December 28, 2022

How to tell if the ground is too hot for walking

How to tell if the ground is too hot for walking
Dr. Chris Brown


The love of a walk can make them willing to ignore the scorchingly hot concrete pavement. So how can you tell if those precious feet are in danger?

Here's the quick test you'll find super handy...quite literally.

Those feet might smell like corn chips and look like coffee beans but they’re also a remarkable piece of engineering.


Yet that thick layer of fat that provides the all-important cushioning to each toe pad also has a draw-back. It can delay how quickly they sense sudden increases in temperature.

So on hot summer days, it’s quite easy for them to burn their toe pads on hot concrete, sand and bitumen. Especially when they don’t have the luxury (and safety) of thongs (ok…flip-flops) like we do.

So how can you tell if it’s too hot? Well, that’s where a very different kind of 7 second rule comes into play…

The 7 second rule

Before you head out for a walk, test the foot-path outside by placing the back of your hand (your palm also has some fat for cushioning) on the concrete. If you can’t leave it there for 7 seconds without removing it, it’s too hot to walk.

Obviously, walking on grass, walking earlier (or later) in the day and even trying booties for service animals that have to get out and about are a big help.

Hot feet warning signs

Once that signal finally sinks in that they have hot feet, it can be too late and the surface layer of their foot pads can be burnt. So look out for these signs:

  • Desperation to walk in the shade and stay there
  • Endless licking of their foot pads
  • Limping or lack of interest in walking in the hours after a walk


Follow that 7 second rule though and it should be a summer of all the sniffing and playing excitement they’ve spent the year dreaming of! 

Calm + Collected
Calm + Collected

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