I really don’t recommend taking your canine family members to an extreme climate like Death Valley. It is very stressful to realize that even a few seconds lack of vigilance could result in severe injury to your best friend. I had hoped not to have Bonnie in the hottest parts of Death Valley, other than driving through, but I did not know what temperatures we would encounter on our California trip, so I prepared as well as I could. It turned out that she was near Badwater, Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, and Panamint Springs for over 24 hours in 100+ F degree heat, with maximum temp of about 126 F. At times the car A/C was on. At others it was not.
In the photo she has been sitting in the car with windows and back open, no A/C, for about 20 minutes. The temperature was about 105 F. It helps that my car is white and has maximum legal window tinting, but the first line of defense when it was really hot was a space tarp clipped to the outside of the car on the sun side. These cheapo, small clips, and one of these ball bungees, secured the tarp at maximum speed of over 40 mph. If you you want to use the clips more than one day, it’s probably best to go for the larger, heavy-duty ones. The cheap ones were falling apart after a few hours in the heat and sun. It was amazing HOW much cooler it was in the car with the tarp in place.
She also had a small Cool Core Bed. She didn’t particularly like it at first, but as the temps rose, she was on it all the time. I kept it in a refrigerator overnight when I could and re-filled it with chilled water a couple times during the hottest day/evening. I think you could also put small ice cubes in it, but that would not work great with the foam core.
The towels are Cool ‘n Dry which I had first seen one of the CDD Frisbee dogs using earlier in the summer. I tried one for a few moments myself to see how much cooler it was. I did not want to give it back. Knowing humans are much more efficient at cooling themselves than dogs, I did. : ) I could tell that she felt noticeably cooler with one or two of these towels over her.
For additional ventilation, a few times I used one of these to keep the tailgate open, but secured. I have used that device much more in Colorado. I also brought along several battery operated fans, inherited from my grandfather, similar to these, but I never used them.
Those are all my canine cooling tips. Bonnie hardly panted the whole time we were in Death Valley, mostly when we were on a moonlight walk in 107 F, so I think we did a pretty good job keeping her cool. Bonnie is a naturally low key dog and I think that made it much easier to keep her cool. She was content to lie on her cooling bed and rest under her cooling towels. It would have been much more difficult to keep a dog like Jessie cool, who would have watched, and mentally taken, every step with the relay runners.