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Do you live in a hot weather climate, and are you wondering if a German Shepherd will thrive if you adopt one?
German Shepherds are notoriously cold weather dogs. They have a very high tolerance to cold weather, thanks to their insulated double coats. With that being said, German Shepherds can also do well living in some hot weather climates, but they require additional care to ensure that they are staying safe and healthy.
This article will discuss why German Shepherds do so well in cold weather and why they may struggle more in hot weather, and what steps you can take to make sure your German Shepherd is living the best life they can in a hot climate.
Can German Shepherds live in hot weather?
Although German Shepherd is well known for living their best lives in the cold, it is entirely possible for a German Shepherd to thrive in hot weather. However, it is important that you take extra care to ensure that your dog is not going to become sick in the heat. For instance, you should never leave your German Shepherd outside all day when the weather is hot.
If your German Shepherd develops heatstroke, they can become severely sick and their condition may even become fatal. Another symptom of hot weather in German Shepherds is dehydration, which can also result in sickness and even death if the dehydration becomes bad enough.
When will my German Shepherd become overheated?
Some studies show that dogs can develop heatstroke in as little as fifteen minutes. If your dog is overweight, they can suffer from heatstroke even more quickly. When your dog is outdoors in hot weather, you should always make sure to provide air circulation such as a fan, shade for resting, and freshwater.
In addition, you should absolutely never leave your German Shepherd in an enclosed hot environment such as a car or dog house without air conditioning. These situations can quickly lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s internal body temperature rises above 105º Fahrenheit.
What are some signs of heatstroke in my German Shepherd?
Some symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Red gums and tongue
- Heightened heart rate
If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, it is crucial that you immediately remove the dog from the hot environment. You can spray your dog down with cool water, especially on their belly, but do not submerge them in cold water. This can drastically reduce their temperature which can lead to further complications.
If you think that your German Shepherd has suffered from heatstroke, you should immediately take them to a veterinarian. According to the American Kennel Club, if your dog has been severely affected, they may require medication, fluids, or other support such as oxygen.
You should also keep in mind that some of the complications from heatstroke may not develop or show themselves immediately. For this reason, it is very important that you allow your dog to be seen by a veterinarian. This way, the vet can determine how much follow-up treatment is required for your pup.
How can I keep my German Shepherd cool in hot weather?
Can German Shepherds live in hot weather? Yes, with proper care. If you own a German Shepherd in a climate that gets very hot, especially in the summer, it is crucial that you take preemptive action to ensure that your dog stays cool and does not get the opportunity to develop heatstroke.
There are many things you can do to keep your dog cool in hot weather. Keep reading for details on some of the most common (and fun!) ways to keep your dog cool when the sun is blazing outside.
Cold Water and Frozen Treats
This is perhaps one of the most obvious solutions to keeping your dog cool in hot weather. You should make sure that your dog always has access to cold water, especially when they are playing outdoors. This will prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated and can help stave off heatstroke.
You can also offer your dog cold or frozen treats to help cool them down in the heat. You can create “puppy ice cream” by freezing peanut butter or other treat pastes, then offer them to your dog inside a Kong or other puzzle toy. Not only will this help cool them down, but the work of getting the frozen treat out from the toy will provide mental stimulation.
While this may seem obvious, try not to take your dog outdoors when the heat is blazing. Although your dog will still need exercise and mental stimulation, there are plenty of ways you can think of to provide that playtime without taking your dog outside. For example, you can provide mental stimulation in the form of puzzle toys or training sessions inside the house.
For further exercise, you can also consider taking your dog to indoor dog parks or to the pet store to go on a walk through the aisles. There are many indoor pet-friendly areas where you might take your German Shepherd to get a little exercise and mental stimulation without running them ragged in the outdoor heat.
Careful Day Planning
To continue from the previous section, you can still get your German Shepherd the outdoor time that they need without taking them out in the middle of the day. Think about when the hottest part of the day is—usually around noon—and make plans to exercise your German Shepherd either early in the morning or later in the evening.
Although you may be tempted to keep your pup indoors at all times in order to reduce the chance of heatstroke, it is important to exercise them to keep them healthy. In fact, the healthier and more in shape your dog is, the less they are at risk of heatstroke in the first place.
If you really want to have a German Shepherd in a hot weather climate, you may need to sacrifice sleeping in late in order to wake up and take your dog on those 6 am walks where the weather is nice and cool before the sun fully comes out.
Water activities are another ideal way of keeping your German Shepherd cool in hot weather. You can try things such as playing with the garden hose outside or setting up a garden sprinkler for your pup to run and jump through.
Be careful when it comes to playing with items such as water guns or water balloons because the little plastic parts can be dangerous for your dog. It is much better to use a device such as a hose or a sprinkler when planning water playtime for your dog!
If you have a pool in your yard or a lake near your house, you may also allow your German Shepherd a little swimming time to help them cool off in the heat.
Do German Shepherds like to swim?
The answer to this question is, well, maybe! This depends a lot on your individual dog. German Shepherds were not initially bred to be water dogs, so they hold no natural affinity for the water. Despite this, however, most German Shepherds are perfectly capable of swimming when given the opportunity.
Your German Shepherd may be more likely to enjoy swimming if they live in a very hot environment, simply because the cool water is such a great way of cooling off when the sun is blazing outside.
To try getting your German Shepherd used to swimming, introduce them to the water very slowly. Don’t do things such as push them into the pool or toss them into the lake. Try to lure them into the shallow area with a toy or by getting in yourself and calling for them. Then, praise them as they begin to swim. They’ll soon be used to the water!
Should I shave my German Shepherd?
No, you should never shave your German Shepherd. Although it might seem like shaving their coat would help them to stay cool in the hot weather, doing so would actually accomplish the opposite.
German Shepherds have what is called a double coat, made up of an inner and outer layer of fur. By shaving them, you can damage this double coat, making it so that it will not grow in properly. The double coat is meant to serve double duty, keeping your German Shepherd warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
So, if you choose to shave your German Shepherd, you could actually be making them hotter than if you allow them to keep their double coat.
It is also important to note that shaving your German Shepherd will not prevent shedding. They will still shed, but the hairs will just be shorter.
Can German Shepherds live in hot weather? Although these dogs thrive better in cooler weather, yes, it is possible for a German Shepherd to live in a hot weather climate. You simply must take extra care to make sure that your dog does not develop heatstroke, and carefully plan your day to keep them indoors or only outside during the cooler parts of the day.