Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WUAL will be down at times between 9am and 3 pm today for maintenance. Tune in on Classical Music Stream
Alabama Shakespeare Festival Enter for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Walking the Dog in Summer Heat

Scott 97006 [Flickr]

Summer heat can be uncomfortable, especially for your dog.  Most dogs enjoy being outdoors, but they can overheat or burn their paws before you know they are suffering.  Burned paws can blister and be very painful for your best friend.  It's up to you to make sure your furry buddy stays safe in the summer heat.


I saw my neighbors walking their dog recently and noticed they were winding their way through the yards, staying under trees and avoiding the street. I realized they were letting their furry friend enjoy a little exercise while seeing to it she didn’t burn her paws on the pavement. That’s being a good dog owner.

On sunny summer days, it doesn’t take a really high temperature to make it uncomfortable for an animal on a sidewalk or street. In fact, when the outside thermometer reads a mild 85 degrees, a concrete sidewalk can be 105 degrees – and the asphalt on the street can be 130 degrees. And on a sunny 95 degree day, the concrete could be 140 degrees. One way to make it safer for your dog, is to walk when it’s cooler outside, early in the morning or close to sunset. The worst time would be the middle of the day or early afternoon.

Do what my neighbors did and stay on the grass and in shady areas. Don’t forget – your pet is barefooted, and walking on sun-baked pavement or asphalt could be more than uncomfortable – it could cause blisters on your best friend’s tender feet.

And take along some water for your buddy – all that panting can make a dog thirsty. Speaking of panting, make sure you know the symptoms of overheating in pets, symptoms that could indicate a heat stroke – excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, weakness, and increased heart rate. If your dog exhibits any of those signs, quick action on your part may save your pet’s life. Left untreated, heat stroke can result in brain damage, organ damage, even death.

When you are unsure whether it is safe to walk your pet in the summer heat, the five-second test is a good way to measure that. Put the back of your bare hand on the pavement and try to hold it there for five seconds. If it’s too hot for that, it’s too hot to walk your dog.

Keeping your best friend safe in the Summer heat and sun is a cool thing to do for both of you, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.