A concern for any German Shepherd owner is how their GSD will cope during summer. They’re panting like crazy and you want to help keep them cool, so what do you do?
This article has everything you need to know about German shepherds in hot weather
8 Ways to keep your German Shepherd cool in summer:
- Always keep one room shaded and cool
- Use elevated cooling beds!
- Avoid the midday sunshine and heat
- Keep water fresh, cool, and prominent
- Provide frozen treats
- Be careful with his paws!
- Get a doggy paddling pool
- Don’t be tempted to shave his coat
What Temperature Is Too Hot For a German Shepherd?
The upper limit for most German Shepherds is about 30-32C (86-89F). This is already very hot and this temperature alone can cause heatstroke and dehydration if your GSD doesn’t remain in the shade and well hydrated.
Even if your GSD can momentarily handle 30-32C, it is by no means recommended for them to remain at this temperature.
You should never push the limit as to how hot your German Shepherd can tolerate. To put this all into perspective, the comfortable temperature for a GSD is 20C (70F) or lower.
8 Ways To Keep Your German Shepherd Cool In Summer
If you implement the tips below, your German Shepherd will remain comfortable and safe during those hot summer days.
1. Always Keep One Room Shaded & Cool
This sounds like a no-brainer, but doing this alone will help your GSD significantly. Most GSDs will enjoy a certain amount of sunbathing, but when enough is enough, they should have a cool, shaded room they can go to (at all times).
Keep one room in your house with the shades drawn, or use a UV sunblind. Keep a fan switched on, a cool blower, or leave the AC running. Whichever you decide, your German Shepherd will be extremely grateful.
He can then freely come and go, whenever HE decides that he’s getting too hot. This tip alone is huge.
2. Elevated Cooling Beds!
Elevated cooling beds consist of a lightweight aluminum frame with a trampoline-type material as the bed, and they are raised about 6-12 inches off the ground.
Due to the bed being raised, the breeze can wisp underneath their belly, and as the material is breathable, your GSD’s body heat can escape with ease.
Elevated beds are inexpensive and work wonders! This one is our favorite. Once you get one of these I guarantee it will be your GSD’s favorite place to lay!
3. Avoid The Midday Sunshine & Heat
If you really want to prevent heatstroke and dehydration, keep your German Shepherd out of the midday sun and heat.
This includes time spent in the yard as well as their daily exercise. It’s much safer and more comfortable to walk him early morning and in the evening when the sun is lower.
Noon until 3pm is generally the hottest part of the day, but this can change depending on your location.
4. Keep Water Fresh, Cool, and Prominent
Being properly hydrated will keep your German Shepherd’s body temperature regulation working efficiently. Dehydration is his worst enemy in summer, and once it sets in, will make him feel even hotter, more uncomfortable, and eventually sick.
It’s up to us to keep our dogs properly hydrated because unfortunately, they never drink enough when it’s left down to them.
Be sure to refresh his water frequently, even if it hasn’t been drunk. It comes as a surprise to some, but dogs don’t actually like their water warm, mucky, and filled with their own spit!
Keep his water refreshed and be sure to have it located in a prominent area, or better yet, invest in 2 or 3 water bowls for different rooms.
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5. Provide Frozen Treats & Ice Cube Treats
You can get really creative with the different style of frozen treats to try!
You can infuse ice cubes with low-sodium meat stock, peanut butter, yogurt, or even just plop a few normal ice cubes into his water bowl to make it a game!
You can easily make some healthy frozen chew treats by freezing large whole carrots and whole bananas (avoid choking hazards by keeping them whole and large). Treats like this will help your GSD feel nice and cool, even if it’s just temporarily.
6. Be Careful With His PAWS
Your German Shepherd’s paw pads are the first point of contact to the ground, and outside pavements and tarmacs can become incredibly hot in the sun.
It’s very easy for certain surfaces to become hot enough to BURN your GSD’s paws. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s always too hot for his paws. So be very cautious of where your GSD walks both in your yard, and when out on walks.
Burnt paws will be incredibly painful and will need veterinary attention.
Interesting: Do German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?
7. Doggy Paddling Pool
This might sound a little gimmicky, but it’s actually a very good idea and will keep your German Shepherd both cool and super happy.
GSD’s are excellent swimmers with a little training, and there’s nothing more fun than splashing around in a doggy paddling pool.
You don’t have to replace the water all the time, and it will serve as great fun every single day.
If you want to periodically make it deep enough to swim, go ahead, but it’s safer to keep the water level to where your GSD can lay down, and still keep his head above the water. Your GSD will soon LOVE laying down in the water!
Please be careful and only go ahead with this when you are there to supervise. Be sure to check out this excellent doggy paddling pool on Amazon.
8. Don’t Be Tempted To Shave His Coat!
I’m sure you are already aware of the serious pitfalls of shaving a double-coated breed, but if you don’t know, read on…
It can be tempting to shave or give your GSD “a little haircut” in order to remove some of that thick fur. Although this has good intentions behind it, it will cause far more harm than good, and WILL NOT help to cool your German Shepherd down.
The double-coat performs many important functions, the guard hairs protect from bugs, insect bites, dirt, and UV sun rays, and the undercoat (which will have shedded anyway during summer) is there to keep them warm in the winter.
If the coat is shaved, it completely messes up your GSD’s ability to protect himself and regulate his own body temperature. It’s a complete myth that shaving or even trimming will help cool them down… Not to mention there’s a strong chance of ruining the coat for years to come.
Can German Shepherds Live In Hot Weather?
Although German Shepherds have thick double-coats, they can adapt quite well to hot countries and climates. In hot weather, it’s necessary to provide a cool and shaded room for when it gets uncomfortable outside.
As long as your German Shepherd is not kept in direct sunshine or has to endure ridiculously high temperatures like 35C (95F) without a rest, he will be capable of adapting and remaining happy.
German Shepherds, after all, are one the world’s most popular dog breeds and are owned in hot places all around the world.
GSD’s are extremely popular in Southern California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, India, Africa, and many parts of Asia. All of which can become incredibly hot.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Let me know how your GSD tolerates the summer. If you live in a hot region, be sure to send me a message! Thank you for reading!