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During the hotter summer months, I am often teased by neighbors and other members of our tightly-knit community for walking my dog while I am barefoot in the evenings. You’ve heard the expression it’s so hot outside you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, the truth is that you could also burn your pet’s feet on these hot surfaces during peak temperature times.
Where we live, summer days often top 100 degrees or more and this makes sidewalks and asphalt roadways a prime surface for a painful burn. For example, when the outside temperature reaches 95 degrees, a study revealed the surface readings of these surfaces:
● Concrete or cement sidewalks = 125 degrees
● Red bricks commonly used on patios = 135 degrees
● Black asphalt roadways = 140 degrees
At 125 degress, pets will experience pain on their paws when coming into contact with these surfaces. But at those higher temperatures, they become at risk for a serious burn or permanent scarring on their sensitive paws. Think twice before you cross the street with your canine or put your cat out onto the patio in the summertime.
We all know better than to leave an animal alone in a hot car, not even for a minutes, but taking them on a ride in an air conditioned car shouldn’t present any danger. But the same study that took readings on outdoor temperatures also studied the seating surface of an automobile.
One researcher was “stunned” to find the reading on a light, gray leather seat return at 152 degrees inside his car. Imagine darker colored seats and temperatures of black dashboards came back at 170 degrees. Be sure your animal is properly restrained inside your vehicle and make sure they have something cool and dry to lay on, like a towel.
On Their Skin
With temperature gauge in hand, again at 95 degrees outside, a reading of 125 degrees came from the back of a black shepherd. While some dogs have a coat that’s designed to insulate them from the summer sun, others don’t fare so well in this dangerous heat. Some breeds that are more susceptible of getting a painful sunburn are those with shorter, lighter colored hair and skin. They include:
● Chinese Crested Dogs
They’re also more susceptible to be burned around their eyes, near the mouth, their nose, the tips of their ears and on their underbelly.
Just like our two-legged children, we can protect their skin from a possible sunburn with sunscreen and I’ve even seen some canines wearing hats and sunglasses. When applying lotion to your pet, seek those that are pet or child-friendly and check out our article on Preventing Pet Sunburn for more information on safely applying sunscreen.
Never use brands that any of these ingredients which could be toxic for pets, which include, zinc oxide, octyl salicylate, homosalate and ethylhexyl salicylate. Another potential problems can occur with application as some of them either don’t get absorbed by the skin, the pet can lick them off and they many need to be applied more than once.
Be sure to not only read the ingredients carefully, but check out the instructions and follow those recommendations. With a little bit of extra planning, care and affection, we can make sure our four-legged friends are safer this summer.
Written by: Loving Pets’ fan, Sloan McKinney, a journalist and lifetime pet lover