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Hot Asphalt

28.6.2019

A danger to your dog’s paws

The high heat of summer can becomes extremely hazardous for your dogs paws. There is a simple test in which you can do to check whether the pavement is too hot for your pet's paws by doing the “seven-second test”. Simply touch the pavement with the back of your hand for seven seconds. If you can’t hold out for the full seven seconds because the surface is too hot, then it’s also too hot for your dog’s paws.

When is it too hot for dog paws?

If the air outside is pleasantly warm, you may think there’s no risk that your dog’s paws will get burnt. But the ground can get much hotter than the surrounding air and absorbs heat fast,  the table below compares the temperatures of the air and asphalt under similar conditions:  

Air temperature              Asphalt temperature
25 °C / 77 °F 52 °C / 125 °F 
31 °C / 87 °F62 °C / 143 °F 
35 °C / 95 °F65 °C / 149 °F

What’s more, is some surfaces get hotter than others. A study by Frostburg University has shown that when concrete reaches a temperature of 40 °C, under similar conditions brick can get as hot as 43 °C and asphalt 51 °C.

Symptoms of burns

The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the burns (1st, 2nd or 3rd degree):

  • The affected area is reddened and swollen (1st degree)
  • Clear blisters are visible (2nd degree)
  • The skin is charred (3rd degree) 

First aid for burnt paws

If your dogs paws get burnt, you must always consult a vet as soon as possible, but in the meantime you should cool down the affected paws. The following first-aid measures are recommended by vets:

  1. Cool the affected paws under running water (the water should not be ice-cold).
  2. Bandage each affected paw or, failing that, protect it with a clean sock.

Take special care if using ice on your dog’s burnt paws: improper handling of ice can cause tissue damage. 

How to avoid burns

Burns can be avoided by taking the following precautions:

  • Do the “seven-second test” before walking your dog.
  • Walk your dog on grass or in meadows.
  • Walk your dog at times when the ground is cooler – early in the morning or late in the evening.