activity in hot weather can lead to heat stroke, so consider your dog's unique health problems as well as the temperature before exercising on a hot day.

Preventing Burns on Pavement

Consider alternatives to protect your dog's paws from burns if walking on the concrete is inevitable. Dog shoes, stockings, and booties may appear funny at first, but they are inexpensive and efficient solutions to protect your dog's paw pads. There are many different types and sizes available, with some being thicker than others. If your dog isn't used to wearing shoes, socks, or booties, give it some time to become acclimated to them before taking a stroll outside. Put the foot covers on your dog and leave it to find out how to walk comfortably while indoors.

Another option to a dog wearing shoes or boots is paw wax. Before walking, a special wax is applied to a dog's paw pads and dries in seconds to offer a protective barrier. Most paw waxes are non-toxic and only need to be applied every few days or weekly if your dog licks its feet.

Finally, to avoid injury, earlier in the day before the pavement heats up or later in the day after the pavement cools down may be required. To keep your dog safe, sometimes all you have to do is change your walk routine. Additionally, avoid activities where your dog constantly runs and then stops on the hot concrete (as in playing fetch or chase). When the paws are scratched repeatedly against the heated earth, the risk of injury increases.

When is it Safe to Walk a Dog on Pavement?

It might be difficult to determine when the pavement is safe for a dog to walk on, but if the air temperature is 76 degrees F or lower, you shouldn't have any concerns. If the temperature is higher than this, a laser temperature gun can be used to assess if the pavement is too hot to walk on. Another quick test to see whether the pavement is too hot for your dog to walk on is to place your bare palm on it and hold it there for 10 seconds. If you can't keep your palm on it for more than 10 seconds, it's too hot for your dog to walk on.