KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As a heat advisory continues for much of the Valley and Southern Valley, pet owners are urged to remember their furry friends.
WATE conducted a small science experiment to show just how hot roads and sidewalks can get, even when the temperatures aren’t record-breaking.
“The way we experience heat is not the same as pets,” Chastedy Johnson with Young-Williams Animal Center explained. “Even at 70 to 80 degrees, it can be a lot hotter for pets, especially with their fur. “
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, when temperatures are high, animals’ bodies can heat up quickly—especially because they’re closer to the ground. In addition, their paw pads can burn. That’s why it’s important to keep walks to a minimum.
It’s also important to recognize when your pet is overheating.
“Have excessive panting or they’re just not wanting to walk on the pavement, it’s probably a good indication that they need to go inside to cool off,” Johnson explained.
Based on Chief Meteorologist Ken Weathers’ heat gun, at two o’clock Wednesday afternoon, WATE’s driveway was 124 degrees, which was hot enough to melt a cold stick of butter, a frozen ice cream, a bar of chocolate, and hot enough to burn sensitive paw pads.
“Check the pavement before you go outside,” Johnson told WATE. “A simple way to do this is to take your bare hand and your bare foot, place it on the pavement and if it’s way too hot for you, its surely going to be hot for your pets.”
So what’s the best way to enjoy the days of summer with your pet?
“Make sure you have access to water at all times and also avoid the hottest parts of the day,” Johnson explained. “Try to do your walks earlier in the morning or later in the evening just to make sure the pavement is a little bit cooler for your pets.”
Pet owners also need to be aware of humidity levels. According to the Humane Society of the United States, if the humidity is too high, pets can’t cool themselves, which means their temperature can skyrocket. So even if temps aren’t that high, be aware of the humidity levels.
Also, never leave your dog inside a car, even with the windows down. Pet experts say leaving pets in a car for a few minutes could be deadly.