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Be aware of pavement temperatures before walking your dog

By: Lisa Hobbs -- Reporter for the Southern Standard

Mike Ratliff demonstrates how to test asphalt or pavement to make sure it is not too hot for a dog’s paws. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your four-legged companion, Ratliff says.

(Photo by: Lisa Hobbs)



The dog days of summer could be too hot for Spot. 


Certified trainer Mike Ratliff is urging people to think about their pet’s health before embarking on a walk or trip to the store. 


“Before taking your dog for a walk, place the back of your hand on the pavement or asphalt surface for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog,” said Ratliff.


When the air temperature is 77 degrees, asphalt has been measured at 125 degrees. 

At 87 degrees, asphalt temperature can be 143. 


At 125 degrees, skin destruction can occur in 60 seconds. An egg can fry in five minutes at 131 degrees. 


That’s among the information presented by Ratliff to pet parents.


“While those numbers can vary slightly, it does show that pet owners need to be aware there is a difference between the air temperature and the temperature of pavement or asphalt. It’s good practice to test the temperature with your hand before taking your dog on a walk.”


Pad burns occur on dog paws after they walk on hot pavement or asphalt. It is extremely painful for the dog and may require medical attention. 


A quick trip into the store could pose an even greater danger for pets left in a vehicle. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become life-threatening. 


When the air temperature is 70 degrees outside, a car’s inside temperature can rise to 89 degrees in 10 minutes and 104 degrees in 30 minutes. At 90 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can be 109 degrees in 10 minutes and 124 degrees in 30 minutes. 


“Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles,” said Ratliff. “A dog can quickly overheat. They don’t sweat. It has no way of cooling itself down. Your quick trip into the store can be a life and death decision for your dog. Please don’t put them in that situation.”


Additional summer tips: make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water and shade, consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats, and apply sunscreen to dog skin if they have a thin coat.

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