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One of the best things about owning a Great Pyrenees is how big and fluffy they are. These gentle giants seem like they were made to cuddle with. Besides cuddling, this thick and fluffy coat serves a purpose, it keeps your dog warm in very cold temperatures. The downside of this thick coat is that it can get hot underneath.
So, what can you do when it starts to heat up and your Great Pyrenees gets warm?
If it’s over 70°F outside, you’ll need to cool your Great Pyrenees down. To help your Pyr stay cool, always provide fresh water and shade. Never shave a Great Pyrenees coat, it helps keep them cool. You can also try to take your dog swimming, get them a cooling bed, and give them frozen treats.
Keep reading to find out, just how to keep an eye on your dog in the hot weather, and make sure that they aren’t overheating.
How Do Dogs Cool Down Naturally?
Dogs have different techniques to cool down than we humans do. Humans aren’t necessarily built for cold weather. We have almost no fur on our bodies. Plus, when our internal temperature rises, we can sweat to cool down. Dogs are a little different.
For one, dogs don’t have very functional sweat glands. They can’t use evaporation from sweating to cool down. Most dogs are built to conserve body heat and are stocky and furry with almost no exposed skin. The only way that dogs can release excess heat is by panting or through their foot pads.
You can imagine that these two methods aren’t very effective if the ground and the air around them are also hot. With a big fluffy dog, like a Great Pyrenees, heat can be dicey.
Does The Great Pyrenees Coat Help Them To Stay Cool?
Surprisingly, the Great Pyrenees’ white coat does have some sort of a cooling effect. Great Pyrenees shed a lot but particularly have two shedding seasons.
In preparation for the summer, the Great Pyrenees blow their coats. This means that they shed a lot of hair at one time. The bottom layer of their double-layered coat becomes dramatically thinner, while the top layer of the coat stays coarse and protective. The tough top layer of the coat is essential in reflecting sunlight.
So, the Great Pyrenees coat is multi-functional and pretty weather resistant.
How Hot Is Too Hot For A Great Pyrenees?
So, when do you need to worry about a Great Pyrenees heating up?
Unfortunately, Great Pyrenees are at risk of hyperthermia or heat stroke at temperatures of 70°F or higher. Their spectacular furry coat and large size help to keep them warm in the cold, but can cause them to overheat and warm weather.
This doesn’t mean that your Pyr can’t go out during this kind of weather, it just means that you need to keep a close eye on your pup. Some factors, like age, weight, and temperament can make your dog more or less prone to become hyperthermic.
What Are The Signs Of Heat Stroke (Hyperthermia)?
If you’re out and about with your pup, in warm weather, you want to know what the signs of heat stroke are.
A dog with heat stroke might breathe quickly and loudly. Their heart rate will be elevated and their temperature will be high (above 103°F). Other signs of hyperthermia are fatigue, vomiting, disorientation, drooling, and or bright red gums.
If you think that your dog is overheating, the first thing you need to do is cool them down. Move them to a shady spot and pour cold water on their bodies. Try to get them to drink, cold water and get them to the nearest vet as soon as possible.
Let’s talk about how to keep your Great Pyrenees cool, so you don’t have to worry about treating heat stroke at all.
How To Keep Great Pyrenees Cool
There are so many small things that you can do to keep your pets cool during warm weather. There are a few things that your Pyrenees will enjoy on a hot summer day.
1. Always Provide Fresh Drinking Water
The number one way to keep your Great Pyrenees cool is to keep them hydrated. Dehydration is a fast track to hyperthermia. Dehydrated animals don’t have the same ability to cool down as hydrated animals.
Fresh drinking water is a must for dogs that are indoors or outdoors. Try to keep water in a cool area, so it doesn’t evaporate or become hot. You can try putting it under some shade or adding some ice cubes to the water dish. You’ll also want to think about if your dog is a messy drinker. If so, make sure you give them extra water because they’ll likely splash out about half of it.
Never ever leave your Great Pyrenees without water.
2. Give Them Shade
Another way to make sure that your Great Pyrenees stays cool is to provide shade.
