It's about 110 in the shade today - warm, even for August in New England. I can't resist reminding people to keep their dogs cool! Dogs have no way to cool down except if you wet their coats to the skin, because their only heat valves are panting and sweat glands in their feet.
Speaking of feet, I see so many people walking their dogs on asphalt in the middle of the day. Please don't do that!!! Sometimes dogs won't even tell their owners when their feet are burning - in fact we get cases of burnt pads in day care on a regular basis. The dog will start to limp slightly while playing and it's because his pads are sore. So find grass, dirt, even concrete to walk your dog, but not asphalt. As a test, put your palm flat against the roadway or sidewalk. If it's uncomfortable on your skin, you can bet it's hurting your dog. In addition, when dogs' pads are very hot, the sweat that is excreted doesn't do any good in terms of cooling them, because it dries instantly.
Dogs with long, dark coats just shouldn't be in the sun when it's over 75 degrees fahrenheit and humid. They can get heatstroke very quickly. So find shady walks, or a place where your dog can run into water or get hosed down frequently.
My Sheltie, Daphne, has an extremely thick coat. I don't shave her in the summer, because it's good insulation if she does walk through sunny areas, and besides it would be quite unattractive when it grew back. Coats that are meant to be long grow back thicker, usually dryer, and with less color. The result is a faded, unhealthy look. People who insist upon having their Goldens shaved in our grooming shop often complain about the quality of the coat come November. No amount of education seems to dissuade some owners - usually they are upset with us because the coat doesn't look great when it grows back!
Anyway, what I do with Daphne is shave her belly. It's called a "shell". You can't see that her skin is showing under there because of her long coat and it allows for excelerated cooling when she lies on a cool surface. At The Doggie Den we always recommend this in the summer for long-coated dogs. When Daphne and I are near a pool or other body of water, I dip her gently so her belly and bum get wet, and she loves it (though she positively hates water and will not go in by herself no matter what the temperature - it's a breed thing). She always trots around happily after her "dip".
Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage
www.nadda.com (for dog day care owners)