How Hot Is Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

How to keep those little paws safe 🐾

Dog is too hot to walk

Have you ever felt like it was just too hot outside to walk your dog?

To make sure you’re keeping your dog safe — and his paws free from burns or irritation — it’s important to know how to tell when it actually is too dangerous to take your dog on a walk.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Jessica Romine, a veterinarian at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Southfield, Michigan, to get some answers and tips to make sure your walks are always safe — and fun — for you and your pup.

How to test if it’s too hot out to walk your dog

According to Dr. Romine, there’s a simple test you can do to check if it’s too hot out to walk — and all you need is your hand.

“A good rule of thumb is to place your hand on the sidewalk or asphalt for 5 seconds; if it becomes uncomfortable to the touch, it is probably also uncomfortable for your dog to walk on,” Dr. Romine told The Dodo.

Signs your dog is uncomfortable

If you do need to take a walk on a hot day — or if it starts to heat up after you’ve already left home — keep a close eye on your pup.

“Dogs can suffer burns from very hot surfaces, usually in direct sunlight,” Dr. Romine said.

Signs to look out for include your dog starting to slow down or limp, or not wanting to keep walking.

If this happens, Dr. Romine recommends “checking their paw pads for tenderness, redness, or erosions and try[ing] to get them into the grass or at least shade.”

Tips for walking your dog in the heat

If you live in an area where hot concrete is unavoidable, you can try a paw wax to protect your pup’s paws. If you’d like to try one, Musher’s Secret Paw Wax is highly recommended by one of The Dodo’s editors, who uses it on her own pup. 

Get it from Petco for $12.75

“If you dog tolerates them, they are a fine option,” Dr. Romine said about protective products, “but remember that prolonged contact can still cause damage, and dogs still need to be monitored for signs of overheating.”

So in general, try to stick to the grass or at least the shade on your summer walks — and going out in the morning or evenings, when most surfaces aren’t in direct sun, will be much more comfortable for your dog.

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