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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Maria

Keeping paws safe when Philly heats up!

Is June the new August in Philly? Last week it got QUITE steamy in Philadelphia and it had us thinking about hot paws. When humans go for walks in the heat we often think about heat stress on our body, but dogs have another point of contact - their paws on hot sidewalks / pavement. Even on what most of us would consider “perfect” summer temperatures of 77, the pavement can get up to 120 degrees! Imagine walking around barefoot in those conditions. Obviously, we love dog walking and we think it’s a great way for dogs to get mental stimulation and physical exercise. Slightly altering walks during the most intense heat of the Summer can keep your Philly pup safe. Here are some tips.


How to Protect Paws:

Stick to the shade: 

This seems like a no-brainer on really hot days, but it can really make a huge difference. When possible, walk on the shady side of the street and seek out shady routes when walking in the midday hours. This is hardest to do when the sun is directly overhead, so plan accordingly! Not only will your dermatologist be happy about you staying out of the sun, your dog’s paws will too.

A dog walks in the shade in South Philadelphia past a mural
There is still plenty to see in the shade in Philadelphia! (Like this mural by Colleen Hammond!)
Avoid black-top:

Black surfaces absorb heat and the difference between a tan sidewalk and a black road surface or parking lot can be quite serious. Take note of the color of the surfaces you are walking on. 


Keep it short and sweet:

When the heat soars in Philly, we institute hot weather protocols for our clients. We keep dogs out for short periods during the intense part of the heat and come back inside for hallway fetch or games of tug in the AC. Thankfully in Philly, heatwaves are not the norm (at least for now.) Walks are loads of fun, but some days, it’s safest to keep them short and snappy! There is a time and a place for long treks. When it's 97 degrees in Philly with all of the brick and cement radiating heat, it's best to take precautions.


Hydration:

Water is life! It really makes a huge difference on all levels, for both us and our dogs. If you’re heading out for more than a 20 or 30 minute walk in the intense midday heat, pack some water for yourself and your pup. As the saying goes, once you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. For this reason, most pups should have access to water frequently. They’ll drink when they need to and most mature dogs are perfectly capable of self-regulating intake. 

A small dog strolls in the grass at Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia
Minder Julie and Leo headed to the Rittenhouse Square during a heatwave in June
Find Grass:

William Penn was onto something when he planned Philly as “Greene Countrie Towne.” When you can, head to one of our many parks to get those paws on the green stuff. Parks will be considerably cooler for both you and your dog. Grass, parks and street trees significantly help with the “heat island effect” that we experience in Philly. Speaking of which, do you know how to get a free street tree? Help cool our city with a street tree!


Paw Balms:

You can actually buy paw wax/balm to make sure your dog’s paws are moisturized and less likely to crack under stress. (This goes for the Winter months too!) Some are messier than others, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. (All beauty comes at a cost!) But if you find your dogs are struggling with cracked paws, it might be worth checking out.


At The Monster Minders, we are all-weather walkers. You can find us out there every week of the year. And most of the time, it’s perfectly safe for us and our canine friends. But during the Summer months, just a bit of precaution can go a long way to keeping your dog’s paws free from burns and discomfort.




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