With their thick, fluffy coat, it comes as no surprise that Shiba Inu does better in the cold. But even the summer will not stop them from frolicking outside. And sometimes, they may stay longer outdoors just to keep on playing.
Because of this, your Shiba Inu may put themselves in harm’s way. Extreme temperatures have severe effects on their body. Sometimes, it can lead to other serious health issues.
As their fur parent, you must keep them safe at all times. And to do this, you must be aware of the right conditions for your Shiba Inu to be in. This article will help you with that, along with some tips to keep your buddy comfortable.
Do Shiba Inu Do Well in Cold Weather?
Thanks to their thick double coat, Shiba Inu are often not bothered by cold weather. Many of them even enjoy playing in the snow, rolling in it, and digging through it. This comes as no surprise if you look into the breed’s history.
Shiba Inu were originally used as hunting dogs in Japan, where it can get chilly. They spent most of their time working outdoors in the cold. They even originated from the mountainous regions in the country where it is much colder.
With this, you do not have to worry much about taking your Shiba Inu outside during the snow. Still, some dogs of the breed may have a lower tolerance for cold days. Factors that affect this include the following:
Puppies and senior Shiba Inu cannot handle the cold as well as adult Shiba Inu.
This is true for puppies because they still have to grow their thick, adult coat. At a young age, they still have a soft, fluffy coat that does not give them enough insulation.
Meanwhile, older Shiba Inu will experience coat thinning. This is a natural process of aging, so you do not need to worry much about it. But this means that they do not have enough protection from the cold.
Other than that, older dogs in general are more prone to health issues, such as arthritis. This also lowers their tolerance for the cold. If they suffer from arthritis, your buddy’s joint pain may worsen during colder months.
So if you have a Shiba Inu puppy or a senior, you will need to be more careful in taking them out on a cold day.
Fat is a natural insulator, and it helps to keep your buddy warm when it is chilly. So as you can expect, a pudgier Shiba Inu will do better in the cold. Meanwhile, a leaner Shiba Inu will not handle cold weather as well as them.
As you can expect, a sick Shiba Inu is not as robust as a healthy one. When they are healthy, the body can concentrate on regulating their body temperature. But if they suffer from a health issue, the body struggles to maintain this.
Their body will be busy fighting off illnesses. Thus, your Shiba Inu needs a ton of rest and to get comfortable for a swift recovery. But the conditions outside on a snowy day are not conducive to this. Thus, if your Shiba Inu has a medical condition, you must limit their exposure to the cold.
How Cold Can a Shiba Inu Tolerate?
Temperatures below 45 degrees F (7.2 degrees C) are tolerable for most Shiba Inu but it will start to get chilly already. Once the temperatures reach below 20 degrees F (-6.7 degrees C), then it is too drastic. Your buddy should not stay outside too long as they will start to shiver and whine.
Keep in mind that this is a general rule to guide you. Each Shiba Inu is different, and some have a stronger or weaker tolerance to the cold. Thus, you need to take the time to get to know your buddy more.
You can do this by assessing their body language whenever you go out on a cold day. The moment they start to shiver or complain, then it is already too cold for them. Check the temperature then, as this will be your furry friend’s baseline.
Do Shiba Inu Like Snow?
The snow will not stop Shiba Inu from having fun, and most of them enjoy it! They will frolic through thick snow and play searching games in it. Once they see a white sheet in your yard, they will dig through it to see what they can find underneath.
Do Shiba Inu Get Cold Easily?
Shiba Inu tolerate cold weather well, and they do not mind playing around in the snow. They have a thick double coat that acts as a jacket to maintain their body temperature. Chilly days are no issue for them as they have gotten used to it throughout their history.
Before they became widely-known pets, Shiba Inu was a proud hunter in Japan. They hunted small game through rough terrain in mountainous regions. And they spent most of their day outside in cold conditions.
For these reasons, Shiba Inu are a great snow breed. They do best if they live in cooler climate areas.
How Do I Keep My Shiba Inu Warm in the Winter?
There are many ways to keep your Shiba Inu warm during the winter. But it all starts with monitoring the temperature outside. Temperatures below 45 degrees F (7.2 degrees C) are tolerable, but if it drops below 20 degrees F (-6.7 degrees C), this is too much.
Keeping an eye on the weather conditions will help you know what to do for your Shiba Inu. If it is extremely cold outside, it is best to stay indoors. But you can still do some extra steps to keep your buddy warm and toasty, such as:
Giving Them Blankets
Most dogs love fluffy blankets, and they will love a warm one even more during a cold day. To make your Shiba Inu extra comfy, warm up blankets with a dryer or radiator. Then wrap your buddy with these blankets as soon as you take them out.
Providing Them With Heating Pads
The fur on your buddy’s stomach is thin and sparse. So you must focus on this area if you are trying to keep them warm.
You can have them lie down on a heating pad, and you can find one for dogs on the market. If you live somewhere cold, investing in a heated dog bed may be the best option. Make sure you buy one with an auto-shutoff function.
If you do not have these, you can also use a hot water bottle. But you must wrap this with a towel so you do not burn your furry friend’s stomach.
Letting Them Drink Warm or Lukewarm Water
Hydration is crucial for your Shiba Inu no matter the season. But during winter, your furry friend must not drink cold water. Instead, you must make sure that they have access to warm or lukewarm drinking water at all times.
