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While I don’t exactly live somewhere that routinely has hot weather I know other people that do and have always wondered. Would my Shiba Inu be okay if I brought her to visit them?
Shiba Inus are a cold weather breed that isn’t well suited for hot weather or environments. They need easy access to clean drinking water and a shady place to rest if they’re outside. If you notice your Shiba is struggling to cool down indoors you should turn the AC on.
My family In Arizona has a pair of dogs, but they aren’t cold-weather dogs like a Shiba Inu. So I started doing some research to see if she’d be safe out there in the hot weather, and here’s what I learned.
Can Shiba Inus Live In Warm Climates?
Shiba Inus can definitely live in warmer climates or survive in hot weather but you’ll want to come prepared. Shibas are a double-coated dog breed that’s well suited for cold weather, not the hot summer sun. That means you’ll have to plan a bit ahead if you plan on taking them on a long walk or hike when it’s hot outside. I recommend the following:
- Giving them a quick brush can help keep them cooler for longer
- Bring extra water when it’s hot outside, and offer it to them often
- Take more frequent breaks in shaded areas
- Let them take a quick dip in a nearby stream
How Hot Is Too Hot For A Shiba Inu?
Shiba Inus have a double coat that’s well adapted for cold climates but isn’t as well suited for hot summers or warm humid climates. Shibas are able to stay cooler during the summer months when they shed their thick winter undercoat, but they’ll need additional shade and water to stay comfortable.
Temperatures around 75°F will start making a Shiba Inu feel uncomfortably warm. Temps at or over 90°F will start to be dangerously hot for Shibas. Be extra careful only to take them outside for short amounts of time, between 5 to 10 minutes, take frequent breaks in shady areas, and offer them water regularly.
Common Signs Your Shiba Inu Is Too Hot
Dogs manage excess heat by releasing primarily through panting, but that isn’t their only tool for cooling off on hot summer days. You may notice your Shiba shows one or more common signs of overheating.
Dogs can’t sweat like we do so they heavily rely on panting to cool themselves when they feel hot. Minor panting here or there is perfectly fine, even if it’s a bit labored right after zoomies or a quick play session. But you should be concerned if your Shiba’s panting is labored, persistent or it sounds like they’re struggling to breathe.
If you notice your Shiba is drinking nearly non-stop they may be struggling to cool off. Animals don’t sweat like people do, they have to rely on shade, panting, and even drinking to make it through hot weather.
Dry Nose Or Pale Gums
Pale gums or a dry nose are a sign your Shiba is struggling with the heat. If you notice your Shiba’s nose is dry their eyes and mouth may equally be dry.
It’s common for Shibas to drool a little when they’re eating or drinking, but not so much if they’re just laying around. Atypical drooling is a sign your dog’s body is doing everything it can to cool off. Abnormal drooling can lead to dehydration if left unattended, make sure your Shiba Inu has easy access to clean drinking water.
Overly Weak Or Sluggish Movements
Shibas start to experience heat exhaustion when their internal body temperature reaches 105°F. Weak or sluggish movements on a warm summer day are a sign your Shiba Inu is struggling with the heat.
How To Keep Your Shiba Inu Cool In The Summer
Thankfully with all the bad, there’s almost always a bit of good. While it may feel like your Shiba will overheat no matter what, keeping them cool and comfortable is fairly simple and straightforward. Even on the hottest and brightest summer days.
Give Them A Cool Place To Relax
Shady places are a Shiba’s best friend when it’s a bit too hot for them. A shady spot, either indoors or outdoors, will give your Shiba Inu the opportunity to cool off and escape the sweltering summer sun.
Make Sure They Have Plenty Of Fresh Water
In regularly warm climates or abnormally hot days, your Shiba Inu is going to go through water faster than normal. The reason for that is dogs, and other animals will turn to drink water as a way to cool off, bringing their internal body heat down to more manageable levels.
Check For Good Ventilation
While we humans have the luxury of sweating, your Shiba Inu doesn’t. It’s critical you make sure they have access to a shady place and fresh water, but that won’t always be enough. You should point any spare fans toward your Shiba if you notice they’re struggling to cool off. I also recommend you check the thermostat and consider turning the AC on.
Do Shiba Inus Need Air Conditioning?
Shiba Inus are not suited for hot weather. If it’s usually 75°F or higher, you should consider leaving the AC on for your Shiba Inu. If you live somewhere that’s regularly 90°F or more, you must keep the AC running to prevent your Shiba Inu from having a heatstroke.
