Hot Paws!

Did you know that with an outside temperature of 72 degrees, a car’s internal temperature will rocket to 116 degrees in only an hour? It’s true!

A few weeks ago, I explained why you shouldn’t leave your dog in the car while you run a few quick errands, especially during the summer heat—but I believe this and other heat-related dangers are worth mentioning again.

When people leave their dogs in the car, it can lead to tragic results. Most people don’t realize how quickly the temperature can rise inside a car. On a 90-degree day, in less than 10 minutes the interior temperature of your car can reach more than 160 degrees. At that heat, it only takes 15 minutes for your dog to sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke, because dogs can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws and nose—and they can’t cool down fast enough when they’re in an oven-like atmosphere.

Even in the shade, cars act like large ovens. Surprisingly, cracking your windows doesn’t do much to slow the oven effect. The hotter it is outside (shade or not), the more quickly a car’s internal temperatures can become devastating for a dog. If you find a dog in a car and you can’t locate the owner, please call 911 before you try to break the car window yourself.

When you call us, our dispatchers will tell you how quickly someone can respond. While you wait, it’s always a good idea to let businesses near the parked car know about the dog in danger with a description of the car; people will often make a public announcement to help find the owner of a pet in distress.  

Another danger to our furry friends, especially during the summer heat, is hot pavement.

Did you know that on a 77-degree day, the temperature of asphalt can reach 125 degrees? At 86 degrees, the temperature of asphalt can reach 135 degrees.

When the asphalt reaches 125 degrees, it only takes 60 seconds for skin destruction to begin (for humans and our furry friends). Think about how much it hurts to run barefoot on hot pavement or asphalt. Well, dogs’ paws burn too! Please remember that pavement surfaces absorb heat and we need to protect our pets.

Here are some tips to help you protect your pet's paws in the summer heat.

  • Check the pavement for heat before taking your dog on a walk. Place your hand or a bare foot on the surface for 10 seconds. If it is too hot for you to keep your hand or foot on it, then it is too hot for your pet.
  • Stay on grassy surfaces and avoid bare ground when outside in the summer heat.
  • Avoid the hottest parts of the day. Walk early in the morning or late in the evening after the pavement has cooled down.
  • Invest in a pair of dog booties to prevent the heat from burning your dog’s paws.

Keep in mind that your dog’s paws may be more susceptible to hot materials after swimming. If you see any signs in your dog such as limping, not wanting to walk, a red or pink color change in the paw pads, licking or chewing the feet, missing pieces of the pads or blisters, please take your dog to see the veterinarian.

Here at the Ukiah Police Department (UPD), we are passionate about animal safety and the penal code is clear: anyone who "tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, or cruelly kills any animal" can be charged with a felony.

Please remember to safeguard your pets from the dangers of summer heat, and call us if you witness animal cruelty; we want to do all we can to protect our furry friends.

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: 


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