Winter Garden commissioner reminds residents importance of pet care, safety

District 2 Commissioner Ron Mueller talks about the importance of protecting pets paws from heat and burns.

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Winter Garden commissioner for District 2 Ron Mueller is reminding residents of the importance of pet care and safety. 

Mueller said it has been brought to his attention that some pet owners may be ignorant of how hot the pavement can become while walking their pets, especially after an unusually hot weekend. 

"I witnessed a situation on Sunday where a couple was walking their dog into Lowe's and he (the pet) was obviously in discomfort as they crossed the long parking lot," he said. "I firmly believe that education is the best forum to avoid such situations."

According to Dr. James Berens, whose work on thermal contact burns was published in 1970 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, asphalt surfaces can reach 125 degrees when the air temperature is only 77 degrees, in the absence of any wind and in direct sunlight.

In addition, at 86 degrees, the asphalt temperature jumps to 135 degrees and at 87 degrees, only one degree more, the asphalt temperature rises to 143 degrees.

Pet owners can press the back of their hand against pavement and hold it there for a full seven seconds to determine if it’s too hot for a pets paws.

Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, head of the Washington State University veterinary teaching hospital’s Community Practice Service, offered guidance for pet owners. 

Farnsworth said pets should never be tethered on hot pavement or in the back of a pickup truck where the metal surface can burn. If it’s not convenient to walk a pet on grass or soil, owners may consider changing their walking time to early morning or late in the evening. 

In addition, she suggests pets with suspected burns should always be seen by a family veterinarian as soon as possible. 

"The truth is that most people are busy, want to take their pets with them because they are like family, and don't think about the pavement," Mueller said. "Education can go such a long way and everyone benefits, especially our four-legged friends."



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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