With the wonderful warming trend throughout the country everyone seems to be in good spirits, enjoying the sunshine and making the most of our parks and pathways.
It’s also a time of year I find especially frustrating when I see a clueless dog owner (like I used to be) enjoying the feel-good temps in the 80s while their pet’s paws are roasting on the pavement next to them. After all, I was always told growing up that dogs have tough paws and they don’t burn, right?!
Last week was a beautiful 84 degree day and I saw a gorgeous golden retriever literally prancing in place with pain as her owner was waiting to cross the street. Heartbreak.
As is often the case, the dog seemed otherwise well cared for. Yet, the poor thing will have to suffer blisters, or best cased scenario, painful tenderfootedness because of this common fair weather mistake.
I say “fair weather,” because our pooch’s feet can start burning even when the air temperature is comfortable. Beginning in the 80s (Fahrenheit) the sun can absorbs into asphalt, concrete, sand, dirt, gravel and pavers radiating temps that are painful to your pet’s paws.
So, when the weather feels comfortable to us humans, how do you know if the ground surface is safe for your pet?
Here’s a simple test. Hold your bare hand on the surface for 5 seconds. If you can easily do so with no discomfort, then your fido is good to go. If you cannot, then be aware that you will harm your pet to walk them on it.
Here are some suggestions that can help you and your pet enjoy the summer months safely.
1. ADJUST TO A SUMMER SCHEDULE. Early mornings are the coolest time of day. But, always be sure to check that the pavement is safe. As we’ve learned, air temp can be deceiving.
2. KEEP SHADE & GRASS NEAR BY. Install a puppy park (replaceable sod) in a shady spot right outside the door so that you’re pet is able to relieve them selves until the day’s weather cools down for their walk. You may need to get a canopy to create the shade, but well worth your pet’s health and happiness. And do replace the sod and disinfect the area every week to avoid bacteria build up.
3. INDOOR ACTIVITIES. Once the weather really heats up and the air temperature (99 or higher) is unsafe for your pet, be sure to play some daily indoor games with your pup. Yes, physical exercise is vital, but in a pinch keeping their mind active – until you can get them outdoors regularly again — can help keep them from getting bored and destructive.
A final reminder… their paws can burn in SECONDS. So if you think that running to the car, or to the shade is good puppy parenting. Think again, my darling.
If you cannot carry your pet from one safe area to another... Leave. Them. Home.
I’m developing an apparatus that turns their toys into a great exercise and training resource for when they are housebound due to weather as well as paw protection that lets the feet breathe… I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
I also have two or three more articles in the works on hot weather Dos and Don’ts for your doggie.
In the meantime, I know how tricky all of this can be, and you’ll likely need to make some adjustments. But, I’m here to support you and brainstorm ideas if you get stuck. Please feel free to comment below and let’s get the conversation going!
Help spread the good word and share this article to keep our doggies safe and happy.
And, as always, I am definitely in your corner…
p.s. Please share this information with everyone who’ll listen. Post to social media, post notices at your local pet store and coffee shop. Most pet owners don’t mean to harm their pets they either just don’t know or don’t have solutions. Let’s give them some.