Many potential owners out there and people that are thinking of moving often ask themselves if it's safe or healthy for dogs to live in the places that they do or are moving to. One of those places is grasslands.
In North America, prairies and grasslands are found mostly in mid-Western America in the Great Plains area. They're usually extremely dry with very little water, and as a result, the only plants in the area are usually dry bushes and grass. So, people either already living in these areas or moving to them want to know if these types of environment can support and provide for a happy, healthy dog.
Well, the answer, fortunately, is yes! Dogs are very resiliant animals, and as long as we're attentive owners, our pooches can live in most types of habitats or environments, and that includes grasslands!
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Signs Your Dog is Having Difficulty Living in Grasslands
The signs of both are relatively similar, but it's important that owners are extremely familiar with them so they can get their woofers help as quickly as possible.
In regards to dehydration, doggos that are in desperate need of water will often have lower energy levels, be tired, pant a lot, won't eat as much as they usually do, and may have dry eyes, nose, and gums. Basically, your dog will seem really tired and out of it, and their tongues will definitely be sticking out, with relatively quick and heavy breathing.
The signs of overheating in our puppers are relatively similar, but there are a few more, since dogs that are hot are usually dogs that are also thirsty. For example, hot dogs (not the food!) will usually pant very quickly, with their tongues hanging out of their mouths. Their body temperature will also be pretty high, and they'll probably be pretty thirsty.
Additionally, overheated dogs may also be weak to the point of collapsing, have glazed eyes, and have a very fast heartbeat/pulse. They may even vomit, have bloody stool, seize, and have a bright tongue or gums. You may also notice a lot of drooling, stumbling, or even unconsciousness. Again, like a dehydrated pup, overheated pups are just going to look, well, hot! Our dogs are covered in a basic permanent coat that is their fur, so they often get hot a lot more quickly than we do.
However, it's important to note that many of these symptoms can occur if your dog is sick with something else other than dehydration or overexertion. For example, dogs that have the flu or a cold will be lethargic and may pant a lot. As a result, a worried owner can do the pinching test, to check whether or not your dog is too hot or too thirsty.
The pinching test is done by gently putting your pup's skin between your fingers (don't press too hard!) and pulling a bit. If your dog is dehydrated or overheated, their skin will take longer to fall back into place or return to normal. In healthy dogs, the skin returns to normal pretty quickly. Additionally, try to gently pry open their mouths. A dehydrated or hot pup will have dry, bright, tacky gums, and when you press on them, they'll remain whiter for a longer period of time.
Keep in mind that symptoms from overheating and dehydration are pretty similar. So if your dog is acting differently than normal, it's likely that they can be both. If you're worried about your pooch being either, make sure to bring them to the vet. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our pet's health!
If you are concerned that your dog is struggling with your climate, watch for:
- Dropped Ears
- Lack of focus
- Whale eye
- Raspy panting
- Tongue hanging
- Shaking or trembling
- Lethargy, weakness, or sleepiness
- Lack of appetite or weight loss
- Sticky, bright gums
- Skin that is not elastic
- Very thirsty
- Lack of focus
- Dry nose
History of Dogs in Grasslands
Similarly, there are certain types of "dogs" that are actually built to live only in the grasslands! While they are more considered the "cousins" of our domesticated dogs, African Wild Dogs live in Africa and can primarily be found on the savannahs and in the grasslands of that continent. While they're not exactly the same type of animal as the dogs found in our homes, they definitely share the same ancestor, and even look like many of our pooches!
The Science Behind Dogs and Grasslands
You also want a dog that doesn't have a "pushed nose", since those types of breeds, such as Pugs and Boxers, don't do as well in hot weather. Basically, look for a dog with a shorter coat that has a ton of energy - the more energy they have, the happier they'll be with the wide-open landscapes that grasslands have to offer!
Training Your Dog to Live Well in Grasslands
Make sure also to provide your dog with enough water. It's hard for dogs to get dehydrated if they get enough access to water, and water can also help an overheated pup cool down. Similarly, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. Sometimes, it's just too hot for your doggo to spend a lot of time outside. On days like that, take your pooch on quick potty breaks, so they can spend the rest of the day inside, with the AC blasting, playing with you!
How to React if You Think Your Dog is Overheated or Dehydrated:
Vet! If you're worried your dog is dehydrated or overheated, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to their health. Your vet won't be mad at you for being a helicopter parent!
Grooming: make sure to keep your dog's hair short and in control. The shorter your pup's hair is, the less it'll keep their body heat trapped in, so it'll be easier to get them cool.
Offer them water: make sure you keep water available for your woofer at all times. Additionally, if you have something like a kiddie pool, be sure to set that up! That way, your pup can take a quick cool-down dip if they're starting to get too hot.
Limit their exposure: if it gets too hot, sometimes it may just be too much for your dog to go outside. The less your dog is exposed to unhealthy temperatures that can make them overheated or dehydrated, the happier and healthier your pooch will be!