Dog day-cares help keep pets cool as Seattle temperatures peak.

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Guarding a ball of ice between his front paws, Camelot bares his teeth at all the panting dogs that come near.

“This ice is mine,” he seems to say.

The retriever was one of about 70 dogs rolling around on ice cubes at Great Dog, a dog day care in Northgate. Such day cares are seeing a spike in business as Seattle’s temperatures keep rising.

The air-conditioned Downtown Dog Lounge in Capitol Hill saw the number of dogs nearly double to 54 from Monday to Tuesday, said receptionist Sue Zimmerman.

“We had so many calls first thing this morning to board or day care, and every single person was … like, ‘Do you have AC?’ ” she said.

Staff at Great Dog, where the main enclosure is not air-conditioned, say they keep the dogs cool by spritzing them with water, tying frozen bandannas around their necks, encouraging them to swim in two kiddie pools, placing wet towels on their backs, massaging their paws with ice cubes and holding hot-dog bobbing contests to get the dogs’ faces wet.

The same techniques can be used at home if you don’t have air conditioning or can’t afford to pay the $25 to $30 a day at many day cares. Also, remember the basics: Don’t leave dogs in hot cars and make sure they have plenty to drink.

Sometimes when dogs get really hot, they stop drinking, says Great Dog co-owner Leslie Csokasy. She suggests mixing a little chicken broth into their water bowl. “It’s like Gatorade for dogs,” she said.

Great Dog’s air-conditioning is reserved for a separate enclosure that houses particularly sensitive dogs: small, old and “smush-faced” ones, Csokasy said. Dogs like pugs and bulldogs are especially susceptible to overheating because their respiratory systems make them inefficient at panting.

Judi Anderson-Wright, a Great Dog co-owner, said you can tell dogs are dehydrated if their lips and gums get tacky and dry, and their skin loses elasticity. She said to pull up the skin behind their shoulder blades. If it stays up “in a little mountain peak,” they’re dehydrated, she said.

Dog day-care facilities around the city have also seen a spike in the number of calls for dog grooming and haircuts.

But staff members say it’s not always a good idea to shave dogs during the heat. Golden retrievers, for example, use their fur as insulation, to trap cool air and prevent sunburn.

Jim Simpson, 62, said he’s grateful to have Great Dog, where staff members can make sure his boxer, Abigail, stays cool. Otherwise, the sun would cook her at home alone, where there’s no air conditioning. “She stands in front of the fan and her ears blow straight out,” he said.

Jean Guerrero: 206-464-2311 or