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Paws Alert: Hot summer pavement can cause paw damage

Experts suggest alternative ways to walk, play with dogs in the summer
Posted: 12:52 PM, Jun 14, 2022
Updated: 2022-06-14 22:08:28-04
dog walking via PACC fb.jpg

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — During the summer months, when excessive temperature warnings abound and people seek shelter from the sun, it's important to remember that pets too are susceptible to heat-related illness.

Pima Animal Care Center's Animal Protection Service reports responding to hundreds of calls each year illness and death in pets due to heat exposure. Most instances were avoidable.

One example: High temperatures heat up the pavement.

In Southern Arizona, asphalt and concrete surface temperatures can reach upwards of 160°, which is hot enough enough to cause burns and blisters on a dog's paws, according to the Arizona Humane Society (AHS).

The PACC and AHS suggest dog owners walk their pets early in the morning or in the evening after pavement has cooled down to avoid burning their paws.

You can conduct your own heat test by placing the back of your hand directly on the ground for five seconds. If it's too hot for you, says PACC, it's too hot for their paws.

Other options to avoid blistering and burning on a dog's feet include purchasing canine foot pad moisturizer or dog shoes.

Kylie models her boots
Kylie, a mid-sized mixed breed Tucson pup, can be seen modeling her yellow booties in this file photo. Though she is able to kick them off if she wants, her guardians tell us she usually wears them without complaint.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) says prior to walking a dog with its shoes on, allow it to adjust to wearing them before going on a long walk.

Monitoring a dog's temperature is also important to avoid heat-related illness.

"Any temperature over 104 signals heat stress. Over 105 registers as heat exhaustion, and more than 106 is heatstroke requiring emergency veterinary care," according to the AKC.

Symptoms of heat-related illness:

  • Confusion
  • Letharic behavior
  • Excessive drooling and/or panting
  • Bright red or blue or purple gums
  • Rapid pulse
  • Refusing to drink water and/or eat
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Dry nose

Additional tips for caring for your dog this summer:

  • When possible, walk in the grass
  • Never leave a pet in the car
  • Provide cool shaded areas with good air flow
  • Prepare frozen treats, such as frozen chicken broth
  • Place their favorite toys in the freezer before play
  • Set out a baby pool filled with water and toys

Anne Simmons is the digital executive producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.