Flagstaff is totally for the dogs

dog amid the flagstaff sunflowers
Gosh it’s been hot in Phoenix this week – makes you want to take the dog and head for the hills of Flagstaff. Right?

Flagstaff may well be Arizona’s most dog-friendly town. It’s a super casual place with dog-friendly restaurants, bars and outdoor spots. And it has its own dog-food plant right in the middle of town.

On the east side of Flagstaff, Purina manufactures more than 1,000 tons of dog and cat food every day – I always wonder about dogs who come into Flagstaff for the first time. Can they smell what Purina has cookin’ in there? But there’s no word if Purina gives out samples.

dog in flagstaff bar
Flagstaff = Wagstaff

Throughout Flagstaff, I’ve seen dogs in everything from bookstores to bars. One bartender explained to me that dogs are allowed as long food isn’t being served. “What we have for food, isn’t really food, per se,’’ he told me, pretty matter of factly.

Because it is such a casual town, Flagstaff offers a lot of burger-and-brew places and provide outdoor seating. Even in indoor establishments, dogs are honored. Biff’s Bagels has a homage to dogs on with dozens of canine candid photos hanging on their walls.

Even the town’s visitor center is pup friendly. If you swing by there, show them proof that you are staying in town, your dog gets a special treat.

And there are all kind of hiking trails and paths to meander through, either in the forest or just in town.

dog ready to hike in flagtaff

Just be careful

Ok, now the dog-motherly advice comes out. A couple things to think about when traveling to Flagstaff with your little pupper-roo.

There’s altitude. It affects you; it affects the dog. Your dog may not her perky self because the air is thinner and it is harder for her to breathe. You two will be outside more and with all of the sunshine and dry air, you can get dehydrated. Vets say they see it all the time. So just take it easy – this is supposed to be leisure time for you both!

Also, there are some different kinds up North, including giardia, an intestinal parasite. Ticks are plentiful as well so just make sure you’ve got her prepped for fleas and ticks.

And last thing, gas up and stock up on water for the trip back to Phoenix – you never know when there is going to be a traffic snarl on freeway.

Now, go have a great time!


What’s New with the Dog Days of Summer Challenge

how dogs keep cool in Phoenix summer
So, we are on Day 15 of our Dog Days of Summer Challenge, and I got to say that you guys haven’t disappointed one bit. You’ve made such creative ways to keep your dogs cool in this heat. Be proud of yourselves!

From “redneck” AC units to dogs on slides to dogs kayaking, you all have certainly come up with great, thoughtful ideas on how your dog can deal with Phoenix summers.

Keepin’ cool in Phoenix heat

We all know that dogs are vulnerable to the heat and I’m sure, like me, you get upset when you see a dog being walked during the hottest part of the day or people doing other thoughtless things with their dog when it is so damned hot outside.

That’s why it was just so wonderful to see all your photos and suggestions. Even when it was freakin’ 118 out there, all of you kept a cool head and thought of the dog first. Way to go!

Summer contest update

There’s still 15 days to go for the contest. Remember you can enter seven times. So as you think of things, just post them on Facebook for everyone to see. Here are the other official rules and ways you can win up to $120. Stay cool everyone!


Five Ways for Photo Fun with the Dog

Here’s a great indoor activity to do with the dog when it is so hot outside: photo shoot! And with a lot of great new apps, you don’t have to bother the dog with a lot of different attempts at being creative. She can resume her position guarding her spot on the sofa and you can create some different looks just by fiddling a little bit with the phone.

If you want some great tips on how to photograph your dog

So cuddle up with the dog, break out your phone and have some chill time as you two avoid the heat and turn her into a little star:


There’s an app – of course, there is – for sounds that will get your dog’s attention so that she looks at the camera. I tried Barkcam and it worked fine but frankly, I can get her attention pretty well as it as and I am a little worried about having the high-pitched sound going off and annoying the crap out of her if I mistakenly use the app.


Again a nifty little way to get your dog’s attention as you try to take a photo of her. Woofie is a pet-treat dispenser that clips onto your phone/camera.

My Talking Pet

My Talking Pet costs $4.99 for my Iphone and I think it is totally worth it to make the dog talk. You can have the dog sound husky-like, ala Barry White or you can have her sound high-pitched like Mickey Mouse. Or add sunglasses, sombrero or text to the video. So much fun!

