Summer pet paws: The 10-Second Rule

The summer heat rages on. Some of us love it, while others can’t stand all the sunburns and sweating. Either way, our pets need extra protection during this warm-weather season. Particularly their paws!

Each summer, veterinarians treat countless cases of burned paws (particularly the paw pads) on dogs who have walked or run on hot surfaces. Blacktop and asphalt heat up especially fast. Tennis courts do too. Anything over 120 (F) degrees can be painful and do real damage to a pet’s feet. Even a few steps can hurt, especially if a dog has not developed callouses from repeated year-round running.

Here’s an easy tip for dog walkers, dog-joring fans, cani-cross runners, dog joggers, and others who step out daily with their canine companions. Why not follow the 10-Second Rule?

The 10-Second Rule is easy.

As you step out onto the pavement for a summer jaunt with your pet, simply stop and place your own palm flat on the asphalt, blacktop, brick walkway, cement, concrete, tar, sidewalk, tarmac, or whatever surface you are following. Count “One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two …” and so on – all the way to “one-thousand-ten.”

How hot is your hand?

If your hand is burning unpleasantly, then the pavement is probably too hot for your pet’s paws. It might be a good idea to change your route to a shady trail or run a few loops around a grassy park. Or you could plan your summer outing for early morning, when the ground is still cooler from overnight.

Plenty of sporty booties are available (in various sizes) to protect pets’ paws on hot summer surfaces. Here’s an example. These booties sport rugged soles and Velcro closures.

The 10-Second Rule is a no-frills, no-fuss way to gauge whether the ground is too hot for your pet’s feet.

Dog pawprints image adapted by this user from public domain photo
and product promo photo - fair use

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