As my sister, Sharon, would say, “Would you walk barefoot on that pavement?” She ran into a Great Dane being walked on a pier made of sizzling concrete. My sister touched the pavement and realized how hot it was. She mentioned it to the dog’s person, who touched the pavement, shrieked, and ran with the Dane off of the pier. Because we are usually wearing shoes, we can be unaware of how hot surfaces are effecting our dog’s feet. Sand at the beach, sidewalks, asphalt parking lots, and wooden decks are just some of the examples of hot surfaces that we ask our dogs to walk on. Please be aware of how hot the surfaces are for your dog during the summer. My assistant, Emmie, has noticed people coming off of the hiking trail and continuing their conversation in the hot parking lot with their dogs still on leash. When you finish that great hike with your friends and your dogs, wrap up that conversation on the shady trail rather than in the parking lot. And if you see someone who isn’t aware, gently suggest that they touch the pavement.
We all know not to leave our dogs in hot cars during the summer. But some of us may not be aware that leaving a dog in a running car with the air conditioner going can result in a tragedy. There have been recent accounts of K-9 police officers who did just this. Their cars overheated. And in order cool the engine, the car automatically converted the air conditioning to heat and the dogs died of heat stroke. Shade doesn’t provide as much relief as you might think. On a day that reaches over 90 degrees, it is still too hot to leave your dog outside while you are at work, even if he can find shade.