Dogs in cars

Deb D’Andrea, Nederland.   With hotter days upon us, it’s essential to keep your canine friend cool and safe when you’re hiking, camping, going for a car ride, hanging out with friends in or outside; or heading to an event. Sadly, it even might mean leaving Fido home if they’ll just be sitting in your vehicle. Heat stroke can strike quickly, can lead to multiple organ dysfunctions and is commonly associated with temperatures of 106 degrees and higher, a temperature the interior of a car can reach in no time even with windows open. If it’s going to be 80 degrees or greater, I really consider whether taking my Girls or leaving them home would be best for them.

Panting is a dog’s primary way to cool down. Dogs do have sweat glands on their foot pads, but sweating is an inefficient way for a dog to cool off. As with us, proper hydration is essential to staying cool and healthy. For your dog, a clean bowl full of water in the shade allows them the opportunity to drink while in the shade. This keeps them, the bowl and their water cool. Carry extra water and a drinking container so they can easily drink while you’re out. I have a small collapsible bowl and use a carabineer to hang both the bowl and water container off my belt or backpack. I always give my Girls room temperature water, and while they enjoy ice; avoid giving them ice water as it can cause stomach issues and the cold can shock their system.

If you and your dog are used to going for walks, head out when the sun is less intense and feel the ground surface you’re walking on to be sure it’s cool enough for paws. I am typically in flip flops and will give the pavement a foot test before letting my Girls out of the car. If it’s too hot for my foot, we’ll head elsewhere or directly onto cooler grass avoiding any potential for blistered and burned paws.

Car rides are limited to going somewhere they can be outside with me and be cool. During summer, temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to unhealthy levels within minutes, even with car windows open. I have cooling mats for my Girls that I place under their bedding to help keep them and the car cool. While this is helpful, I still leave them home when it’s an errand day. Yes, they give me sad faces as I walk out the door, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, and I always return with a treat.


If you absolutely have to take your dog with you, ensure you’ll have a cool place where they can hang outside the hot car. If your dog is a barker when left in the car, it’s not smart to leave them, as not only will they bark themselves into exhaustion; but local businesses will not appreciate having a car bound dog barking next to their establishment. If they are going to stay home, I open the windows so the house stays nice and cool, providing plenty of ventilation and fresh air. If you confine your pet to a room in your absence, be sure they have access to plenty of water, and the area they are confined to is cool and comfortable for them. I always leave soothing music on too; classical has been found to be the most soothing for our canine friends.

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order.  For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email:

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea a columnist for The Mountain-Ear. She is the founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz which provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email. Online: 4TheLuvOfDogz