The Dog Days of Summer* are here- meaning it's the hottest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also a time when Texas dog owners must be extra vigilant to protect our dogs from the heat- particularly their precious paws.

* Dog Days of Summer is July 3rd - August 11, and coincides with the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Majoris "Greater Dog". Neat! 

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

For some, this may mean putting a hiatus on walking your dog until the weather cools. For those of us who do not have yards for our dogs to potty in, we still must walk our dogs, but what's the best way to prevent paw burns?

1. Stay the heck off the asphalt. Asphalt is much hotter than the air temperature around us.

For example, if it's 85 degrees, then the blacktop temperature is 110. If the air temperature is over 100 degrees, then the blacktop can reach 160 degrees.

Not sure if the asphalt is too hot? Place your palm on it. If it's too hot for you- it's definitely too hot for them. "Listen" to your dog if they are pulling you to grass or into the shade. Or, if you have a derpy dog like I do, don't let her burn her own paws and direct her to a better spot to trot.

2. Time your walks appropriately, if you can. Just like with people, sometimes you need to go when you need to go. But if you can get your dog in the habit of going potty early morning and in the evenings, the ground will be much cooler, and as a bonus, so will you!

3. Booties. Not every dog will take to having "shoes" on, and most will need an adjustment period. But if you can get your dog to accept booties, they are also a good barrier against burrs, broken glass, etc.

Most of all, use your best judgment. My dog weighs 40 pounds but I'd still pick her up if her paws were burning. In the summer, we take very quick trips to potty during the day and then enjoy nice long exercise walks at the park when the sun has set. Of course, if we go very long at all, we bring water and a collapsable bowl to help cool her down- just like I take a bottle of water for myself.

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