Summer in New York City is brutal for dogs.
My phone says it’s 87 degrees as I type this on June 20, 2021, 3pm. (Just wait until July and August…)
This afternoon I was walking south on Amsterdam Avenue when I saw a cute fluffy dog headed north. We were both waiting for the light to change at Ninety Seventh Street. The dog caught my eye because it was wearing a head halter and if those are too tight, a dog can’t pant correctly which is a problem in the heat. But that seemed fine and the dog was panting appropriately.
Then I saw the feet. The dog stood on the dark asphalt waiting for the light to change then began to lift one paw up off the pavement, then rotated to the next, and the next until the light changed. At that point the dog hopped like a person walking across hot sand. The owner was not paying attention and was unaware of her dog’s discomfort.
The Vets-Now website has an article outlining the dangers of hot pavement and just how hot is hot…
If the outside temperature is a pleasant 25C (77F), there’s little wind and humidity is low, asphalt and tarmac can reach a staggering 52C (125F).
This can rise to 62C (143F) when the mercury hits 31C (87F).
It’s worth bearing in mind that an egg can fry in five minutes at 55C (131F) while skin destruction can occur in just one minute at 52C (125F).Iain Harrison
Iain is Vets Now’s senior communications manager.
What to do?
- Go out early.
- Go out late.
- If you have to go out in the heat of the day – be quick about it.
- Look for the shade, and don’t have your dog standing on the dark asphalt.
Luckily for Pax’e, I don’t tolerate the heat well, so she is always hiding with me from the sun in the shade of buildings, trees, scaffolding, and awnings while we avoid the dark asphalt like it’s flowing lava. Another lucky break for Pax’e is that her feet have long hair covering the foot pads. This can act as a kind of insulation against the heat of the street and it requires me to wipe/wash her feet every time we come in. She may disagree that the washing is a benefit, but it helps with cooling and lets me inspect her feet.
There are hosts of suggestions to be found online that offer remedies for dog’s feet on hot pavement. These can include booties, stickies, paw wax, and passive techniques like stay out of the sun, don’t stand on the dark asphalt with your dog, cool their feet when you come in. And…
…Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and believe what your dog is telling you.
Dante told us…
When NYC summers were too hot for him…
…he’d climb in the cool porcelain tub and fall asleep.