Pet owners often go to extremes to ensure that their dogs have the best food, appropriate veterinary treatments and plenty of affection. If a dog spends most of its time outdoors, owners usually ensure that there is fresh water and a shady spot for daytime naps. Whether the dog spends its days inside or outside, owners realize that dogs need and want exercise, so they take them for regular walks. However, what many pet owners do not realize is that asphalt pavement can cause serious harm to their dogs when the weather is warm.
ASPHALT PAVING & PROTECTING YOUR DOG – ANATOMY OF A DOG’S PAW
The basic parts of a dog’s paw are the claws, the metacarpal pad on the front paws, the digital pads, the metatarsal pads on the rear paws and the carpal pad. Some breeds also have dew claws, which are more common on the front paws than the rear paws. The carpal pads help with traction, especially when the dog is walking on an incline or stopping. The other pads are load-bearing, meaning that they are in constant contact with the ground. They contain many nerves that relay information about the surface, including whether the terrain is safe. None of these pads are protected by fur; this would interfere with their sensory abilities. Instead, the pads are covered by a layer of skin that is approximately the same thickness as the skin on the arch of a human foot.
THE EFFECTS OF HOT ASPHALT ON A DOG’S PAWS
If a dog is forced to walk on hot asphalt, the pads can be blistered or burned. The condition will be painful enough, but there is also a possibility that the injured area will become infected. Even without infection, the nerves in the paws may be permanently damaged.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE PAVEMENT IS TOO HOT
One of the most common misconceptions is that asphalt pavement will be approximately the same temperature as the air. In reality, the pavement can be far hotter than the ambient temperature. For example, if the air temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of asphalt pavement can be more than 134 degrees, which is three degrees hotter than is needed to fry an egg on the pavement in just a few minutes. At 88 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement temperature can exceed 143 degrees; human skin begins to burn at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another misconception is that the dog will provide obvious signs of distress. Some dogs are far too obedient to disobey a command, so they will continue to endure the pain for as long as their owner commands. Other dogs may express their distress by attempting to pull their owners to a grassy area, but that may be the only signal that they offer.
It is also a myth that asphalt pavement is safe for dogs if the sun has set. Asphalt absorbs heat from the sun quickly and loses it slowly. Depending on the day’s temperature, the asphalt pavement may not be safe for dogs until long after midnight.
PROTECTING YOUR DOG
There are several things that you can do to protect your dog from hot pavement.
• If you are planning to attend an event that will be held on an asphalt surface during the summer, leave your dog at home.
• Test the temperature of the pavement before walking your dog. Hold your hand or bare foot on the pavement; if you experience discomfort in less than 10 seconds, the pavement is too hot for your dog.
• Equip your dog with special socks or shoes to shield its paws from the heat.
• Walk your dog on grass. You could drive your dog to the park if you have no other option.
• Time your walks to coincide with the times when the pavement will be at its coolest. Normally, this is in the morning before 8 a.m.
APM is an asphalt paving company that cares about the people in our community as well as their pets. We have been paving asphalt, asphalt overlays, asphalt repairs and asphalt maintenance for more than three decades. We offer an extensive range of services, including concrete and asphalt installation and repairs, sealcoating, curbing, asphalt milling, parking lot striping, site work and pavement markings. Our service area encompasses most of Central Kentucky, including Lexington, Louisville, Danville, Mount Sterling, Richmond, Versailles, Winchester, Harrodsburg, Georgetown, Somerset and Cynthiana. If you need quality work at affordable rates, you can request a free quote by submitting the online form or calling (859) 299-8111.
See Recent BLOGS Below-