As high temperatures break records across the world, pet parents need to be mindful of potentially hazardous conditions when walking their dogs.
When outdoor temperatures reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit and remain elevated throughout the day, it is too hot to walk a dog safely without any precautions, according to the American Kennel Club.
"Pavement, like asphalt or artificial grass, can become incredibly hot and cause discomfort, blisters, and burn a dog's paw pads," Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer for the AKC, said in a statement.
Data from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that when the outdoor temperature hits 86 degrees, the asphalt registers a much hotter 135 degrees.
A good way to check if pavement is too hot for a dog’s paws is by placing the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds, according to The Kennel Club. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.
But when it is too hot, what do you do?
Control what you can
While it may seem obvious, avoid walks during the hottest times of day when possible. Walks earlier in the morning and in the evening offer cooler conditions. Choose shady areas and grass or soil over pavement or artificial grass.
If you’re worried about exercise during hot weather, plastic wading pools made for dogs are a great option. For adult pools, check out some canine life jackets.
Paw balms are typically used in the winter months to help protect dogs’ feet from cold weather and snowy conditions. But they can also benefit your pooch in hotter months as well. Moisturizing your pet’s paws daily will help prevent cracks, blisters, and burns. Balms also help provide a barrier between your dog’s feet and the ground. Some say thicker waxes on hot surfaces can create a sticky mess, so be sure to use a lighter balm that absorbs well.
Shoes and boots
While some pups may say these boots aren't made for walkin', dog boots and shoes offer the best protection for your dog's paw pads in the heat — if they will tolerate them. Train your dog to get comfortable in their kicks over time:
1. Get your dog comfortable with you handling his feet
2. Put one boot on and reward with a treat when your dog gets up and walks with it
3. Repeat that step by adding an additional boot until you make it to all four
4. Try going outside!
If your dog won't walk or is uncomfortable, revert to previous steps. This may take time! You can pause training for a week and try again.
Anusak Laowilas / NurPhoto via AP