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Great Pyrenees are large mountain dogs known for their sweet temperaments and thick, white, fluffy coats. These dogs are incredibly tolerant of cold weather and even tolerant of extreme weather in general. But, Pyrs were not built for long, hot days, in the sun.
So, how hot is too hot for Great Pyrenees?
Because Great Pyrenees are so large and have an incredibly thick coat, they don’t do well in the heat. Any temperature over 70°F can be dangerous. Early walks, shade, and cool water can help your Great Pyrenees enjoy the warm weather safely. Be cautious so you can keep your dog from overheating this summer.
If you’re interested in learning more about heatstroke in Great Pyrenees and how to avoid it, keep reading!
What is Hyperthermia In Dogs?
Hyperthermia is the medical term for heat stroke or overheating. From this point on when we mention any one of these, we are talking about the same thing!
Hyperthermia in dogs is defined by the AKC Canine Health Foundation as anything significant increase in a dog’s normal body temperature. The normal body temperature for a dog is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. The exact temperature for hyperthermia varies among different dogs.
Dogs can become hyperthermic on hot days and when they are exerting themselves while playing or working.
So I know what you might be thinking, how will I know if my dog is overheating, especially if I don’t have an internal thermometer to check them with?
Luckily, there are many signs and symptoms associated with heat stroke in dogs.
What Are The Signs Of Heat Stroke?
Great Pyrenees, and dogs, in general, won’t just immediately overheat. Hyperthermia is a process, with three definitive stages that you can observe in a hot dog. While no steps in this process are good for your dog, it’s important to understand the difference between a little heat stress and a full-out heat stroke!
Heat Stress is the first stage that can be seen in a hot dog. While these signs aren’t exactly normal, they still aren’t a cause for concern and can be easily righted with some cold water or shade!
Heat stress will cause your dog to pant excessively, and pull back their lips to show their gums and teeth. Their gums will usually be a bright, brick red and their tongue will loll out of their mouth.
Heat exhaustion is basically an extension of heat stress. If your dog has reached this stage of overheating, they need to see a veterinarian, ASAP!
All of the signs of heat stress will be observed in heat exhaustion, just exaggerated. Your dog may start vomiting or having diarrhea and they might have trouble walking straight or standing up.
Heat stroke is the final stage of hyperthermia and can be fatal in dogs. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms it’s likely they need emergency care.
Along with all of the previous signs, dogs experiencing heat stroke may show a change in alertness, sometimes resulting in unconsciousness, seizures, or tremors. So, a Great Pyrenees experiencing heat stroke will likely not be able to get up and move on their own and will need to be transported to a vet.
Can Heat Stroke Be Treated?
Heat Stroke is treatable!
But, you should not attempt to treat this serious condition at home! At a vet’s office, heat stroke is treated with aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, antibiotics, and other measures to lower your dog’s core temperature. As long as you get your dog to the vet quickly, they have a good chance of overcoming heat stroke.
What Puts A Dog At Greater Risk For Heat Stroke?
All dogs are at different risk levels for contracting heat stroke. Knowing these risk factors can help you evaluate what temperatures might be safe for your Great Pyrenees.
Even though they have big powerful heads, they aren’t short-nosed so luckily, we don’t have to worry about this issue with Great Pyrenees, but, it’s worth mentioning!
Brachycephalic breeds, like Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers are breeds that have a dramatically decreased trachea size. This means that breathing is a little more difficult for them overall. When you add heat to the mix, it becomes more difficult for these dogs to effectively pant and cool off.
Being overweight is something that can definitely put a dog more at risk to overheat.
Carrying extra weight makes it easier to become hot and at the same time harder to dump that extra heat. Not only is keeping your dog’s weight normal good for avoiding heat stroke, but it will also help them maintain their optimal health throughout the years.
Having a thick coat is like wearing a winter jacket in the summer that you can’t remove.
Dogs with thick cots meant for winter insulation can overheat more easily. Their thick coats trap the heat from the sun and don’t allow it to escape. Even if your dog sheds a lot in spring, they might still have too thick of a coat for your summer climate.
Active dog breeds are at risk of overheating, even when it’s not an especially hot day.
When dogs exert themselves, they become warm from the inside out, just like we do. Muscles have to heat up to move quickly. For active dog breeds, like herding dogs, this can be a real issue. On a hot day, it might get to the point where you need to confine your hyper dog to the indoors until it cools down.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the seriousness of hyperthermia. We don’t want to scare you, we just want you to know how easy it is for your dog to overheat, and what signs to watch out for. Now, let’s talk about Great Pyrenees more specifically.
What Temperature Can Great Pyrenees Handle?
So, we talked about some of the things that make dogs more prone to overheating! So, how do they relate back to our beloved Pyrs?
We know that Great Pyrenees are not brachycephalic, they have very open airways and are efficient breathers. Great Pyrenees don’t tend to be very active dogs either. After the puppy stage, they can still be very playful but tend to be chill and relaxed dogs.
