If it has a massive build, a double-colored coat, and the most adorable eyes, it’s most likely an Australian Shepherd.
If you fell in love with this breed (and who can blame you?!), and you’re considering adopting an Australian Shephard, you might be wondering, how well do Australian Shepherds handle hot climates?
- Australian Shepherds shed their undercoats to adapt to hot weather
- Puppies and senior Aussies have a lower heat tolerance
- They will need to hydrate more and rest under the shade to avoid overheating
Many dog owners don’t take into consideration how equipped different dogs are to adapt to various weather conditions.
However, your fur buddy’s comfort and health should be your main concern.
Read on to learn more about the Australian Shepherd’s heat tolerance.
Australian Shepherd Heat Tolerance
The Australian Shepherd population is increasing in several states of the US (Texas, Southern California, and Florida) and in India.
These are geographically some of the hottest, most humid places on the planet.
But yet, Australian Shepherds appear to be adapting quite well, and have proven to have high a high heat tolerance.
How Much Heat Can an Australian Shepherd Handle?
Contrary to many dog owners’ opinions, Aussie Shepherds can naturally and quickly adapt to hot weather.
However, to enhance their comfort and well-being, they need a hand from their owners.
Have a bowl of fresh drinking water nearby and prepare a cool place in a temporary shed or a tree shade where they can escape the midday heat.
Can Australian Shepherds Live in Hot Places?
Aussies have lived in mildly cool areas like Spain and thrived in hot, humid places like Australia.
This dog breed wasn’t popular until it arrived on the American West Coast, which enjoys mild to warm weather.
These facts show that Aussies are familiar with hot places and could explain why the breed can live comfortably in warm areas.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for Australian Shepherds?
If the temperature goes beyond 89.6 ºF (32ºC) you might want to reconsider walking your dog or letting them out.
The Australian Shepherd’s Ideal Temperature
Australian Shepherds are at risk of suffering heatstroke when the temperatures reach and surpass 68 °F (20ºC) for medium to large-sized breeds.
Puppies and senior dogs are the most vulnerable in insanely hot weather.
Their tolerance to heat is lower than dogs between a year and seven years old.
Precautions in Hot Weather for Australian Shepherds
If you live in areas where the climate rises well above 77 °F (25ºC), you should incorporate ways to keep your dog cool.
Below are tips to help keep your dog cool in hot weather.
Avoid Midday Sun
Midday sun is the strongest.
While your Aussie can handle high temperatures without showing discomfort, it’s safer to keep them indoors or under a shade when the sun is directly above you.
Depending on your location, the sun is hottest between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
During this time, discourage your dog from going outside.
Safe areas for the dog to sit at midday include the patio, under a tree, in a shed, or shaded backyard area.
Keep Off Hot Walking Surfaces
Dogs don’t put on shoes as humans do.
Therefore, walking your dog at midday on the hot pavements and tarmac means exposing its sensitive paws to unbearable heat.
Doing so risks burning your dog’s paws which can critically injure your dog to the point of requiring veterinary intervention.
How can you tell whether or not the ground is too hot for the dog to walk on?
The rule of thumb most dog owners use is that if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Keep the AC/Fan On
Living in a humid or hot state means that your air conditioning or fan is always on.
When you leave the house, you can turn off the fan or AC to save on energy costs.
The only problem is that leaving your dog in the house without a fan or AC on makes that space a heat trap.
Make sure your dog has access to a cool room, and the cooling systems in your home are always on at home.
This is whether you are at home or away.
Best Ways To Keep Australian Shepherds Cool
Some of the best methods to keep your Aussie cool during hot and humid days include the following.
Consider Purchasing a Cooling Bed
A cooling bed is a simple structure that’s raised above the ground.
It’s super comfortable for dogs because the beds are specially built to facilitate increased airflow around the dog while lying down.
Cooling beds are a better alternative for your dog, especially when the ground is exposed to direct sunlight.
The cooling bed elevates and partially exposes the dog’s belly to the soft breeze for an overall cooling effect.
Consider getting a cooling bed instead of a regular dog bed for your Aussie.
Cooling beds are way cheaper and double up as a comfortable place for your dog when it’s hot.
Buy a Doggy Paddling Pool
Australian Shepherds are super active breeds.
It’s hard to keep up with their physical fitness demands when they aren’t allowed outside for a significant fraction of the day.
Buying a doggy paddling pool can kill two birds with one stone. It keeps your dog cool and satisfies its need to stay physically and mentally active.
Avoid using this method to cool your dog if they don’t know how to swim.
If you have to, get them a dog life jacket and supervise them closely as they play around in their newfound favorite toy.
Use Wet Towels To Cool Your Aussie
Patting your dog’s body with a cold, wet towel right before he goes outside on a sweltering day keeps them cool.
This method only provides temporary relief for your dog but helps cool your dog faster, especially if they are stuck outdoors on a hot day.
Provide Fresh Drinking Water
Keeping your dog hydrated during hot days is the number one solution to avoiding a heatstroke.
Place a bowl of cold, fresh drinking water at strategic points throughout the house to keep your dog cool and hydrated.
Consider throwing ice cubes in your dog’s fresh water bowl if the tap water is too warm.
Pour out old water and replace it with fresh water daily.
If you take too long before replacing old water with fresh water, your dog won’t drink the water in the bowl.
