Summer is upon us here in Arizona and summer temperatures, regardless of where you live, can be unmerciful to Corgis and humans alike.

The image above, of my old pal Watson, was made with a FLIR thermocamera, a fairly pricey heat measurement instrument belonging to my now former employer. Measurement of vehicle surface temps was my specialty before I retired. Measurement of Corgi surface temps was merely a side benefit.

So what happens when your Corgi goes out and lays in the hot summer sun? They get hot, of course and although I'm not an expert on doggie temperature I think the laws of physics apply to both man and beast. The Corgi's thick coat will act as an insulator against the heat for a short period of time but soon the fur heats up, the air between the individual fur follicles heats up, and you get a hot dog. Note in the thermocamera image that that the ears, eyes, and paw pads act as big cooling radiators. When a resting dog begins to pant it's a clear sign that it's getting too hot there inside the fur suit.

Walking a dog in the hot sun can overheat it quickly and remember too that the pavement can get very hot and burn a dog's paws. According to Gromit's vet, if you're not sure if the pavement is too hot for your dog, put your hand on it, if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your Corgi buddy.

High heat, even in shaded areas, is very insidious and can creep up on humans very easily and I expect that it can on dogs also, although I think dogs are more tuned into their environment than we are. When it's extremely hot outside neither man nor beast in the direct sun can take in enough water and assimilate it fast enough to really stay ahead of eventual dehydration. Camels are probably an exception to that notion so if you have a camel you can probably ignore this post.

Gromit seems to hate the heat while our thin coated and perpetually cold wiener dog loves it. My old pals W&T would go outside and lay in the 110° sun sometimes but not for very long. I have no idea why they'd do it, but it didn't take long for them to come back inside and normally when they went outside they'd navigate the yard using the shady spots.

Dogs can drink a surprising amount of water so it's good to keep a sharp eye on the water dish when the temps get high. I'm amazed at how much water Gromit drinks. Keep a sharp eye on your own water intake during the summer too!

More tips here on helping your dog get through the summer easily.

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Comment by Gromit, Sparkle, and Doug on August 4, 2015 at 10:56pm

Rachael, it was somewhere around 101°F outside that day.

Comment by Rachael & Waffle on August 4, 2015 at 10:14pm

Do you know approximately what the air temperature was when you took this thermal image?  

Comment by Gromit, Sparkle, and Doug on May 22, 2011 at 4:26pm

Hi Chezza,  Your pup sure doesn't look like a fluff but I don't know Cardis like I know Pembrokes.  With Pembrokes the fluffy shows up pretty early, well before the pup goes to it's new home.

The Corgi's coat not only keeps them warm in the winter but helps keep them cool in the summer by keeping the sun from directly striking their body.  "Insulation" can work both ways.

You may find during the day, say 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, that your buddy gets very lazy and doesn't want to move around much, just lays on a cool spot and sleeps.  They are very adept at finding the coolest spot in the house.  A small fan set up and blowing on low speed is sometimes appreciated.

Be very cautious if you take them somewhere during the day, start the car and let it cool down first before loading them up, they can't rationalize that air conditioning will cool it down and will only know the car is extremely hot and they will balk, even panic.  

I'd say after owning Corgis in Arizona since the late '90s that there is no need to shave one for the summer, only to give them a place to stay fairly cool, have PLENTY of water available, and for their "hooman" be conscious of their furry pal's need to avoid prolonged exposure to our extreme temps out of doors. 

And finally, make up some of Dr. Gromit's Easy Summer Treats.  Most dogs love 'em.



Comment by Chezza on May 22, 2011 at 11:07am
Good information, this will be my first summer with my new baby in the hot Arizona heat myself. I will be torn if I need to shave her down when she gets older but I don't know yet if she is going to be a fluffy pup or not yet. I guess its hard to tell on a pup if she still has her puppy coat. Hmmph,
Comment by Candie K. on June 23, 2010 at 1:45pm
This was very helpful! Thank you!
Lilo and Zelda live for ice cubes. Everytime you go up to the fridge with a cup, they run to the ice machine and wait patiently (sometimes not so patiently) for their treat. They also double as low cal snacks! :)
Comment by Gromit, Sparkle, and Doug on June 8, 2010 at 12:39am
Mary, You sure arrived at the worst time of the year! I did the same thing 30 years ago but I survived and you will too.

Ginger is a real cutie! She will drink when she's thirsty, just make sure there is plenty of water available for her. She will pant out a lot of moisture through her mouth so there's less to filter through her system and out the other end. Giving your dog an ice cube gets them some extra water and a bit of fun too. You can also use a spritz bottle to dampen her fur, especially her head, if she really seems to be too hot. Avoid the sun except as needed and plan walks for early AM or after dark.

It will take her and you a couple of weeks to get your bodies into a good hydration mode again and you all will drink significantly much more water than you did in a cooler clime while maybe visiting the bathroom a little less often. Drink, drink drink! (And water is still the best thing!)

If Ginger really isn't drinking much water soon then you might locate a vet and have her checked over.
Comment by Lawren and Teddy on June 5, 2010 at 10:50pm
Cool picture. It brought back some memories. I used to spend every summer in Phoenix with my aunt and she had a lot of dogs. One dog, a husky/corgi/something else mix Zorro, would go outside in the hottest part of the day, go to this one patch of the grass and roll and roll on his back, his feet kicking in the air. Then he would lay there for a few mintues while my aunt yelled at him to come inside. He would finally get up, walk across the first step of the pool and then do the whole rolling in the grass, laying in the sun thing, walking in the pool over and over again for about an hour. He would come in and I loved to lay next to him, his warm fur on my cheek.
Thanks for bringing back the memories. :)
Comment by Teresa Gilpin on June 5, 2010 at 9:22pm
I really loved the photo! And the information and advice are very timely! I live in Texas where we have terribly hot summers. I really keep a close eye on my furry babies, always keeping lots of fresh water and often crushed ice for them to chew on. And mostly they stay inside during the hottest part of the day.
Comment by Libby and Dyddy!! on June 5, 2010 at 5:04pm
What if your corgi thinks its a camel by constantly finishing the water once the hooman refills the bowl?? LoL. I will comment along with everyone else by saying this is truly see the difference in temperatures just on the corgi alone is amazing. My dogs are wracked out on the cool tile as we speak (tummies directly on the tile, of course).
Comment by Gail and Ashton on June 5, 2010 at 4:20pm
Great post! It's really interesting to see the differences in heat. Thanks for sharing! :)

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