The paved street surfaces in Shady Acres are too hot to touch here, as early as noon–and it’s only May! What does my dog feel when walking with me on the hot pavement?
Not So Shady in Shady Acres
Dear Not So Shady,
I applaud your efforts to continue exercising your dog, even in hot weather. It’s tempting to get lax on dog walks when the weather is less than ideal, but by walking your dog daily, you’re giving him a great form or exercise for both his mind and his body.
The Humane Society of the United States reminds us that asphalt can get very hot and can burn our pet’s paws. They recommend that we walk our pets on the grass if the pavement is too hot. But, how do you know when the pavement is too hot?
The “5 Second” Rule
A quick and easy way to gauge the temperature of the pavement is to place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t keep it there for five seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet. So, find a shady, grassy path for dog walking when at all possible.
Coping With The Heat
Aside from the dangers of hot pavement, the heat (in general) is dangerous to all pets. Here are a few ways to keep your pets cool and happy as the heat of summer bears down on us:
• Dogs can only sweat through their mouth, feet, and ears which means they can’t dissipate heat like you. If your dog gets overheated, get him wet to speed the cooling process.
• If your dog looks hot, react by decreasing their activity and get them to a cooler spot.
• If your dog begins to lag behind on a dog walk, this is a good indicator that he’s overheated. This should also be your cue to seek some shade, water and take it easy.
• Don’t forget about your cat: Cats can get overheated as well and demonstrate this by panting. Make sure that your cat has ample cool and shady places to hang out in the heat.
• Hopefully it goes without saying that pets should never be left in a car for any length of time. Dogs and cats can overheat in minutes in a warm car.
To keep a regular habit of walking your dog, try to get outside as early in the morning as possible before the heat of the day grabs hold of us. The streets will be at their hottest in late afternoon after they’ve soaked up a full day’s worth of sun and heat. With some care and forethought, you can make sure to keep up with your dog’s daily walks, even in the heat.
Mark Your Calendar
Friends For Life Animal Shelter is celebrating their 16th birthday on June 16. Rumor has it there will be food, drinks and even cake! Make plans to attend and support this incredible shelter that makes a real difference in the lives of homeless pets all over Houston. To learn more, go to www.friends4life.org
Have a question for Tabby? Email her at email@example.com.
Pet of the Week
Meet Mike. A citizen dropped Mike off at BARC, reporting that he’d been kicked in the face repeatedly. Poor Mike suffered from a severely fractured jaw, a damaged eye and was bone-thin and full of bug bites. Throughout all of this, Mike, the consummate Siamese, purred and head-butted everyone he could. Thankfully, Mike found his way into a foster home where his jaw has been repaired and he’s made a complete recovery. Now all that’s missing is a loving family–yours, perhaps? To learn more, go to www.animaljusticeleague.org.