Limiting Their Time Outdoors
Even if the temperature is tolerable, your Shiba Inu must not spend too much time outside in the cold. They love to have fun but they may ignore what their body is telling them in the process. Thus, you must be the one to put an end to their playtime if you deem it necessary.
If outside temperatures are too extreme, do not take them outside at all. You still have to keep them exercised, though, but you can do so indoors.
Can Shiba Inu Handle Hot Weather?
Shiba Inu can handle hot weather but they will need extra care. This breed is well-known to work in cold climates, thus they have a thick double coat. So they will struggle to regulate their body temperature the warmer it gets outside.
Your Shiba Inu has a way to combat hot temperatures though. When summer is nearing, they will shed a ton of fur to get rid of their thicker coat. This will get replaced with a thinner summer coat to help keep them cool.
So if you live in a warmer climate, you must be diligent in brushing your buddy’s coat. This allows you to remove any excess fur and improve airflow to their coat. By removing these, more air can penetrate through their coat and reach their skin.
But even with this, your Shiba Inu may still struggle to cool down. They are energetic dogs, and the more they move around, their body temperature rises. This is a big issue if they play outside under the heat of the sun.
If you live somewhere sunny, this breed may not be for you. Your Shiba Inu may end up staying indoors in an air-conditioned room all the time. But this breed needs a lot of exercise and time outdoors.
Even if you keep your home air-conditioned all the time, they will always look for the coolest part of the home. Some Shiba Inu owners mention that their buddies still sweat a lot, even if the room is at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).
This only adds to the list of ways to care for your furry friend, and you will have to work around this. So if you plan on getting this breed, make sure to consider the average temperature of your location.
If you live in a cooler climate area, this breed is a great option for you. But if you live somewhere warm, sunny, and humid, you have to look for another dog breed to get.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for a Shiba Inu?
Temperatures above 75 degrees F (24 degrees C) is already too warm for your Shiba Inu to handle. They will begin to pant and sweat more through their paws and nose with this. If outside temperatures are this high, make sure you keep your Shiba Inu indoors instead.
If you do not do this, your Shiba Inu will be at risk of several health issues, such as:
- Heat Stroke
Shiba Inu may have a thick double coat, but this will be thinner during the summer. After shedding off their winter coat, they will have some exposed patches of skin. If you continue to let them play too much under the sun, they will get sunburned.
With this, make sure that you always use dog sunscreen to protect them from the sun. Do not use human sunscreen, as a lot of them are toxic for dogs.
The more your Shiba Inu sweats, the more they lose moisture from their body. If they do not drink enough water, they will get dehydrated.
Some signs of dehydration in dogs include:
- Dry eyes, nose, and mouth
- Red gums
- Rapid heart rate
- Sunken eyes
You can also do a simple test to check for dehydration. Begin by pressing on their gum line and see how their gums react.
In hydrated dogs, their gums will appear white for a moment but quickly turn red again. But in dehydrated dogs, it takes a while before the color starts to come back, around three seconds or so.
Extremely hot temperatures can cause heatstroke in your Shiba Inu. It is a serious heat-related illness in dogs. Thus, this is a medical emergency.
If left untreated, it can cause severe health consequences, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Intestinal bleeding
- Abnormal blood clotting
In some cases, heat stroke can even result in the death of your buddy in under an hour.
The first sign of a heat stroke is often heat cramps. But this can exhibit itself in various ways, such as:
How Do I Keep My Shiba Inu Cool in the Summer?
The best way to keep your Shiba Inu cool during the summer is to limit its time outdoors. To add, you must plan their schedule carefully and only make them go out during cooler times of the day. By doing so, you are already lessening their risk of dehydration, heatstroke, and more.
Other than that, though, you have a few other ways to keep them comfortable during summer. Here are some that your Shiba Inu needs to cool down:
Free Access to Drinking Water
Your Shiba Inu will sweat a lot during hotter months. And they may be losing more water faster than gaining it. This is what puts your furry friend at risk for dehydration.
To combat this, make sure your Shiba Inu can always drink cool water whenever they want. You may want to place their water bowls at strategic locations too. Putting them wherever your buddy frequents will entice them to drink more.
Access to Shade
When your Shiba Inu does go outside, make sure they have access to a shaded area. This way, they can retreat somewhere if they feel like they are getting too hot. This can be under a tree, or even on your porch.
When it is too hot out, keep your Shiba Inu indoors with the air conditioner running. This is one of the best ways to keep them cool and comfortable during summer. You have to find a temperature that your buddy likes, though.
Some still sweat even when the ambient temperature is 68 degrees F (20 degrees C). So your Shiba Inu may want a room that is cooler than this.
These pads work like heating pads, but they work to cool down your Shiba Inu. To get the most out of cooling pads, make sure your furry friend’s stomach is on this. The fur on the stomach is thinner and sparser, so the pad can reach the skin more easily here.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Like the Sun?
Most dogs love sunbathing because it feels good, and the same is true for your Shiba Inu! The extra warmth brings them comfort, especially on a chilly day. But the benefits of sunbathing also go deeper than this.
Much like humans, dogs also get vitamin D by sunbathing. Their process is different from ours though. Your Shiba Inu has a thick coat, so the sun does not reach its skin easily.
Instead, the vitamin D they get from the sun will stay on their fur. And your Shiba Inu has to lick their fur to ingest their dose of vitamin D.
You must make sure that your Shiba Inu uses sunscreen if they enjoy the sun, though. Otherwise, they may get sunburned.