Huskies are gorgeous puppers, so there are many people that want them that don't happen to live in places covered in 234 feet of snow at all times. But can these cold-loving dogs be happy in tropical weather?
The answer is yes! Huskies are known for their ability to adapt to any climate, including those ranging from below 75 degrees Fahrenheit to climates such as South Florida and other tropical places. However, just because your dog can adapt to a hotter temperature doesn't mean that you have nothing to worry about.
Because Huskies are built for cooler weather, their owners have to look out for signs of dehydration, overheating, and overexertion. But, so long as you keep an eye on your fluffy guy to make sure they don't overheat when it gets too hot, you don't need snow to have a husky!
Signs to Look Out For In Your Husky
Dehydration: According to the American Kennel Club, the seven most common signs of dehydration in dogs are loss of appetite, reduced energy levels, lethargy, panting, sunken or dry eyes, a dry nose and/or gums, and a loss of skin elasticity.
Many of these symptoms also occur in dogs that are sick with something else, so the best way to test your dog for dehydration is the "pinching test". This involves gently pinching your pup's skin between your fingers. In dehydrated dogs, the skin will take longer to fall back or return to normal, while in healthy dogs, this occurs rather quickly. Make sure to do it gently, though! Humans aren't too fond of getting pinched, and neither is your pooch.
Another option is feeling your pup's nose or taking a look at their gums. A healthy husky happens to have a moist mouth (say that five times fast!), while a dehydrated one has gums that can be dry and tacky. Outside of just visual cues, you can also feel your pup's gums - if they're dehydrated, the place you pressed on will remain white for a longer period of time than if they aren't dehydrated.
Overheating/Overexertion: The signs of overheating in your husky are similar to that of dehydration, but with a few more symptoms. These can include heavy panting/rapid breathing, a higher than normal body temperature, an extremely thirsty pup, weakness or even collapsing, glazed eyes, an increased heartbeat and consequentially, an increased pulse, vomiting, bloody feces, seizures, bright tongue and/or gums, excessive drooling, stumbling, and unconsciousness. Basically, your dog is going to look and act extremely hot. This is especially prevalent in Huskies, since their fur and skin was built to retain heat. Often, overheating occurs much more quickly in these types of breeds than those with finer and/or less fur.
The symptoms of both of these conditions often overlap - if your dog is dehydrated, it is likely do to overheating/overexertion, and if your dog has overheated/overexerted itself, it is often also dehydrated. Essentially, you just need to make sure your dog is acting normal. If they are panting excessively, seem overly hot, or are just acting lethargic and weak, it's a good idea to get them into the shade or to a source of cool water as soon as possible, followed by a visit to the vet if necessary.
- Ears drop
- Bright Pink, Sticky Gums
- Dry Nose
- High Temperature
- Inability To Focus
- Excessive Thirst
- Inelastic Skin
- Loss of Appetite
The Science Behind Huskies in Hotter Climates
Additionally, they don't just have one coat, but two - their is an underlayer of very short hair that Huskies shed in the Spring, which prevents them from overheating when the temperatures get warmer. During colder times, this underlayer acts as insulation to keep the pup's core body temperature warm and consistent. On top of the underlayer is an outer layer known as the "guard hair coat", which prevents snow and ice from sticking to huskies.
Even their ears and tails are built for the cold. In regards to the ears, they basically have built-in ear muffs. Their ears are covered with hair all the way into the interior, "creating a natural muff where the dog's ear ends." Their tails are also covered in fur, and long enough so that they can protect their faces with them when they lie down to go to sleep in the cold.
Basically, huskies are characteristically suited to living in the cold. Despite the Northern Reaches being their more natural habitat, however, any loving dog owner can adopt a Husky in any climate, so long as they take care to make sure they stay healthy!
Training a Husky to Acclimatise to Heat
First and foremost, ALWAYS make sure your Husky (or any dog, really) has access to lots of fresh water all through the day. If there is always water around, your dog is much less likely to become dehydrated. This is even more important if your dog is outside for a lengthened period of time!
And about that, on the super-hot days, it may just be better to keep your Husky indoors with the AC blasting. If you must be outdoors, limit the amount of activity that your pooch does, and make sure they have a comfy spot in the shade to cool down in.
On the hottest of summer days, your best bet may be to change your walk times to the early morning and evening. The temperature is generally cooler then, and the sun won't be beating down on your pupper. His paw pads are also less likely to be burned by piping-hot pavement at these times, as well.
How to React If You Think Your Dog Is Overheating:
Make sure to try to keep your pup in the shade when it gets hotter outside. It'll give your dog a break from the sun, and you can check and see if your dog is just hot, or actually overheating.
Give your dog some water. Large dogs who are more active (like Huskies) need a lot of water to stay healthy. Make sure to take a lot of water breaks on hotter days, and try feeding your dog ice cubes for a quick cool down.
Have a kiddie pool in your backyard? Huskies are outdoor dogs - they absolutely love being outside, and have a lot of energy. Make sure your pooch has a place to relax outside that's cool, such as a kiddie pool filled with cool or lukewarm water that they can escape to when it gets a little too warm outside for their liking.
Keep their hair under control While Huskies need their coats to regulate their body temperature (AKA DON'T SHAVE YOUR HUSKY), extra hair that's just sitting on their coat and not attached to their skin can overheat your pup quickly. Try brushing your dog regularly to remove excess hair.
Avoid being outside for too long during the day. Your dog obviously needs to go outside for potty breaks, but try to avoid going on long walks during the afternoon when the sun is at its apex and the temperature is at its highest.
If you think your dog has overheated, use luke-warm, wet towels to cool them down. Ideally, an overheated or dehydrated dog should be looked at by your vet as soon as possible. In the interim, lukewarm water, NOT freezing or cold water, is best to cool your dog down.