It’s getting hot in here

I went out for a run on Monday and left Brody at home. He was not thrilled, but I saw we had some extreme heat advisories in place for the day and I was worried that even starting at 7:30, it would be too hot. When I began, it was 82 degrees in the parking lot. When I finished two hours later, emerging onto the asphalt even as some ill advised people were just heading out, it was 102. And some of them had dogs with them.

I’m a fan- obviously- of being active with your dog. That is a good thing. That being said, I’m not a fan of pushing them beyond their limits in a situation that is potentially unsafe, particularly when you have an animal like a dog who really, really wants to make you happy and will probably go beyond what they should in order to please you. So when it’s hot, go really early, or really late, or just let them sit out the heat wave and catch them on the other side. It’s ok.

Brody likes to come outside with me when I’m doing things in the yard, and despite having some shady places to retreat to or the option of going inside, he wants to be with me at all times. When he gets hot enough, he goes and jumps in the pool. It works, as long as I’m not planning to go inside right away. I also have two little hot weather tricks that I always pull out during heat waves that the dogs just can’t get enough of.


He's always had a thing for water. From day one.

Cooling bandanas. It’s amazing how good one of these feels on a hot day- the cold material really does a great job helping move heat, particularly when you remember that dogs can’t sweat. Even if you don’t have one of those fancy bead-filled ones, a regular old bandana that’s kept wet with cold water can make a difference.

Icy treats. We use Kongs that I stick in the freezer and fill with broth, but there’s lots of options on the market. Plain old ice cubes do the trick, too. Anything to help keep the water intake up in the heat helps. Baby food works too, or, if you want to get fancy, we’ve covered how to create your own Frosty Paws at home. Remember these?

What are your favorite tips or tools for keeping your pet cool in the summer heat?

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Fit Life, Health Tagged: , ,
  • Deborah Mendez

    Brody’s tongue is going to get sunburn — sticking out like that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue W.

    Great advice! I will be sharing.

  • Sue W.

    Wait. What? Two hour run??? Holy smoke! And it was 102 when you finished. Whoa.

  • I admit, when it’s hot like this (100’s for weeks on end), we hibernate. I cannot stand the heat, and with my 110 lb black baby I hesitate to let him outside for any length of time. We do frozen kongs and Frosty Paws, which they love. Ultimately, though, air conditioning is the best bet.

  • Tamara

    I have met people who took their dogs ‘for a run’ or a hike in extreme weather who lost their dogs to heatstroke. I’m glad you let Brody stay home on this one. It’s important for dog people to remember that a dog’s reaction to the heat may not be like theirs. Good reminder! Thanks, Dr. V.

  • Walking in the creek is a good option for us. I find that if you can keep your feet cool, everything else feels better.

    The slow walk in the water stimulates Honey because there are different smells that we wouldn’t experience on our regular walk through town. And, it takes concentration to walk over the slippery rocks. And that’s good exercise too.

  • Jasouza9

    I put chicken broth with broken dog biscuits in a paper cup in the freezer for a cool treat.
    And yes, think about any outdoor activities in the summer and be prepared. I was not and took my dog on a hike/camp on a hot summer afternoon and he ended up with burned and peeling paw pads and I was in tears. I still feel guilty about that one. Sorry Gilbert!