The Five Second Rule
One hot day while I was working in my store at the College of the Desert Street Fair, I noticed a young man with his Pit Bull chatting with another customer in the sun. He gave the dog the “Sit” command and the dog obeyed but bounced back up again. He told her again to “Sit” and she did but bounced up again. Between commands, she was hopping from paw to paw and trying to pull him into the shade. He repeatedly reprimanded her for not obeying. The man wanted the dog to sit still while he talked but wasn’t paying attention to the fact that the pavement was so hot it was hurting the dog’s paws and butt when she obeyed him.
Even on mildly warm days, the black pavement can get too hot for a dog to walk on it without protection. Tests show that at 77 degrees, pavement reaches a temperature of 125 degrees. At 87 degrees it goes up to 143 degrees. So here in the Palm Springs Desert, where temperatures can go over 100 degrees, there is no way a dog can walk on the pavement with bare paws.
So, when the guy walked past with his dog I raised the subject and explained The Five Second Rule to him. He was a sweet guy and it warmed my heart to see him pick up his big, heavy dog and carry her back to his car.
The Five Second Rule: Put your bare foot or the palm of your hand on the pavement and while holding it there, count to five. If you can leave it there for the full five seconds, the pavement is fine for your dog to walk on. If you can’t hold it there for five seconds, then its too hot for your dog to walk on the pavement without some kind of protection.
How do you protect your dogs’ paws?
- Walk them early in the morning and in the evening after testing the pavement with The Five Second Rule
- Take them to the park and walk them on the grass.
- Protect their pads with Socks which are easy for them to get used to since they can feel the texture of the ground through the socks but not insulated enough for long walks on hot days.
- Protect their pads with shoes, like theses sandals below, which take more training but give them much better protection.
Not sure how to get your dog to wear socks or shoes? Read my earlier blog post, “You want me to wear what?” for tips on training your dog to wear shoes.
Thanks for reading and lets keep our dogs safe this summer.