Christmas in July

It’s not too early to start thinking about the holidays. Either the cards you want to send out or the personalized gifts that you would like to give this season. Set up that photo studio and get this task done! Looking for inspiration?

Stamps or shoesfun with dog photos

And what to put on those cards that you send out five months from now? Dog stamps! Put her photo out there so that everyone from the mail carrier to Aunt Sue sees her lovely mug. Don’t use stamps anymore? How about shoes? You can make flip flops with your dog’s photo.





HDP’s 30 Dog Days Summer Challenge

keep your dog cool this Phoenix summer

Right now we are in beginning stages of Happy Dog Phoenix’s 30 Dog Days Summer Challenge, in which HDP posts for 30 consecutive days tips, recommendations, solutions of what to do with the dog in the Phoenix summertime.

It seems about the right time of summer to make this challenge. The initial excitement of bathing suits, swimming pools and BBQs has evaporated. The monsoons look like they may be taking a break and that leaves only, hot, hot days until say, October.

October seems very far away and that leaves us with the rest of July, a possibly brutal August and a so-so September — so let’s play a game, shall we?

The rules/rewards

We are posting a tip, recommendation, suggestion every day on our Facebook page and our new(ish) Instagram page for 30 days. Go ahead and post your own suggestion (and we love seeing your dog’s photo!). Each person is allowed seven suggestions. With each suggestion that you make, your name is entered into a drawing for a prize. If that suggestion has already been made, your name is not entered. Don’t despair – just come up with another suggestion.

We are going to be pretty generous about possible duplications – so just keep entering and know that you will have at the most seven chances.

What do I win?

A $100 gift card to a pet-supply place. It can be a gift card to a chain like Target or PetSmart, etc.

win $120 by telling us how keep a dog happy in phoenix summer

Or Behind Door #2, if you choose an independent pet-supply store like Noble Beast or Bonnie’s Barkery or The Stock Shop, we will make it for $120.


Aug. 15 and we promise to get results to you as soon as possible, as long as the household AC holds up.

Happy Summer everyone!

Flagstaff road trip!

Attention: residents of Phoenix. It is hot, still hot. You’ve still got time this Labor Day weekend to head up to Flagstaff, which may be Arizona’s most dog-friendly town.

In fact, it may be easier to list the places that aren’t dog friendly in Flagstaff than those that area — especially in downtown, historic Flag, where there dogs in all the best places.
dog friendly flagstaff

Shopping in Flagstaff with your dog

You know how sometimes stores say they are dog friendly but you get a way-different vibe once you and poochie get inside? In Flagstaff, they offer genuine hospitality for dogs. There’s water bowls, dog treats and even resident dogs in the stores. Check out the art galleries along San Francisco street for a lot of love for dogs as well as dog-related art.

biffs bagels flagstaff

Dining with the dog

For breakfast, hit Biff’s Bagels, which is named after a beloved pet and has photos of everyone else’s dog on the wall. For lunch, wow — so many choices. Charley’s on Aspen and Leroux has a great dog-friendly patio. Or Mix.  Or Macy’s. Or Mother Road Brewery. Or any others from our fine list.

roxy at tuthill fairgrounds

Hiking with the dog

You don’t have to be a super wilderness person to enjoy a hike with your dog. There are a lot of mild trails out there — which is especially nice since you and the dog may not have been as active during this hot summer season. Altitude change can also affect breathing for you and the dog.

There are several dog-friendly park trails throughout Flagstaff. Just have a leash and plenty of water.


  • Wilson Meadow at Hart Prairie:  A hike that can go as short as you want it to go. Wilson Meadow offers plenty of romping room and a pond to swim in (That’s for the dog; not you).
  • Griffith Spring Trail: Another short hike that allows your dog to wade in a creek.

Drinking with the dog

After a hard day of shopping, dining and hiking, it’s great to kick back with an adult beverage. Your best friend can come into the bar with you as long as the fine establishment doesn’t serve food. And that’s why we can get great scenes like this one at Hops on Birch:

dog in bar, Flagstaff AZ

Heatwave — keeping your dog safe!

phoenix dogs during heat wave
Yea, it is hot in Phoenix now. Hot for you and the dog. Blazing, furnace-level hot. Mucho de heat.

