How Hot is Asphalt on Your Dog's Paws?

June 21, 2021

Summer is upon us and with it comes the heat. Many dog owners are aware of the dangers of leaving your pup in a hot car. In fact, we covered this topic by putting our founder in a parked car in the summer heat to see just how bad it gets. But there are some other dangers associated with the heat that many pet owners may not be aware of.

One danger is the surface that our pets walk on. In direct sunlight, various ground surfaces can heat up well beyond the ambient air temperature. Most natural surfaces can deflect the heat (sand being an interesting exception), but the manmade surfaces can absorb the heat to dangerous levels. Anybody who has ever sat on a metal bench in the summer can attest to this.

So, in order to test things out for your pups, we're putting our founder Jordan back in harm's way. On a sunny, but reasonable 82º day, we tested four surfaces to see how they might feel for your pup's feet.

For a baseline, we checked the grass in direct sunlight. Our thermometer read 90º. Slightly hotter than the ambient air, but nothing too concerning. Jordan was able to stand in the grass for several minutes, no problems.

The next surface was sand, like you might find at the beach. This one surprised us, coming in at about 122º. That's 40º hotter than the ambient air temperature, and in the burn danger zone. But more on that in a bit.

After sand, we tried white cement. Basically, the standard sidewalk material we find across the country. That checked in at 115º, 38º hotter than the air. It was a little warm for Jordan, but he was able to stand on it for a couple minutes.

Finally, we tested black asphalt. Like a parking lot or road.  This checked in at a sweltering 132º, that's 50º hotter than the air and also in the burn zone.  At 120º, contact for 60 seconds or more can start to damage tissues. As the temperature rises, the amount of time to get a serious burn is shortened. Jordan could only stand 5-10 seconds on the asphalt before it became extremely uncomfortable.

So, how do we protect our pups? First, try scheduling walks to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Walk in the early morning and in the evenings. Stick to natural surfaces, such as dirt and grass. If your pup must walk on asphalt for an extended period, you may want to consider dog booties to protect their paws.

We hope you find this information helpful. Stay safe and cool with your pups this summer!

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