Police in Zurich have launched a campaign to encourage dog owners to protect their pets’ paws from the searing asphalt of high summer.
“When a dog walks on hot asphalt, he can burn his feet – just like a human walking barefoot,” Zurich Police Spokesman Michael Walker told Swiss public radio, SRFexternal link, on Tuesday. An air temperature of 30°C (86°F) can feel like 50-55°C (122-131°F) on the ground, said Walker.
Like much of Europe, Switzerland has seen record temperatures during a prolonged heatwave this July, while rainfall has been sporadic.
So as part of their Hot Dog campaignexternal link, police officers from Zurich’s canine unit are out speaking to dog owners to explain how hot weather – and overheated pavements – can be especially painful for animals.
To check if the ground is too hot, police suggest placing the back of a hand on the asphalt and holding it there for five seconds. If it’s too hot for the hand, then it’s too hot for a paw. Small dogs should then be carried, and larger ones should wear special protective booties, they say.
Such shoes are also worn by police dogs investigating break-ins, where there might be broken glass or other sharp hazards on the ground. At the same time, the shoes protect car seats when a sniffer dog has to inspect a vehicle.
Police are also reminding pet owners about the importance of providing enough drinking water and the dangers of leaving an animal in a vehicle on a hot day.