21 November 2023

RSPCA WA is teaming up with the WA Local Government Authority to help protect dogs this summer.

The animal welfare charity said one of the most common heat-related welfare reports every year was people walking their dogs on hot roads, footpaths, and beach sand.

RSPCA WA CEO Ben Cave said they were looking for a way to keep the issue top of mind.

‘The fact that walking your dog on a hot day can cause pain, discomfort and even burns just never occurs to some people,’ he said.

‘Whenever the hot weather hits, we get people commenting on our social media channels and calling our Cruelty Hotline concerned about dogs being walked when it’s not safe to do.

‘That’s why we decided to create these resources and offer them to LGAs free of charge so they can display them in popular dog walking areas.’

With a slogan of ‘Protect your hound, check the ground!’, the awareness campaign encourages people to check the temperature of the road, footpath, or beach sand before setting off on a walk.

If you can’t hold your hand on the ground comfortably for a full five seconds, it’s too hot for a dog’s sensitive paws and may cause injury.

According to a University of California study, when the air temperature above the asphalt is 25 degrees, the actual road surface is as hot as 40 degrees.

‘Dog paws are made of skin and can be just as sensitive as the bottom of our own feet,’ Mr Cave said.

‘Every West Australian knows that dreaded run from the beach car park to the water on a 40-degree day when you’ve forgotten your thongs – the hot sand really hurts.’ 

WA Local Government Association President Karen Chappel said, ‘Dogs are an important part of family and community life and as our Councils look after local roads and footpaths we are very supportive of the RSPCA’s Protect Your Hound campaign this summer.’

The awareness campaign includes social media tiles, posters, outdoor signs, and decals to go on footpaths, all of which can be co-branded with the relevant LGA’s logo.

‘We very much appreciate WALGA’s support in helping get this campaign to all the LGAs in WA,’ Mr Cave said.

‘I hope many will come on board in helping us promote this simple yet important welfare message.’