We checked in with our friends at Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Vet in Gilbert for some info on how to keep your dogs safe during this excessive heat. Here’s a great Q and A with Dr. Gloriana Halterman, DVM

What should dogs drink in the heat? Anything besides water?

Water is really best. Things like Gatorade or Pedialyte have a lot of sugar. Having lots of fresh, cool water available is the most helpful thing to do for your pet. Misting sprays can also help your pet dissipate some of the heat.

My dog still wants to walk in the heat. What can I do?

It’s tough. But when it gets this hot, sometimes you have to say, “We just can’t do it.” One option may be to wait for the sun to go down. But you’ll still need to be cautious. Another option is to seek out an indoor exercise area, such as a doggie day care that is well air-conditioned.

What about booties? Do they help?

They can be helpful, but the problem is they get worn down with extended use. And we don’t want to be overly reliant on them because then we can encounter the other problems that the heat brings, such as heatstroke. If it’s hot enough, you can use them to help your dog walk short distances — just enough to get from one place to another.

How about having the dog just walking on grass when it is hot?

Grass is better than concrete. But be cautious around dry, broken grass. And especially with artificial turf — this may look like it would be cooler but it can actually get quite hot.

What else should I know dogs and this kind of heat?

One thing that we really want to stress is to take caution if you have a breed of dog that is brachycephalic, such as a pug or a bulldog. Because of their short noses, these breeds are very prone to heat-related problems. Last year, I had a horrible case of a family who had their bulldog out at 9 p.m. at night on the Fourth of July and he still got heatstroke. Just be very, very cautious if you have one of these dogs.

Also, if you suspect your dog is suffering heat-related problems, please don’t dunk her in an ice bath. You may accidentally lower her body temperature too dramatically. Instead, gently cool your dog with wet towels, a mister or a fan.

What have you seen so far during this heat wave?

We haven’t actually seen as many heat-related cases as you may think at our Gilbert hospital. We did have one case of heatstroke and another dog with bloat who had skin lesions that appeared to be heat related. It’s actually more common to see heat-related cases at the start of the summer. Right now, when it’s so brutally hot, everyone is very cognizant of the heat. It’s earlier in the season that people are generally less aware of it. But we will continue to see some cases throughout the summer.
Great advice about keeping our dogs safe when it so hot out there, Dr. H — thanks so much for the info!

Monsoons and your dog

dogs and arizona monsoons
The National Weather Service is predicting storms through Friday for Phoenix but of course, Dog Radar has already given you the heads up about this week’s monsoons.

Dogs can sense a storm better than a child can sense an ice-cream truck coming.

Why dogs can sense a monsoon

With their keen ears, dogs hear at much higher and lower frequencies than we do, so they can hear a faraway rumble of thunder. And their noses can detect the smell of lightning ionizing the air. Dogs are also super attuned to changes in barometric pressure, which indicate a storm is near.

So, your dog has street cred when it comes to weather prediction.

But what to do about a dog who freaks out at storms? It all focuses on keeping the dog safe and feeling safe during the storm.

Offer the dog a safe place from the storm

If you know a storm is a’brewing, take your pooch out to potty before the storm. That way you can have them safely corralled in the house before the first thunder clap hits.

Providing a secure space like a crate or a dark room can ease their anxiety. Covering a wire crate with a quilt will muffle thunder and lessen flashes of lightning. Also, drag out that old, noisy fan which can provide some additional white noise for the dog

Dogs also pick up fear from their people, so stay cool. Let your buddy stay close and try to distract him with play or treats. Do not use sympathetic voice – this can sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion.

Or consider de-sensitizing poochie by recording the storm sounds and then playing it back once the storm has passed. Keep the volume real low at first and play it back during low-key times like when you are cooking dinner. Gradually increase the volume over time.

Some people opt for a step further and use “thundershirts” that use acupressure to calm the dog by hitting pressure points.

And as last resort, there’s doggie downers. The trick with them is that you have to give the sedative usually about one to two hours before the storm.

And when would that be? Ask the dog — he’s the weather guy!