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Australian Shepherds are known for their thick, luscious coats. As a result, a lot of people do wonder whether this is a dog that can live in hot weather. After all, many dogs with thicker coats aren’t really that brilliant when the weather starts to get a little bit warmer. On this page, we will discuss whether you should be getting an Australian Shepherd if you live in a hotter climate.
So, can Australian Shepherds live in hot weather? Yes. They can. This is due to the unique coat that they have. This coat can help to regulate their body temperature even when it is warm outside. However, you will have to remember that this dog won’t exactly thrive if it is highly active in warmer weather. It can suffer from heatstroke easily.
Our experts have a bit more information to share with you about this. We want to talk about whether Australian Shepherds can live in hot weather in a bit more depth. We also want to introduce you to heatstroke and how you can deal with it should it occur.
Can Australian Shepherds Live in Hot Weather?
Contrary to popular belief, the Australian Shepherd isn’t actually Australian. It is an American breed of dog. If it were bred for use in Australia, then it likely wouldn’t have the thicker coat that is has. This is because many of the more populated regions of Australia can get incredibly hot during the summer months.
That being said, Australian Shepherds can live in hot weather. As we said before, this is due to the double coat that they have. It also allows them to live fairly comfortable in colder weather too.
The problem with the Australian Shepherd is that it is a working dog.
Australian Shepherds can live in hot weather, to an extent. This means that it has been ‘built’ to be active for hours and hours on end. Even Australian Shepherds bred as pets will have this trait. These dogs can go on for hours and hours. In fact, many of them will not stop playing until you tell them to stop playing.
The result is that Australian Shepherds are prone to overheating and, ultimately, heatstroke. If an Australian Shepherd simply lives in hot weather, it is fine. If it plays in hot weather, then it could be potentially deadly. This means on the warmer days of the year, you may want to limit how active your dog is.
If you are going to be purchasing an Australian Shepherd and you live in an area where it has been known to get warm and humid, then we suggest that you try and look for an Australian Shepherd that has a shorter coat.
What Are the Signs of Heat Stroke in Australian Shepherds?
In the summer months, Australian Shepherds are especially prone to heat stroke if they are too active. Heat stroke can, of course, be deadly if it is not dealt with quickly. As a result, it is important that Australian Shepherd owners understand the signs and symptoms of heatstroke.
Perhaps the first symptom to appear will be excessive panting. As you may well know, panting is a way for a dog to cool themselves down. If a dog is doing a lot of this, then it means that they are incredibly hot.
As the heat stroke progresses, this may lead to the following:
- Reddened gums
Some people will also notice that the mental functions of their dog start to decline. For example, they may be slower to react to stimuli. They may also struggle to understand any commands that you are giving them.
As the heat stroke progresses, this could lead to your Australian Shepherd collapsing. Ultimately, heat stroke can lead to the death of the dog. It can be a quick process too. If it is incredibly hot outside and your dog is constantly active in the heat, they could be dead within the span of just a few hours.
How Do You Deal with Heatstroke in Australian Shepherds?
As with most conditions, prevention is always going to be far better than the cure.
If it is hot outside, then you will probably want to prevent your dog from going outside in the first place. Keep them indoors. If you have air conditioning, then leave it turned on. Your dog will love this, and it will stop them from overheating in the comfort of their own home.
If your dog has little choice but to be outside, then there should always be a shaded area that they can relax in. Remember, the sun will move throughout the day. This means that there will probably need to be a few different shaded areas that they can use.
At all times, your dog should have access to fresh and clean water. This should be kept in a cool location. Your dog really doesn’t want to be drinking warm water. It will make their symptoms a lot worse.
In hotter weather, you also shouldn’t be playing with your Australian Shepherd too much. Of course, you will still need to take them for a walk, but just let it be a shorter walk. Don’t play fetch or anything like that. This will cause them to become dehydrated.
If the signs of heat stroke have already started to appear, then you need to get your dog into a cool location as quickly as possible. You will also want to ensure that they have access to nice and cold water. In fact, some people recommend that it should be close to ice water (not completely frozen, though!). Drinking this will allow your dog to cool down rapidly.
It is important that you do not force the dog to drink water. Point them in the direction of the water, but let them drink whenever they see fit.
You may also want to find a towel and soak it in cold water. You can leave this on the back of the dog. This will help to cool them down quickly too.
If your dog has collapsed or lost consciousness, then this is not something that you will be able to deal with yourself. You will have to take the Australian Shepherd to the vet. They will have to put your dog on an IV drip and hope for the best. In many cases, the Australian Shepherd will have to stay at the vet for a few days while the recover. Thankfully, most cases of heat stroke will never end up progressing to this point.
Can You Shave Your Australian Shepherd?
It is not recommended that you shave an Australian Shepherd. This will remove their protective coat and, as a result, they will find it more difficult to regulate their body temperature. In addition to this, it can often take several shedding seasons for the coat to grow back properly. At the most, you should be trimming your dog i.e. removing fluffy areas of fur.
Can Australian Shepherds Sleep Outdoors?
Not really. While Australian Shepherds do have thick coats to protect them from the cold, they have to be constantly on the move to stay warm. This means that they cannot sleep outside in the colder weather. They would end up freezing.