With their history as hunters, the Shiba Inu thrive outdoors and withstand different weather climates. They have double-layered coats that act as insulation during the winter and protection from sunburn in hotter months.
However, their thick and heavy undercoats might be unpleasantly hot as the temperature rises for your Shiba Ibu.
Yes, Shiba Inu can stay outside in the heat, but precautions should be in place to ensure they are comfortable and safe.
For starters, you can check their hydration levels throughout the day, be conscious of how long you’ve been walking them out in the sun, and make sure there are shaded spots for them to cool down.
How does Shiba Inu dissipate heat?
Since they don’t sweat like humans, Shiba Inus transfer heat from their bodies by panting.
They also dissipate heat through their paws, underbelly, and nose. This is why your Shiba’s nose may feel wet in the summer. Their nasal glands secrete watery fluid that keeps their noise moist and keeping them cool.
Dangers of Keeping your Shiba out in the heat
Here are the dangers of keeping your Shiba Inu out in the heat and without precaution.
Typically, Shiba Inus are not at high risk of sunburn due to their thick double coats. However, some areas of their skin are exposed after the shedding season. In this case, you can use dog sunscreen for protection.
Human sunscreen is allowed as long as it is non-toxic and free of para-aminobenzoic acid.
Heat stroke and exhaustion
A dog’s normal body temperature is around 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F. And if it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, it is already at risk of exhaustion and any higher than that, can lead to heatstroke.
Owners should notice if their Shiba is panting more labored than usual and moving sluggishly.
And on hot days, it is highly discouraged to leave your dogs inside a car.
Car temperatures can rise from 75 to 110 degrees F in 15 minutes. This is dangerous for thick-coated dogs and is fatal.
Dehydrated dogs appear lethargic and have dry eyes, mouths, and noses. The signs of severe dehydration are rapid heart rate, bright red gums, weakness, shivers, and sunken eyes.
If unsure, you can test dehydration by pressing your index fingers on the dog’s gum line so that it changes to white. In healthy dogs, color should be back immediately. But if it takes 3 seconds or longer, your Shiba might be dehydrated.
What you can do to protect your Shiba Inu during summer
You can take several precautions to ensure your Shiba Inu survives the harsh heat in hotter months.
And this includes:
Set up a cool place
If your Shiba stays inside the house, consider turning the AC on for them. A water bed is also a good choice; keep the blinds and drapes down on hot days.
If they are outside in your garden, a small pool is good to ward off the heat.
An air conditioning unit is recommended for Shiba Inus who live in warmer countries (or places with hot summers). According to the Department of Energy, the recommended temperature is 78-80 degrees if you leave your pet indoors.
If an AC is out of the picture, a fan is a good option for added ventilation.
Keep them hydrated
On hot days, your Shiba Inu should drink more water. Water helps dogs cool down and allows better heat loss through panting.
As mentioned, dogs dissipate heat by panting. The more your dog pants, the more water it needs to replenish the moisture lost.
A useful tip for dog owners is to use stainless steel or ceramic water bowl instead of plastic. Bacteria are more likely to thrive in plastic water containers. The heat also encourages bacteria and other organisms to grow.
Keep your Shiba’s water bowls clean by washing them daily and frequently refilling them during summer.
Early morning and late night walks
In the summer, it gets hot during the day and only cools down in the evening. So schedule your Shiba walks during cooler hours, usually early morning and later evening.
Remember to bring water and always offer breaks in shaded areas. Be mindful of your Shiba and adjust the length of the walk depending on how hot it is.
What to avoid during the summer as dog owners
Be a responsible dog owner and make sure your Shiba is safe and comfortable during the summer by avoiding any of these:
Do not leave your Shiba inside your car
A car can heat up quickly, so don’t leave your dog inside your vehicle during the summer even with windows open or even for a short time.
Remember, dogs cannot dissipate body heat as quickly as humans can. This puts them at high risk of heatstroke. Most dog heatstroke cases are caused by owners leaving their pets inside the car.
Do not leave your Shiba in the backyard alone
If you won’t be able to bring your Shiba with you, leave him inside the house instead of outside. Make sure it has a supply of clean water and that the house has good ventilation.
Better if your home has a dog door so your Shiba can decide to go in or out. If yes, make sure also to leave clean water outside.
Do not overexercise
Any activities can raise your Shiba’s temperature, so don’t overexercise your dog. Be mindful of their behavior and keep track if they are panting more than usual and are also exhausted.