This seems obvious, but it’s something that we can forget. When you’re out at the park, try to make sure your dog can lay in the shade, even if you want to lay in the sun. Or, if you’re leaving your dog in your yard, make sure they have shelter and plenty of shade to lie under all day long.
Remember that the sun moves throughout the day and so what may be shady in the morning could be sunny in the afternoon. It’s a good idea to stay home one day and watch where the sun goes in your yard. There isn’t shade available all day long. You’ll need to provide some sort of structure that they can cool off under.
3. Never Shave Their Coats Down
You may have already gassed this tip, but Great Pyrenees are one breed that should never be shaved down.
Shaving a Great Pyrenees coat for the summer, and puts them at higher risk for hyperthermia. This is because their coat is designed to keep them cooler in the summer. If you take away Great Pyrenees’ top layer of their coat, they have no protection from the sun. Left with only their downy underlayer they can get sunburned and quickly overheat.
If you’ve already shaved your Great Pyrenees, don’t worry. You’ll need to keep an extra close eye on them this summer but, their coat will grow back eventually.
4. Use A Fan Or Air Conditioning
If it’s hot inside or outside, a fan or air conditioning can work wonders.
If you live in a warm area, you probably already utilize these things to cool down. Try to remember that your dog is just as hot as you are. If you’re leaving for the day or just a few hours, make sure that you leave the air conditioning on for your pet. Although it’s expensive, it’s important to keep your Pyrenees cool.
If your Pyr is outside, you can try leaving a large fan near their beds. But, some dogs might be scared off by the noise and the movement of a large fan. Give it a trial run one day when you’re home to make sure that it doesn’t bother your dog and unintentionally move them closer to the sun.
5. Try Going For A Swim
Do you know that some Great Pyrenees love water?
Technically, these dogs aren’t built to swim. However, some individuals from this breed love the water and our great swimmers.
Taking your dog to swim for the first time can be a little nerve-racking. You never know what they’re going to do. If you’re nervous about taking your dog to the lake or the beach, for the first time, make sure you have a good harness and a leash on them. If they decide to do anything crazy you’ll have a good hold on them.
It’s not a bad idea to purchase a life jacket beforehand for some peace of mind. Click here to read about a few of our favorite life jackets that fit a Great Pyrenees.
If you don’t want to, or you aren’t able to take your dog for a swim, you can always try offering them a kiddie pool. In some ways, kiddie pools are even better for cooling off than lakes, rivers, or oceans. That’s because a great Pyrenees can just lounge and relax in it. They’ll get all the cooling effects of the water without any of the warming effects of exercise.
Check out the video below of a few Pyrs hanging out in a kiddie pool to cool down together.
6. Get An Elevated Or Cooling Bed
Another way to help your Great Pyrenees cool down is to upgrade its bed for the summertime. Traditional dog beds can hold a lot of heat in their stuffing and insulation. In the summer, you might want to consider a different type of dog bed.
Elevated dog beds can be good for dogs with arthritis as well as for helping dogs to stay cool. There are also cooling beds made especially for dogs. These beds are usually made of a special material that stays cool. Sometimes they can be put into the freezer and pulled out for the day.
If your Great Pyrenees spends a lot of time laying down, consider a bed change when the temperature starts to warm up.
7. Make Frozen Treats and Toys
Frozen treats and toys are a fun way to help your Great Pyrenees cool down. You can make frozen blocks of treats at home in your own freezer. You can also try freezing some of your dogs, favorite fruits, or vegetables. Not only will this cool your dog down, but it will probably help maintain and clean their teeth at the same time.
If you want to get creative, you can try making a frozen Kong like the one in the video below.
It can be dangerous for dogs when temperatures start to rise. For a dog like the Great Pyrenees, the heat can be intense and even lead to heat stroke. Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways to cool down your dog.
You’ll always need to provide basics like fresh water and shade. Fans and air conditioning aren’t just for humans but can be used for your dog as well. You can even try offering your great Pyrenees frozen treats or a kiddie pool to help cool down.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with all the tips you need to keep your Pyr cool.