OUCH! Protect your pets’ paws on high heat days

Surfaces like asphalt and concrete can heat up to dangerous levels

How hot other surfaces can get in 90° heat

ROANOKE, Va. – In recent years, multiple studies have been done to show how different surfaces react to heat. Two that we can reference come from UC Berkley and Frostburg State University.

Studies like these prove especially important on days like Monday, as half of our area is under a heat advisory.

It should come as no surprise that surfaces like brick, concrete and asphalt become dangerously hot in the summer months. Darker surfaces absorb heat more efficiently, which is why we should avoid putting our pets on these surfaces. (This is also why we should avoid wearing dark-colored clothing.)

A simple test can tell you whether or not it’s too hot for them.

Place your hand on the surface for 7 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s simple. It’s too hot for their paws. This is also a good reason to not walk barefoot on these hot days.

Can't tell whether or not it's too hot for your pets' paws or your bare feet? Try the 7-second rule. If you can't keep your hand on the concrete or pavement for 7 seconds, it's too hot. It may seem silly, but this will be helpful on a day like today. Highs 90-95° -> concrete and pavement temps WAY above 100° in direct sunlight.

Posted by Chris Michaels WSLS 10 News on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A simple search on PetSmart shows some symptoms to look out for in your pets if you think they’ve burned their paws.

  • Limping or avoiding walking.
  • Licking or chewing feet.
  • Paw pads are darker in color than usual.
  • Pads are visibly damaged.
  • Blisters or redness.

We saw a few of these symptoms in our second cat when we first got her. (My wife rescued her off the street a couple years ago.) This required us to go to the vet and get Libby some antibiotics.

If you have any more questions about this topic or anything weather-related, feel free to comment on this article or message me privately.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.