Be aware hot pavement can cause serious harm to your dog’s paws. Read on for a simple trick to know when the pavement is too hot for your pup’s paws.

They’re the toughest part of his skin, but your dog’s footpads still need protection from the heat just like yours do. If you wouldn’t think of walking on the hot sidewalk, sand or asphalt without sandals, it’s not a safe surface for your dog’s paws either.

To be extra safe during these scorching Dog Days of Summer, it’s best to skip afternoon walks at the peak hours of sunny days. The early morning or evening temperatures are just right for exercising with your best friend. But even then, take care to keep those sweet feet on the grass or dirt and off of the sizzling sidewalk.

How do you know it’s too hot for your dog to walk on pavement? Put your hand on the pavement and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Remember when there’s a breeze on a warm day, you may not realize just how hot the pavement may be.

You Might Not Know

According to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, D.V.M., your dog may experience paw burns without you even knowing it. In her article “How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Getting Burned on Hot Pavement” she explains, “Unlike the obvious wounds such as lacerations, foot infections (fungal, bacterial or foreign bodies, such as cheat grass), burned pads may not be readily apparent to the eye.”

That’s why pup parents need to be on the lookout for blisters or redness on your dog’s pads. Also, suspect a burn if you notice missing parts of the pads or they seem dark in color. Your dog may try to compensate for the pain of a paw pad burn by limping, refusing to walk, or licking and chewing at his paws. If you see any of these symptoms, make sure to bring your doggie to the vet for an exam.

Simple Trick

Place your bare hand or foot on the pavement for 10 seconds. Is this too hot for you? If the answer is yes, that is a good indication it is too hot for your dog.

What to do if the pavement is too hot? Take a shady route, stay indoors until the pavement cools down or consider investing in dog socks. Just like mushers often protect their dogs’ pads with socks in freezing temps, they’re as effective for warmer temperatures.


The Scoop:

Read the full article from Janet Tobiassen Crosby, D.V.M. and see her first aid tips for burned paw pads.

If you’ve missed our past related dog care tips, read them now.

Pause for the Paws – Dog Paw Care Tips

Summer Safety Tips for Your Best Friend

Thank you to West and Kobe for the photo.

Originally published July 2010; reviewed and updated August 2017.