Summer is arguably one of the best times of the year—but it’s also one of the hottest times of year in terms of temperature. And if you have a dog, it’s important to keep that in mind, especially if you take them on walks outside on pavement a lot.

Pavement—as well as asphalt, wood, metal, sand, you name it—can rise to very high temperatures during the summer months. In fact, pavement temperatures usually well exceed what the actual temperature outside is.

For example, when the air temperature is 77 degrees, asphalt in the sun might reach 125 degrees. Don’t forget, you can fry an egg at 130 degrees, so keep that in the back of your mind!

Think of how if you were to walk outside barefoot, you’d likely do that little “ow, ow, ow” dance and run back inside for sandals to protect your feet. Well, the same goes for your dog’s paws, they just don’t know how to express it in an “ow, ow, ow” dance (though you might see them laying down or refusing to walk—that could indicate that they’re hot, not that they’re lazy).

Here are a few ways to tell if the pavement is too hot:

  • Step outside barefoot, or press your hands against the pavement and hold them there for a few seconds. If it begins to burn your hand, think of how your dog’s paws might feel walking on that. Basically, if the pavement is too hot for you, then it’s likely too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • Opt for early morning or late evening walks, when the temperature of the pavement is likely much less than it is at peak time midday.
  • Stay on grassy surfaces, if possible, which are typically much cooler than pavement or asphalt.
  • Purchase a pair of dog booties. Yes, these exist, yes they’re adorable, yes they’ll protect your dog’s paws, and no, we’re not judging you for it.
  • Instead of a walk, take them to a local lake to go swimming and cool off. They’ll still get the exercise and have fun, and you won’t have to worry if their paws are overheating.

If your dog does get paw burn, how can you tell? First, take notice of how they’re acting after a walk. Some signs they might be uncomfortable is if they’re limping, their paws have a pink or red tint to them or they have blisters, or they’re licking or gnawing at their paws an unusual amount.

To help treat a paw burn, try an over-the-counter doggie infection medication, pain medication, or try bandaging the dog’s paws. And definitely give your vet a call if symptoms don’t clear up in a day or two, or if your dog is suddenly acting a bit strange after a walk outside in the heat.

Has your pup ever experienced a burn on his paws before? What kind of precautions do you take to ensure your dog doesn’t get his paws burned?