Offer Them A Doggy Pool
A small kid’s pool is an excellent opportunity for your Shiba to take a quick dip. Dramatically helping them cool off on those long and hot summer days. Just make sure the water is cool, fresh, and clean before letting your Shiba jump in. A nearby lake, stream, or river also works.
Make Sure Their Bed Or Crate Isn’t In Direct Sunlight
A less common, but still likely, way your Shiba Inu could get uncomfortably hot is if their crate or dog bed is left out in the sun all day. Double-check they aren’t in direct sunlight before you leave the house so your Shiba can have a good night’s sleep.
The Dangers Of Keeping Your Shiba Inu Outside In The Heat
If you are worried your Shiba Inu is suffering from heat-related health issues you should check for the following:
If you notice your Shiba Inu’s mouth, nose, and eyes are dry and they appear lethargic they may be dehydrated. You should immediately bring them inside or somewhere cool and shaded and offer them fresh water to drink. In extreme cases of dehydration, you may notice your pet has:
- Bright red gums
- An elevated heart rate
- Eyes that appear sunken into their skull
- Weak or sluggish movements
A Shiba’s normal body temperature falls between 100.5 to 102.5°F. Heat exhaustion starts to set in when their internal body temperature hit’s 105°F, with heatstroke typically occurring around 107°F. Labored panting and sluggish movements are common signs of heat exhaustion.
Heatstroke commonly occurs when your Shiba Inu is left inside a car on a hot day, typically when temperatures are over 75°F outside. While 75°F isn’t that hot on its own it’s uncomfortably warm for Shiba Inu. That meager 75°F can quickly balloon to 90 or even 100°F if your car has been left out in the sun for a lengthy period of time.
You can avoid your Shiba Inu having a heatstroke by minimizing the time spent inside a hot car, especially if they’re alone. While you can leave the AC on, it won’t be enough to keep them from overheating. If you are driving around and need to run a few errands while your Shiba is with you, it’s best to turn around and drop them off at home.
Even though Shiba Inus have thick double coats they can still get sunburns, especially after they blow their undercoat. You won’t need any pet-specific sunscreen unless your vet recommends it, but it does mean you should be more mindful of your Shiba’s skin and overall health when it’s hot outside.
Should You Change Your Shiba’s Walking Route When It’s Hot?
Once it’s around 75°F outside you should start thinking about taking shorter than normal walks. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take a different route unless you’d like to. You should start shortening the amount of time your Shiba Inu is outside and out in the sun to minimize the odds of them overheating.
Also, keep an eye out for shaded areas along your normal route. Shorter walks with more frequent breaks in the shade will give your Shiba the time they need to cool off some before you guys continue. If you can, bring a collapsible bowl (I like these ones from Amazon), and offer them water to help cool them off.
Summary Of How Shiba Inus Handel Hot Weather
Shiba Inus are a double-coated breed that’s better suited for cold weather, not a hot or humid environment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t care for a Shiba Inu if it’s warm where you live. If you live somewhere where the weather is normally hot, at or above 75°F, then you should plan accordingly.
Make sure your Shiba Inu has easy access to a cool shady place along with clean drinking water. You should also be on the lookout for common signs of overheating. Like:
- Excessive Panting
- Excessive Drinking
- Dry Nose Or Pale Gums
- Abnormal Drooling
- Overly Weak Or Sluggish Movements
If you notice one or more of these signs you should:
- Move your Shiba to a cool dark place
- Give them a bowl of fresh water
- Bring them a fan or turn the AC on
- And give your vet a call, just to be safe
Frequently Asked Questions
What Weather Is Best For Shiba Inu?
Shiba Inus are best suited for cool weather and colder climates thanks to their double coat. While Shibas are able to adjust to warmer summer months when they shed their thicker winter undercoat it won’t be enough to prevent them from overheating.
How Long Can A Dog Stay Outside In The Heat?
Shiba Inus aren’t well suited for hot weather due to their thick double coat. Only take your Shiba Inu outside on hot days for short amounts of time, between 10 to 15 minutes, to prevent them from overheating. They should have easy access to both shade and cool fresh water.
What Temperature Can Shiba Inu Tolerate?
Most Shiba Inus can handle temperatures between 20°F to 75°F. Temps below 20°F will leave them feeling cold while temperatures above 75°F will leave them weak and tired. Plan accordingly if your Shiba Inu is going to be exposed to hot or cold weather for prolonged periods of time.