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Bernese Mountain Dogs & Hot Weather: 8 Tips & FAQs

  • Vet Approved Content

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs are surprisingly adaptable, they generally don’t do so well in hot climates. As responsible owners, it’s important for us to help them as much as possible during summer or hot weather.

This article answers important FAQs and provides 8 great ways to keep your Berner cool.

The 8 best ways to keep your Bernese Mountain Dog cool:

1. Use an elevated cooling bed
2. Avoid walking hot surfaces
3. Do not shave his coat
4. Ensure he has a breeze
5. Use Ice Cubes
6. Keep him drinking water
7. Avoid midday sun and provide shade
8. Exercise at the right time of day

can-bernese-mountain-dogs-live-in-hot-weather

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Tolerate Hot Weather

Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs can live in hot weather but they need extra help from their owners to remain cool and comfortable. And while they can adapt, it goes without saying, they are better suited to cold countries.

Countries like India and Malaysia, and States in the USA like Texas, California, and Florida seem to have a keen interest in these big fluffy giants, but they also happen to be incredibly hot places.

It’s crucial to implement all the tips outlined below to ensure your Berner can feel as comfortable as possible.

Rightfully so, many people have strong opinions on this topic and say that owning breeds like Berners is cruel if you live in a hot climate.

Although this is understandable, the truth is that we as responsible owners can do a range of things to make living in hot countries comfortable and safe.

Personally, I have experience working with northern breeds like the Siberian Husky living happily in countries where the average temperature is around 30°C (90°F) with sunshine most of the year.

8 Best Ways To Keep Your Bernese Mountain Dog Cool

Let’s run through exactly what you can do to keep your Berner cool this summer. Let’s start with elevated cooling beds!

1. Use an elevated cooling bed

Elevated cooling beds are simply awesome. They work so well at keeping dogs cool in the summer and they’re really inexpensive compared to many other fancy cooling mats on the market.

Elevated cooling beds use a tough perforated meshing for your Berner to lay on which is about 7-10 inches off the floor.

The reason these beds work so well is that there’s a constant breeze underneath the belly area of your Berner. This design allows him to expel A LOT of body heat out from his underbelly and will work wonders at keeping him cool.

This is a highly recommended cooling bed from Coolaroo on Amazon. Check it out here (Amazon)

2. Avoid walking on hot surfaces

A little know fact about dog paws is that they are incredibly sensitive to heat. This means we have to be very thoughtful about what surfaces our dogs walk on.

Pavement and tarmac can become very hot in just a short amount of time. Try to be conscious of this!

We all know that sweating is a way to cool down and you guessed it, your Berner has sweat glands in his paws. Keeping the paws healthy and in good condition will allow proper functioning of the sweat glands, which will contribute to keeping him cool.

If he burns his paws on hot pavements, not only is it very painful, but it could impair his ability to sweat properly.

This is something to think about when taking him out for walks and letting him outside in the yard. Always stick to the grass when possible.

A good rule to remember is that if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for his paws.

3. Do not shave his coat

I still see to this day some owners shaving their double-coated dogs in order to “cool them down”…

It doesn’t work like that!

Shaving a double-coated breed will only make matters worse! Although the thick coat does an excellent job of keeping him warm in the winter, it actually plays a surprising role in keeping him cool in the summer. Yep, hard to believe, but it’s true!

How does it do this?

Double-coated breeds have two layers of fur, the topcoat, and the undercoat. The undercoat is the coat that sheds as warm weather approaches. This shed creates a gap between the skin and the remaining topcoat, which encourages airflow that ultimately helps keep him cool.

The remaining topcoat has other important roles, one of which is to block direct heat and UV rays from the sun. And it does a great job of it too.

If the coat is shaved, his skin is exposed to the strong UV rays and he just won’t be able to cool down effectively. Despite how weird this seems, it really does work like this.

Plus, when a double-coated breed is shaved, when it regrows (if it regrows), the undercoat often gets tangled and matted within the topcoat. This happens because the coats grow at different rates. This can ruin his coat for a very long time and may cause a range of health issues.

4. Give him a breeze

You could sit there and blow in his face for 3 hours, or get a fan!

But seriously, Bernese Mountain Dogs LOVE their breeze in hot weather. A constant flow of air is actually why cooling beds work so well.

A/C is of course going to help, but switching on a desk fan or ceiling fan will be the final touch.

