With all the great weather we’ve been having here in the S.F Bay Area, it’s been a pleasure to take nice long walks with my dog. It’s been getting a little hotter, and with the hottest days still to come for us, we can certainly expect more sunny days. This makes me think about how I should keep in mind how hot the ground surface gets during these summer strolls around the neighborhood and how we need to protect our dog’s paws. They don’t have protective footwear like we do.
Concrete and asphalt surfaces can get very hot during these cloudless days, so keep in mind your dog’s comfort and safety. Very hot surfaces can be damaging to your pet’s paws.
Limit the time you spend on these hard surfaces and if you can, do most of your walking on cool grass in dog-friendly parks, or on dirt walking trails in wooded areas. If a park is not close to your home, consider taking a drive with your dog to the nearest one.
If you absolutely must be on the sidewalks or streets, you might want to think about training your dog to wear shoes on his feet made especially for dogs for protection. You should try to take a walk only during the early morning or evening hours when it’s cooler.
Also remember that your dog is much closer to the ground than you are, and they will be affected by the heat radiating off of the surface much more quickly. Make sure you take water with you so you can give your dog a water break. Prolonged exposure to a hot surface will also affect your dog’s ability to cool himself off since dogs sweat only through their tongues and paw pads.
Watch your dog for signs of discomfort or heat exhaustion. Excessive panting, discolored gums, vomiting, and lethargy are red flags for you. If you see signs of distress, get your pet into shade, cool him down with a wet towel, or just water (but not ice cold) and get him to drink small amounts of water. Get to a vet as soon as you can.
Take extra care during these months. You don’t want your fun walk to turn into a medical emergency!