The Effects of Summer Weather On Your Pet
As we enter the thick of summer, the sun is shining brighter, and days are getting hotter. A big question pet owners have is “how hot is too hot for my dog?” Well, just think how hot that blacktop driveway or the sandy beach is for your bare feet – hot!!! If it is too warm for our bare feet, it is also too hot for our furry friends and their paws.
Dog’s paws are extremely sensitive and heat-retaining surfaces can potentially burn the pads when too hot. Heat-retaining surfaces include asphalt, concrete, brick, decks, sand and AstroTurf. Nearly all these surfaces can get dangerously hot in a short duration when the weather conditions are right. And contrary to belief, the most dangerous surface temps occur on a typical summer day rather than those 90°, extreme humidity days. The hottest surfaces are produced when the weather is sunny and in the mid-80s with low humidity and calm wind.
According to a study by The Journal of the American Medical Association, when the air temperature is at 77°F, the temperature of pavement is exponentially hotter at about 125°F! This is hot enough for skin destruction to occur in less than 60 seconds. When the temperature of pavement reaches 135°F, you can actually fry an egg on its surface in about 5 minutes.
Another factor to keep in mind is humidity. According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
How To Protect Your Pup
To protect your pet and beat the heat, the best way to avoid the outside on the hottest times of the day. Instead, consider taking walks during the sun rising and setting hours when temperatures are cooler. Also, adjust the intensity and duration of your dog’s exercise in accordance with the temperature and humidity.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends testing the surface temperature by placing the back of your hand against it and hold it there for 7 seconds. If your struggle to keep your hand on the surface, then it is a sign that it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Also, a good rule of thumb to prevent heat injuries is to stick to natural grass rather than exercising your dog on heat-retaining surfaces.
Monitoring and doing regular health test/screenings is another way help keep your pet safe. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not reach over 104 degrees. If you find burn blisters or pieces of missing paw pads, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Lastly, there are many products you can invest in that help keep your pet safe in the summer. Our Dog Stop locations carry many of these products including dog booties, cooling vest & pads, and topical ointment such as Musher’s Wax for added heat protection. The Dog Stop’s doggie daycare is also a great alternative that helps your dog stay active and socialized during these hot summer months, while also keeping them safe and monitored in temperature-controlled settings.