Get Ready for the Dog Days of Summer

Boyd is secured in the back seat of a vehicle, and while he may be panting to keep cool, he also appears pretty happy!

Joy Wegner

You likely already know that in the southern Arizona summer heat, it is important to protect your canine companion from getting too warm. You want to avoid leaving them waiting in your car, and you want to walk or exercise with them in the cool early morning or evening hours.

Here’s some additional tips to help your pup stay cool in the hot days of summer:

Freeze dog treats. You can freeze chicken broth, peanut butter, or put a favorite dog treat into water in an ice cube tray and freeze the treat in the middle of an ice cube.

Set up a doggie pool. Use an inflatable kiddie pool and fill with cool water from your hose. You may prefer to use a small kiddie pool made from hard plastic—it’s a bit more durable for your dog’s toenails. Just be sure to empty the pool and wipe it down every few days to prevent mildew and algae growth.

Dress your dog up with a bandana—but first, soak it in cool water and wring it out. Tied around the pup’s neck, it will help cool even a dog with thick shaggy fur. This is a great addition to your daily walk!

Realize that dogs do not sweat through their skin as humans do. Dogs sweat through their paw pads, and release body heat by panting. What you think is a happy smile on your dog’s face may be their way of cooling down as well.

Our snowbirds will be heading north and east in the coming weeks. If you are joining them, and you plan to travel with your pet, remember to secure your dog or cat in your vehicle, for their safety as well as yours. Carry plenty of water for the animal, and plan ahead for stops and stays appropriate for your pets. A quick stop at a rest area can include hot asphalt, so be aware of the surface as you walk your pet. Tweezers and a comb are helpful items to have handy for sharp seed pods or burrs among the grasses.

In the console or glove compartment of your vehicle should be a card or paper with emergency contact numbers, the name of your pet, and their photo. In case of an accident, this information will assist emergency personnel with handling your pet, or finding them, and getting them to safety.

Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelter and Rescues supports the health and well-being of dogs and cats cared for at the Pinal County Animal shelter (PCACC). Visit the website at to find more details about their work for pets seeking forever homes in our county.