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Shibas in warmer climates---help!
  • I don't really know if I'm putting this in the right category, but I have a question about my shiba, Ichiro.

    We got him when we were in Indiana, and spent a winter with us in the cold. Last Sept, we moved to Texas. Now I know that it is quite the climate change, and Texas does get really hot, but Ichiro has been sooo lazy this summer. More than usual. I only take him out on walks when its cooler at night, but even then he will walk for about 15 mins, then tires out! This is rather unusual because he is usually a very active dog (he just turned 2). When we walk, he will just stop and lay down. He is panting a lot. Usually I can get him to get up and keep going, but sometimes he will just lay there and I have to physically pick him and put him on his feet. Is this because he is overheating or too hot, or could it be something else? Does anyone live in a warm climate that could shed some light on this? I might be a little over-concerned, but what can I say? Ichiro is my baby. :)
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    My Shiba gets pretty blah in the summer. I wouldn't want to do too much activity with his fur coat on, even though he sheds most of it out. I stick to exercising in the evening or at night, or at a place where there is access to water that he can go into like the creek. (My Shiba likes water. Some do, some don't.) My other two dogs were raised in Arizona so they are fine with heat up to about 95, then they need to be walked when it's cooler out or go to the creek.
    Do you have a yard? If your Shiba likes water and you can't find any places to go, you could get a kiddie pool for him to play in. Play inside too, if you are okay with that. My Shiba will play in the house when it's hot, but not in the yard. He will go outside to bask, but he doesn't run around much.

    Anyways, if the dogs don't want to do much exercising and they aren't causing any trouble in the house, I don't worry about them being inactive in the summer.
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    I'm in Texas, but I raised Mitsu here, so she's pretty accustomed to the heat. In fact, a lot of times when I let her out for a potty run when it's super hot out, she is in no hurry to come inside. Luckily my yard is pretty shaded.

    But because I worry about her overheating, I try to only take her for long walks if it's cool, like at night. We also go to the park right after it rains, which is nice because it's usually breezy and we can get a long walk in.

    For your walks, can you bring a water bottle and something for your shiba to drink out of? Maybe a couple of quick water breaks during your longer walks will help him stay cool, hydrated, and interested in walking? We use ice cubes a lot in my household, too - Mitsu doesn't always want to take a break for water when she's running in the yard, but she'll almost always take a break to play with an ice cube (granted, those are a little more difficult to keep on you while walking!).

  • That's good to know. He does go outside in the fenced in backyard during the day, but it's mostly to either do his business or bask in the sun. We bought him a kiddie pool because there was one he loved at a dog park in Austin, but he refused to get in the one we bought him (go figure). He doesn't really like to swim, but likes to wade as long as he can touch the bottom. I should bring more water with him while we walk...maybe I am just to eager to walk and am not taking into consideration his fluffy coat. I will take him on a walk tomorrow evening with water and see if that helps. He does play inside with his toys, but mostly just sleeps. Hopefully when it cools off, he will become more active again. :)
  • I live in New Mexico. My dogs were raised here, but they are super lazy during the day in the summer (but quite active in the very early morning and evening). So it could just be too hot.

    If he really seems too lethargic, though, have the vet check him out. Though he's young, my dogs hypothyroidism showed up at 2.
  • What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism just so I know what to look for?
  • @Ichirothedog, the most "classic" sign is hair loss and dullness, particularly around the back region, thighs. That was true of my guy, but his most significant hair loss was on his underbelly, where his skin was also discolored. He also started to smell bad all the time, which is NOT normal for Shibas.

    Also sudden changes in behavior/temperament (Bowdu got really short-fused, quick to bite, others might act frightened for inexplicable reasons), lethargy, weight gain (and difficulty shedding pounds), chronic infections, intolerance to cold...

    A lot of the symptoms overlap with other ailments though, so it's not typically the first thing that vets check for. In your case, just based on the way you described Ichiro, I'd say it's more about the heat than some underlying hormonal issue.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Do you have a hose in your back garden? Tako LOVES to play with the water, and it was the only exercise we could get her to do because it was so hot this summer.

    Here is a funny video of the water fun we had with her on holiday.

  • phipsphips
    Posts: 106
    @takoyaki, oh my god. she got FILTHY! hahahaha, that video is so cute.

    btw, did you just tie some leashes together to make that long one?
    Sunny: 6/Male/Red Sesame
  • I should add that of my three dogs who were hypothyroid, only one showed any signs of problems in his coat or skin (my GSD, and that was when his thyroid function was at 0). The others (Shibas) did not show any classic signs at all, but I tested them because of increased aggression, which is also a sign (one my GSD had as well). My male Shiba was also lethargic. I had to make my vet test them, because she didn't think they were showing symptoms. Both were low thyroid.

    All three improved in terms of aggression to varying degrees when treated, so I now just suggest it when there is unusual aggression, or when there is lethargy. It can't hurt, anyway. My vet has also come around, and I often hear her suggesting testing, now, too.

    But in your case, you can see if he returns to normal when it cools down, and if not, maybe that's the time to test.
  • We live in a suburb of Phoenix and right now it's finally starting to "cool off"..

    I walk both of my babies at the crack of dawn.. full on summer time thats 4:30am.. this morning it was 5:30am. Thats when it seems coolest though cool is a relative term here.

    After the walk, they eat, rest a little bit then play with each other.. after that, they are pretty lazy for the rest of the day. Seem to perk up and play again after 8pm.
  • I live in Maryland, one of those areas where we have both very hot summers and very cold winters.

    I do notice that Okami gets pretty lazy during the summer months. She'll still walk with me in the cooler evenings, but she drags behind sometimes and is always ready and willing to go back home. In the winter however, when I'm freezing my @$$ off with that freezing wind that blows right through all your clothing, that's when Okami is surging ahead and could walk all day xD

    She sure does show her winter spitz nature when it's cold lol

    But Okami does also have seasonal allergies during the warmer months, so that's another reason she finds this time of the year not as comfortable.

    I think it's generally normal for Shibas to not be as enthusiastic about the heat when they are designed for the cold :)
    Post edited by OkamiAmaterasu at 2012-09-04 14:14:40
  • My 6 yo, Nikko, was raised in Texas heat and he also has hypothyroidism. In the summer months (basically half of the year) he simply cannot hang with me on moderate walks. It was common for me to need to carry him part of the way home before I realized I could not take him on a walk longer than 30 minutes when it is this hot...even in the evenings! Nikko's energy does get better with cooler temperatures though. My foster was even worse than Nikko this summer but I think that is because he was a bit overweight!

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