In my experience living in the Philippines with Siberian Huskies, the second a fan is turned on, that’s their favorite place to be and it’s probably the most effective way that we can help them cool down.

For those who aren’t using A/C, I recommend opening some doors and windows to encourage airflow. If you live in a place where there is absolutely no wind at all, then it’s probably best to keep the windows and doors shut.

5. Ice cubes and ice treats

Ice cubes can act as an entertaining game and will certainly help your Berner feel cooler throughout the day.

Although you may want to think about where you do this, as it can get quite messy.

You can hand him a few ice cubes to lick, chew, and eat, or place them in his water, which is a good trick to get him drinking more!

Why not try something similar with treats…

You can either buy ready-made dog ice cream to go in the freezer or you can make some simple homemade frozen treats using dairy-free yogurt and peanut butter mixed together in small cubes. You can also use an ice-cube tray and freeze chicken broth to make meaty ice cubes! Just be careful of the salt and calories.

All are fun interesting ways to keep your Berner entertained and cool at the same time. Although it may not last very long!

6. Keep him hydrated

Who invited captain obvious? Oops. Although this is an obvious one, it’s worth reading!

It’s really easy to forget to replace our dog’s water, especially when the water bowl is still full up. But we should...

If your Berner becomes thirsty he’s eventually going to drink. But that’s not good enough. When the temperature is high we need to encourage him to drink more.

That means having his water bowl regularly changed and topped up with cold, fresh water.

Dog’s in general, will always drink more from their bowl if the water is fresh and cold, without any gunk in it.

For many years I thought my dogs didn’t care about this, but they do. The more you change his water, the more he’ll be inclined to drink it. It’s just like that.

I admit, hydration is a boring (and obvious) tip, but it’s so critical I have to mention it.

7. Avoid midday sun and heat

It’s even recommended that we stay out of the midday sun, and it’s the same for our furry friends.

The hours of the midday sun vary slightly depending on where you are in the world, but for most countries, 12 noon until around 3 pm will be the strongest and hottest part of the day. Exactly the times it’s important to keep your Berner inside and in the shade.

Your Berner will be much better off inside in a room that’s protected from the sun, investing in UV blinds is also a good idea if your home has large exposed windows.

8. Exercise at the right times of day

Last but not least, exercise should be done early in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.

This pretty much goes hand in hand with keeping him inside throughout the hottest part of the day.

I know everyone has different schedules and this may be hard to work around your schedule.

Thankfully there are many dog-walking services online and it’s not hard to find a trustworthy dog lover to take your Berner for a walk whenever you are unable to.

A simple Google search for “dog walking services near me” and you’ll instantly have many businesses to check out.

Related: Why Is My Bernese Mountain Dog Panting So Much?

What Temperature Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Tolerate?

Many owners ask this question but the truth is that there isn’t a specific answer. Some Berners will be able to tolerate heat better than others. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set temperature level that we know is “too hot”.

As a general guideline, however, when the temperature rises above 20° Degrees Celsius or 70° Degrees Fahrenheit most dogs will start to feel uncomfortable from there on out, especially medium to large breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs

According to Vets Now:

It’s generally safe in temperatures of up to 19°C (68°F) but be careful when the mercury rises above this. Even at temperatures as low as 20°C (70°F) dogs are at risk of heatstroke.

Vet’s Now Hot Weather Safety Article

Leaving Your Bernese Mountain Dog Alone On Hot Days

On hot summer days that your Berner will be at home alone, it’s absolutely necessary to have someone go to your house to check in on him, replace his water and see that he’s ok.

Enlist the help of family, friends, and if that’s not possible, a dog sitter will be your next option.

How long can he go without supervision on a hot day?

General veterinarian advice is no longer than 2-4 hours. Every dog is different and your Berner may be more comfortable than others at dealing with heat. But even if he is comfortable, he’s not going to be able to refill his own water.

The less time he spends alone, the better.

berner-hot-weather

Other Bernese Mountain Dog Articles on The Puppy Mag
How Often Should You Bathe a Bernese Mountain Dog
Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim? (What About Their Size?)
Bernese Mountain Dog Correct Growth & Weight (ALL INFO)

Summary

So there you have it! You now have some great tips that will help you keep your Bernese Mountain Dog cool this summer. If you have any more tips be sure to comment below.

Back to more Bernese Mountain Dog articles >>



Disclaimer

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