Austin's sidewalks are getting deluged with decals, part of a campaign to remind pet owners that walking your dog on hot pavement can burn its paws.
Famed animal group PETA is dropping the decals near dog parks and other busy spots around Austin, to elevate awareness about just how hot cement can get, and how quickly it can injure the sensitive paw portion on dogs' feet during summer walks.
The decals show a dog with a bandaged foot alongside the words "Hot Streets Can Burn Dogs' Feet." The goal is to encourage pet owners to test the temperature of the sidewalk before heading out on a hot day. If it's hot, stick to the grass only, or else walk your dog early in the morning.
It's a message worth spreading, as the sight of an unwitting pet owner walking his or her dog midday is not uncommon. Even if the day is at a relatively moderate (by Texas standards) 87 degrees, the asphalt temperature can hit 140 degrees. That's hot enough to cause burns and permanent damage after just one minute of contact.
"On hot pavement, dogs' paw pads can fry," says PETA president Ingrid Newkirk. "PETA's eye-catching signs remind people to take simple steps when walking their dogs so that every step isn't agony."
Hot sidewalks also reflect heat onto dogs' bodies, increasing their risk of suffering from deadly heatstroke.
PETA recommends that you test the pavement with your hand before setting out. If it burns your hands, it will also burn the tender skin on dogs' paws. Consider walking early in the morning or late at night when it's cooler.
Other tips for hot weather walks: Carry water, take frequent breaks in shady spots, and never make dogs wear muzzles that restrict their breathing.
Here's where you can see PETA's "Hot Streets Can Burn Dogs' Feet" pavement decals:
- Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park, 600 Barton Springs Rd. and 1085 Barton Springs Rd.
- Austin Urban Vet Center, 710 W. Fifth St.
- Bark 'N Purr Pet Center, 4604 Burnet Rd.
- Cedar Door, 198 Brazos St.
- Crú, 251 W. Second St.
- Davis White Northeast District Park, 5909 Crystalbrook Dr.
- Great OutDogs Pet Store, 1210 Barton Springs Rd.
- Montopolis Neighborhood Park, 6143 Larch Ter.
- Mueller Central, 4550 Mueller Blvd.
- Norwood Estate Dog Park, 1009 Edgecliff Ter.
- Peace Point at Town Lake Metropolitan Park, 2200 S. Lakeshore Blvd.
- Prime Pet, 2505 E. Sixth St.
- Red Bud Isle Dog Park, 3401 Redbud Trl.
- Rivers & Reefs Pet Center, 2008 S. First St.
- Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park, 2525 S. Lakeshore Blvd.
- West Austin Dog Park, 1313 Ninth St. and 1317 W. 10th St.
- Yard Bar, 6700 Burnet Rd.
- Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.