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How hot is too hot to walk your dogs?

Not taking care of your pet in this heat can land you in legal trouble: Pima County can issue a citation for animal cruelty if a dog's paws are burned
Becca and Emmy
Posted at 6:45 PM, Jun 19, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A dangerously hot stretch of weather has many animal advocates across Tucson concerned.

This time of year, Pima Animal Care Center starts to see an uptick in the number of dogs burning their paws on scalding hot pavement.

With temperatures over 100 degrees, I'm looking at ways to keep your dog's paws safe. At about 9:30 a.m., it was around 90 degrees outside and a temperature gun marked the pavement temperature at Udall Park at 118 degrees.

Temperature gun at Udall Park

Becca Cotton lives in the Eastside with her dog Emmy and helps run a local advocacy team for dogs called Tucson Action Team to Advocate for Dogs.

Becca Cotton and Emmy

"My dog's safety is my number one priority," Cotton said.

Pavement can become hot enough to cause pain and even burn your dog's paws. These images may be hard to see, but this is how serious the damage can be.

Dog paw pad injuries

A few years ago, this dog ran away from the groomer over the summer, burning its paws.

Dog paw pad injuries

"There's steps that are so easy to take to just keep our animals safe," said Cotton.

Not taking care of your pet in this heat can land you in legal trouble. Pima County can issue a citation for animal cruelty if a dog's paws are burned.

Cotton keeps Emmy's paws safe by using dog boots if she has to take her out during the day.

Becca and Emmy

"If you wanna check the temperature of the asphalt or sidewalk," Cotton said. "Put the back of your hand on the ground and hold it for seven seconds and if you can handle it and it's not hurting you, then it's safe for your dog."

Victoria Dougherty and her 5-month-old puppy, Buttercup, are usually out in the mornings to stay cool.

Victoria and Buttercup

"I do have boots for her," Dougherty said. "But I also take my feet out of my shoes and put my feet on the asphalt just to make sure it's not too hot."


Other dog owners like Tom Macck, packs hydration essentials for his dog Zero.

Tom Maack and Zero

"You always gotta remember to bring water," said Maack. "So, I carry a backpack."

With temperatures continuing to stay dangerously hot, these simple reminders help to keep your dog safe.

Roma and Chemino

Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.