If they do, they risk getting sick because different fungi and bacteria can hide in dirty, stagnant water.
Exercise Some Other Time
Hot weather isn’t an excuse to avoid exercising your dog.
However, you might want to consider adjusting your Aussie’s exercise routine to avoid putting them at risk.
Walk your dog earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is up but there’s less heat.
Avoid playing fetch and engaging in other challenging and power-intensive exercises.
Their Double Coat Keeps Them Cool
Believe it or not, that fluffy double coat you like trimming down can help keep your dog warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
Most dog owners assume that an Australian Shepherd’s thick coat makes it unbearable to live in hot places.
However, Aussies have a double-layered coat, a top coat, and an undercoat, which plays an integral role in accommodating the dog’s needs in cold and hot weather.
Australian Shepherd breeds shed more than usual during spring to reduce the bulk of their coats.
What’s left is a thinner top coat that makes it easier for cool air to flow through the hairs and onto the surface of the dog’s skin.
It’s like the dog has an inbuilt fan.
The thin top coat serves other purposes like offering UV protection, keeping pesky pests off, and preventing direct heat from getting to the dog’s vulnerable areas.
Alternatively, they shed less during the cooler seasons.
Therefore, the undercoat and topcoat thicken, which traps more hot air keeping the dog warm in winter or during the rainy seasons.
An Australian Shepherd’s ability to use and adjust its double coat explains its history of thriving in mildly cool and hot weather conditions.
Will a Haircut Make an Australian Shepherd Feel Cooler?
A summer trim seems the perfect idea to keep your dog cool when it’s hot and humid.
However, your vet and other experienced dog owners would strongly advise against it.
Shaving your pet’s fur does more harm than good for your dog.
The coat can grow and shed progressively to remain warm or cool, depending on the weather.
Your dog’s coat provides insulation and stores temperate air close to its skin.
Trimming your Australian Shepherd compromises your dog’s fur’s ability to grow back the same.
What Are Signs of Heatstroke in Australian Shepherds?
Understanding the signs and symptoms of a heatstroke allows you to act fast to combat the situation and avoid losing your dog.
Failure to observe and help your dog when they’re having a heatstroke can turn fatal.
Red alert signs of heatstroke you should watch out for include:
- deep red gums
Keep an eye on your dog’s panting.
The faster and more aggressive your Aussies panting gets, the closer they are to having a heatstroke.
Dogs pant to cool themselves down. Therefore, they will pant harder to cool themselves faster, especially if they are unusually hot.
Signs That Your Dog Has Been Outside Too Long
Other danger signs to watch out for to be sure that your dog is having a heatstroke include:
- Loss of focus: They don’t respond as fast as they usually would to their name and other different commands.
- Suddenly collapsing: When the dog seems ok but suddenly falls when they’ve been out in the sun for long durations, they could be suffering a heatstroke.
- Feint or no breathing: This usually happens if the dog is napping or resting in the sun.
Heatstroke can lead to sudden death, especially when the dog is not alert enough to find shade or without someone to watch them.
How Do You Deal With Heatstroke in Australian Shepherds?
Your vet will advise against implementing preventive measures to avoid worrying about responding to your dog suffering from heatstroke.
However, if you’re in a position where you’re dealing with an affected dog, below are some quick response tips that could save your dog’s life.
- Immediately move your dog from the hot area and take them to a cooler spot.
- Tap your pet with a wet towel or gently spray the dog’s fur and skin with cold water.
- You may also manually fan or turn on the AC to help the dog cool down faster.
- Avoid forcing the dog to drink water.
- Do not give the dog ice water or ice cubes, as this may shock the system, making matters worse.
- If you’re unsure but have reason to suspect your dog, who just had a heatstroke, isn’t recovering, go to the vet clinic.
Do Australian Shepherds Overheat Easily?
Aussies have an inbuilt self-cooling system in place.
Therefore, they don’t overheat easily.
However, should you notice signs of your dog suffering from heatstroke, move him to a cool spot and rush to the nearest veterinary clinic if your dog has lost consciousness.
Do They Handle Heat Well?
Aussies handle heat well. But should you find yourself at the vet, here’s what to expect.
The Vet can respond fast by
- putting your collapsed Aussie on an IV drip to try and resuscitate them
- administering cooling enemas or other appropriate cooling treatments
- putting your pet on supplemental oxygen
- administering the necessary medication to deal with the symptoms
- conducting blood tests to assess organ function
- maintaining constant observation and treatment until the dog is ok
Keep Your Aussie Inside When You Leave the House
Keep your Aussie indoors on hot days.
The best time to leave the house is when the dog’s stomach is full, he’s had his routine exercise and plenty of fresh water.
When you leave, he will find a comfortable spot to nap until you’re back.
Can Australian Shepherds Survive in Hot Weather?
Australian Shepherds can survive in hot weather.
But while Australian Shepherds can adjust to cool and warm climates, there’s a limit to it.
In extremely high temperatures, you may have to incorporate various safety measures to keep your dog cool.
Can Aussies Sleep Outside?
Most Aussie dogs can sleep outside but not when the sun is high otherwise they risk suffering from heatstroke.
Most heatstroke cases are scary but rarely become an emergency, provided you keep the dog cool, watch out for the signs of heatstroke, and respond quickly.