The Dangers of Outdoor Temperatures for Husky Dogs

by Jessica Ring, Demand Media
    Always make sure that your husky is safe and cool during warmer months.

    Always make sure that your husky is safe and cool during warmer months.

    The Siberian Husky was originally bred by the Chukchi people to pull sleds long distances in sub-zero temperatures, and the breed is still famous as sled-dogs today. The Siberian Husky has a dense double-coat and can withstand very cold temperatures. However, his thick coat also makes him vulnerable to overheating in hot weather. Husky owners should take precautions during the summer, particularly in warmer climates, to ensure that their husky is comfortable and safe.

    Cold Weather

    Siberian huskies are bred to be resilient, and they can withstand temperatures as cold as -60 degrees F (-51 degrees C). Sled dogs often live outdoors in barns or insulated dog houses. However, your Siberian husky should be allowed to spend equal amounts of time indoors and outdoors. Although huskies thrive in cold weather, you should always provide a dog house if your husky is spending considerable amounts of time outdoors. The dog house should be insulated, have a door to protect against wind, and be just large enough to accommodate your pet. Avoid using fabric or blankets, because the dog will track snow into the doghouse and the blankets may eventually freeze. Hay (or straw) is the best bedding for doghouses because it is absorbent and warm.

    Hot Weather

    Huskies can adapt to live just about anywhere, but owners must take special precautions if they live in warmer climates. During the summer, always provide plenty of shade and water when the husky is outdoors. Consider placing a plastic toddler pool in the backyard for when your husky needs to cool off. If the temperature is especially warm, keep your husky in the house with the air-conditioning on. Do not take them on long runs or walks during very hot days, especially if they appear sluggish or lethargic. Most importantly, do not shave their coats during the summertime. The husky's undercoat controls its body temperature in both hot and cold weather. Shaving the coat will make your dog susceptible to sunburn and take away the ability to regulate its temperature.

    Exercise

    Siberian huskies were bred to run long distances, and require a lot of exercise. However, exercising your husky in extreme climates can be difficult. During the winter, you may have to bundle up and take your husky for a walk through the snow. During the summer, you should only walk your husky in the early morning or after the sun has gone down. Look for signs of overheating and keep the walks just long enough to your husky's content. If you have a basement or other large open area in your home, consider playing with your husky indoors to tire him out.

    Signs of Overheating and Dehydration

    You should familiarize yourself with the signs of overheating and dehydration in dogs. If your dog is dehydrated, he will have a dry nose and gums, sunken eyes, and poor skin elasticity. To test your dog's skin elasticity, pull up on skin located on the back of its neck. If it does not return to normal immediately, your dog may be dehydrated. Signs of overheating in dogs include noisy breathing and panting, disorientation, collapsing or convulsions, and discolored gums. If you suspect your dog is suffering from either condition, you should take it to the veterinarian immediately. Both conditions are very serious and can lead to canine death.

    About the Author

    Jessica Ring began writing and editing professionally in 2006 for "The Voice," her university's collegiate newspaper. She is a certified English teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and English literature. She is currently in the process of obtaining her master's degree in education.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images