What is the 5 second rule? Dog paws and hot asphalt

The 5 Second Rule for Dog Paws

You may have heard of the “5 second rule” when taking a dog out for a walk on a hot day. What is it exactly and how is it conducted?

The “5 second rule” states that if you plan to take your dog for a walk, and you will be walking on asphalt, you should test the temperature of the asphalt first to ensure that you don’t burn your dog’s paws. This test can be conducted by walking to black asphalt and laying the back of your hand down on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for at least 5 seconds, then the asphalt is too hot to walk your dog on.


Dog paws and dog paw pads, even though they are tough specialized type of skin, can suffer from burns just the same way that our hands and feet do. Remember being a kid and having bare feet on hot asphalt? Imagine that, but not being able to escape because you are tied to a leash. Our dogs trust us to keep them safe — as they should — so it’s important to make sure you’re not causing harm to your dog when you wanted to do something fun like take him or her for a walk.

Is it just asphalt?

NO. Consider other surfaces can get very hot too! Cement, sand, gravel, dirt, and even other surfaces like the back of a pickup truck can be hot enough to burn your dog’s paw pads, especially if they have to stand on it for an extended period of time. Walking your dog on grass instead can help, but if the day is hot enough to cause burns from asphalt, it may be too hot to take a walk. Instead, you may want to consider some inside play or treats to help your dog get his or her energy out.