City Cast

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Boise Heat

Natalia Aldana
Natalia Aldana
Posted on July 30   |   Updated on August 16
A dog lying on the ground, only visible from the snout down, with its tongue out.

While your dog wants to enjoy the summer, here's how to reduce their risk of heat-related problems. (Getty)

This article was written by City Cast Newsletter Editor Natalia Aldana.

Our summers are getting warmer in Boise, and our doggos aren’t slowing down anytime soon. As the mom of an energetic hound, I know how challenging the stifling summer heat can be for my girl who really just wants to have fun (queue Cyndi Lauper, please). But rising temperatures and smoky air make it difficult for our furry family members to be safe and happy in the summer heat.

So since controlling the weather or healing Mother Nature tomorrow aren’t viable options, what’s a pup parent to do? Here are some tips and tricks for navigating the Boise summatime with your best pal.

🤓 Plan Ahead

The day or night before your next walk, check the weather for what period will be hottest and plan your dog’s walks for before and after. Keep a chart or guide handy to help you assess how hot is too hot for your dog. On these hot days, limit exercise and walk in areas with plenty of shade. And, how long is too long to keep them outdoors? Different breeds have different capacities.

🥵 The Sidewalk Spot Check

Cement and hot asphalt can be painful and discomforting for their paws. If you have to go out, do a quick spot check by placing your hand on the cement. This also applies to any other surface they’re on, from dirt to sand. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for theirs. Try to get them to shaded paths. You can also apply a protective balm or doggie shoes if you’re particularly concerned.

🙅 Never, Ever, Leave Your Dog in the Car

Temperatures in a car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, and your pet can quickly suffer a range of issues from brain damage to suffocation. Studies have shown that cracking a window doesn’t keep dogs safe.

In Boise, the animal code was rewritten with clearer definitions of animal cruelty in 2021. Led by former city councilmember TJ Thomson, the ordinance includes a “good Samaritan” clause. The clause allows bystanders to break a car window to rescue an overheating animal without the risk of liability if they first call 911 and check if the car is unlocked.

🐕 Bring Supplies and Resources

Most breeds are built to conserve heat rather than dissipate. Heat strokes are a common problem for pets in warm weather, especially for brachycephalic dogs (those with short noses and snouts), dogs that are overweight, have thick coats, or have respiratory problems.

One of the best ways to avoid this is to always have fresh water on hand. Bring a water bottle with you, ideally one that insulates and keeps water chilled. Some other great supplies to have on hand include battery-operated fans, spray bottles, frozen chew toys, cooling vests or wet towels, dog-safe sunscreen, and unflavored pediatric electrolyte solution or coconut water. You can also prepare frozen treats at home.

🏡 Exercise Your Pup Indoors

Get creative to help your pup play in the safety of an AC room. Play their favorite game inside, practice new tricks or commands, schedule a playdate with another pup, and even consider a stroll through your local pet store (the City Cast Boise crew recommends Bark n’ Purr on Vista).

🩺 Check for Signs of a Heatstroke

Even with your best efforts, dogs can still become dehydrated which can lead to heatstroke. Some of the common symptoms include panting, dry nose and gums, thick saliva, lethargy, and sunken eyes. Here’s a great explainer of how to treat heatstroke.

⛑️ Prepare for Power Outages

If a summer storm or wildfire could take out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe.

Hey Boise

Want to know what's happening in Boise? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Boise. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

The latest in Boise