But, Great Pyrenees can become obese and definitely have a thick coat.
Great Pyrenees are well known for their thick coat! And there is a good reason that they have such a thick coat. Originally, Great Pyrenees were bred to protect heard of sheep high up in the mountains. They had to be able to stay outside in the dead of winter with their flock. Now, they usually don’t need to spend evenings outside, but still, have that double-layered coat. This is actually one of the reasons why Great Pyrenees shed so much!
Even though Great Pyrenees will shed a lot of their double-layered coat in the spring, it still will keep them warmer than most dogs.
Because Great Pyrenees are semi-lazy, large breed dogs, it is possible for them to become obese. Obesity in a Great Pyrenees is not a good thing. It can shorten their already short life span, put pressure on their joints, and make them even hotter in the Summer!
The maximum temperature that a Great Pyrenees can handle varies depending on size, age, and activity level. However, it’s safe to say that most GReat Pyrenees will not tolerate a sitting temperature over 9o°F.
What Temperature Is Safe For Great Pyrenees?
Just because a Pyr might be able to tolerate temperatures up to 9o°F, doesn’t mean they should.
What they can hand;e and what’s safe for them are two different things. The safest temperature for a Great Pyrenees is anywhere below 70°F. Once it is over 70°F, there starts to be a risk of your Pyr overheating. As the temperature increases, the risk only gets higher.
So, once it’s above 70°F make sure to take steps to keep your dog nice and cool throughout the day! If you’re not sure how to best do this, we have some tricks down below.
When Is It Safe To Walk A Great Pyrenees Outside?
If you’re wondering when you can take your Pyrenees on a walk outside, there is one more thing you need to factor into the equation.
The asphalt you might walk your dog on can be way hotter than the surrounding air! Actually, it’s possible that there might be a difference of up to 40°F. This means that even if the temperature is tolerable for your furry friend, the sidewalk or road might not be.
In the summer, we recommend walking your pooch either in the early morning or late evening, when the air and ground are at their coolest. This way, you can avoid your dog overheating or even burning their paws. For more in-depth information about this, read our article on when it’s too hot to walk your dog outside.
How Can You Work Around Hot Weather?
So, with the climate changing things seem to be heating up worldwide. What can we do to protect our furry friends from heat stroke? Is it possible to have a Great Pyrenees when you live somewhere very hot in the summer?
Of course, it is! As long as you are aware of the situation and extra cautious on hot days, you shouldn’t have a problem with your dog.
Here are some actionable steps you can take this Summer to protect your Great Pyrenees.
Early or Late Walks
Something as simple as walking your dog usually doesn’t take much planning.
I personally take my dog for a little stroll whenever I need a break from my work! But, when it’s warm out I always think twice.
On hot days, or days that will be over 70°F, you should only walk your dog in the early morning and late evening, and you should really never take your dog for a walk between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
The early morning is the absolute best time to take your pup on a walk! Usually, the early morning is the coolest time of the day. Plus, there has usually been enough time for the ground to let go of some of the heat it picked up throughout the previous day.
The late evening is also a good time to walk your pup, although you’ll notice the evening does stay a bit warmer from the after-effects of the sun. Either way, you and your dog will be much more comfortable planning a time to walk when the sun is not at its highest!
Access To Shade or Air Conditioning
Giving your Great Pyrenees access to a cool area might seem obvious, but, it’s not always something dog owners think about.
If you are keeping your dog indoors while you’re at work, you need to make sure that the air conditioning system remains on. A house can get very warm and stuff during the summer and even though you aren’t there to feel it, your dog might be suffering during the day.
If you have to leave your dog outside in the extreme heat, they need to have a big shady area that’s over a substrate other than concrete. Ideally, a grass yard with plenty of trees is a great option. If you don’t have the possibility of cool shady areas in your backyard, you shouldn’t leave your Pyr outside in the summer.
Access To Cool Water For Drinking or Swimming
Dogs always need access to water, even when it’s not hot. But, when it is war outside, water helps cool dogs down and regulate their core body temperatures.
Drinking water should be kept cool indoors or kept in a spot that will stay shady all day long outside.
But, a fun additional way to offer your dog cool water is to give them a place to swim.
Many dogs are big fans of kiddie pools in the summertime. This is a great video showing a group of GReat Pyrenees using a kiddie pool to cool off.
See, doesn’t that look fun?
Many Great Pyrenees enjoy lying in or playing in shallow water, some of them are even decent swimmers! If you’re thinking your Pyr would never go in the water, we have some tips for you in this article. And, if you’re taking them to a lake or river to cool down, make sure you check out our top 6 best life jackets for Great Pyrenees first.
We hope that after reading this article you feel educated and empowered to make the right decisions for your Great Pyrenees. Hyperthermia can come on fast and unexpectedly, so doing everything you can to avoid it is the best thing for your dog.
Remember that Great Pyrenees weren’t bred to be in extremely hot areas, but, wth your help, they can still have a fun and safe summer.