Not That Kind of Hot Dog

  Photo by  Nicolas Jehly  on  Unsplash .

Photo by Nicolas Jehly on Unsplash.

It's hot outside in Arizona. I mean, it's hot virtually everywhere, to be fair. We're at the very beginning of an extreme heat advisory that lasts from yesterday (Monday) morning all the way through Wednesday night. It's dangerously hot. Keep in mind it's actually hotter today than it was yesterday.

Now, you know about our dogs and how much we love them. (Read: spoil.) Considering the excessive heat warning, I began wondering just how hot the back yard gets during the day. I know the general numbers but what about in our actual back yard where our actual dogs actually walk around, actually?

I wanted to demonstrate what I talked about back in my Thermoception episode of The New Professor: the difference between ambient air temperature and the temperature of the pavement. This is especially important for animals.

Recently having procured an infrared thermometer to use when cooking, it occurred to me I could use it to really illustrate these dangers. These are taken in the same spots throughout the day. You'll see when and how the shade from the house alters the temperature. Please, think about this when you want to take your dogs out.

While it's not a perfect analog, consider these water temperatures and time required for "deep burn."

Below each picture and accompanying temperature is a description of a relative internal cooking temperature for comparison.

Seconds to deep burn

Technically for scalding injuries but the point is taken, I hope.


Ambient air temperature: 100°F (37.7°C):

Patio: 133.8ºF (56.5ºC)

Medium rare steak.

Gravel: 137.8ºF (58.7ºC)

Perfectly cooked trout.


Ambient air temperature: 102°F (38.8°C).

Patio: 141.2ºF (60.6ºC)

Baked lobster.

Gravel: 146.2ºF (60.6ºC)

Grilled lobster.


Ambient air temperature: 104°F (40°C).

Patio: 149.3°F (65.2°C)

Just edging into medium well steak.

Gravel: 155.3°F (68.5°C)

Top end of medium well steak.


Ambient air temperature: 104°F (40°C).

Patio: 148.1°F (64.5°C)

A nice Hollandaise sauce.

Gravel: 150.2°F (65.6°C)

Another nice Hollandaise sauce.


Ambient air temperature: 106°F (41.1°C).

Patio: 143.9°F (62.2°C)

Medium steak.

Gravel: 149.4°F (65.2°C)

Crab cakes.


Ambient air temperature: 104°F (40°C). Sunset at 7:27pm.

Patio: 100.8°F (38.2°C)

Technically, water at this temperature is deemed "tepid."

Wait to walk the pooch.

Your dog, like Sofie here, will thank you for it.

You can see just what a difference the sun makes. Even when the ambient temperature is still 104°F, when the sun has stopped hitting the patio the temperature drops considerably. 

If you do need to talk your pets out, please aim for the shade. Dogs' pads are pretty well protected against the elements but when they're walking on a surface the same temperature as an overcooked steak (there are two temperatures for a steak: medium rare and wrong) there is going to be damage.

The rule of thumb is: if it's too hot for you to walk on it, it's too hot for them.