Can Shih Tzu Survive in Hot Weather? Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe

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Keeping your furry friend safe during extreme weather can be challenging. For example, can a Shih Tzu dog survive in hot weather? As it turns out, this dog can have some difficulty breathing and may overheat quickly – especially during warm days. If you live in a hot climate or are traveling with your pet during the summer, it is important to take precautions to keep them safe and cool.

This blog post will provide tips on protecting your Shih Tzu from the heat and ensuring they stay healthy during hot weather.

Shih Tzu on the beach

I was out for my usual walk with my little Shih Tzu. We always take the same route, usually morning or evening. But today, it was a little later in the day, around 1 pm. I noticed that he was panting more than usual. He looked like he was getting tired, so I ignored it at first. But then he slowed down and eventually stopped walking altogether.

I gave him some water and realized he was too exhausted to go on. So I picked him up, we turned around and went home. 

Lesson learned: Never walk your Shih Tzu when it’s hot out.

What are brachycephalic breeds?

Brachycephalic breeds are characterized by their short skulls and flattened faces. While this may give them a cute appearance, it can also lead to many health problems. Because of their short noses, they often have difficulty breathing and are also susceptible to heat stroke. In addition, the shortened skulls can put pressure on the eyes and cause difficulties with vision. As a result, this breed requires special care and attention.

Some popular breeds of brachycephalic dogs include the Pug, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, Boxer, and Bulldogs.

Shih Tzu running outdoor

Shih Tzus in hot weather

Shih Tzus are small dogs with dense fur coats, making them vulnerable to heat exhaustion in hot climates. However, a Shih Tzu can survive in hot weather if given proper care and attention.

Shih Tzu puppies and elderly Shih Tzus are particularly at risk in extreme heat, so it is important to ensure they have access to shady areas and plenty of fresh water.

A Shih Tzu puppy should also be kept cool with air conditioning or fans during hot weather.

Shih Tzu playing on the field

Why can’t Shih Tzus tolerate hot weather?

Shih Tzus are a toy breed of dog that originally came from China. They are known for their long, thick coats and short, flat noses. Unfortunately, these physical characteristics make Shih Tzu particularly vulnerable to hot weather. They can tolerate cold weather better.

Because of their short noses, Shih Tzus have difficulty breathing and cannot pant effectively to cool themselves down on hot summer days.

Their tiny, pinched nostrils make it even harder for them to get enough air. As a result, a Shih Tzu can easily overheat in warm weather and is at risk for heat stroke. For these reasons, it is vital to take extra care of your Shih Tzu during hot weather and ensure they always have access to shade and water.

Shih Tzu playing with another dog in the park

What is heatstroke in pets?

Shih Tzu Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above 100 to 102.2 degrees. Dogs and cats have fewer sweat glands than humans and can’t cool down by sweating as we can, so they get overheated more easily. Shih Tzus, for example, cools down by panting because moisture loss from the mouth cavity helps to reduce body temperature. When pets are left outside on hot days, heatstroke is most likely to occur.

Other reasons for Shih Tzu heat stroke include:

  • High humidity.
  • Your dog doesn’t rest or cool down.
  • No access to water in warm temperatures.
  • No ventilation or air conditioning in the house.
  • You leave your dog in a hot car.

Symptoms of heatstroke in small dogs

While all dog breeds are susceptible to heatstroke, small dogs are especially at risk. This is because they have a higher surface area to body ratio, which means losing heat more quickly. They also pant more rapidly, which further exacerbates the problem.

If your dog’s temperature begins to rise rapidly, it is important to take action immediately.

The first symptom of a Shih Tzu heat stroke is a rise in body temperature. This is followed by excessive panting, drooling, and eventually vomiting. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, move them to a cool area and place a cool towel on their body. If the situation does not improve, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Heatstroke can be fatal to your Shih Tzu if not treated promptly.

A tired Shih Tzu resting

Are Shih Tzu dogs more likely to develop heatstroke than others?

Dogs of all breeds can suffer from heatstroke, but brachycephalic breeds with short snouts, such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Shih Tzus, are more susceptible because they are unable to dissipate heat through panting as efficiently. Overweight dogs, older dogs, and those suffering from heart or lung disease have a high risk. It would be best if you don’t leave them outside in the heat but indoors with an air conditioner on in the summer heat.

How to prevent heat stroke in dogs?

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke even on mild days, so be aware of the signs and take steps to prevent it.

One of the best ways to prevent heat stroke is to have access to shade and fresh water at all times. Bring a portable water bowl when you’re out for a walk and often stop to give your dog a drink. If it’s hot outside, avoid walking during the midday sun and stick to shady routes. And if you have a backyard, ensure there’s a shady spot where your dog can cool off.

Additionally, never leave your dog in a parked car, as even on mild days, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels.

By taking some simple precautions, you can help keep your dog safe from heat stroke.

Shih Tzu sitting on a bench

How to keep your Shih Tzu cool during hot weather?

Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have short snouts and flat faces. This can make breathing difficult for them in hot weather and make them especially susceptible to heat exhaustion. You can do a few things if you want to keep your Shih Tzu cool during hot weather.

First, avoid walking them during the hottest part of the day. If you must walk your dog, go to a shaded area.

Second, provide them plenty of fresh water and frequent baths. I have a small kiddie pool in the backyard. My Shih Tzu, Thunder, loves jumping in it and splashing some water around when temperatures rise.

Finally, consider giving them a cooling vest or cold pack to wear during hot weather.

Following these tips can help your Shih Tzu stay cool and comfortable during summer.

Shih Tzu resting on grass

What to Do if Your Pet Gets Heatstroke

Pets are susceptible to heatstroke because they cannot cool themselves down by sweating as we can. If you think your pet might be suffering from heatstroke, it is important to act fast.

The first step is to move your pet out of the heat and into a cool, shady area. Then, apply cool (not cold) water to their body(wet towels), focusing on the head, neck, and chest.

You can also use a fan to help them cool down. Call your veterinarian immediately and transport your pet to the clinic if possible. With prompt treatment, many pets make a full recovery from heatstroke.

However, it is always best to prevent heatstroke from happening in the first place by keeping your pet well-hydrated and avoiding hot weather when possible.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe in Hot Weather

As the summer heat rises, dog owners should take steps to keep their pets safe and cool. Here are eight tips to help you do just that:

1. Never leave your pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes. The temperatures inside the vehicle can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes, even if the outside temperature is only in the 80s.

2. Ensure your pet has access to plenty of fresh, cool water. If possible, place the water bowl in a shady spot.

3. Avoid walking your dog during the hottest part of the day. If you must walk during midday, stick to shady routes and be sure to carry water for both of you.

4. Avoid hot pavement by walking on grass whenever possible. Hot pavement can cause burns on your pet’s paws.

5. Never shave your pet down to the skin – this removes their natural protection against the sun’s rays. If you must trim their fur, do so gently and only remove small amounts at a time.

6. Apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of your pet’s skin, including their nose and ears. Be sure to use a pet-safe sunscreen specifically designed for their skin type.

7. If your pet starts panting excessively or seems to be overheating, move them to a cool spot immediately and give them some water.

8. Never leave your pet alone outside on hot days.

Shih Tzu park8

Tips for walking your Shih Tzu puppy in hot weather

  • Make sure to walk your Shih Tzu during the early morning or evening when it is coolest outside.
  • Try to stick to shady areas as much as possible.
  • Carry water with you and offer your dog a drink frequently.
  • Ensure your dog has a cool place to rest indoors when you get home.
  • Monitor your pet for signs of heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In Conclusion

Shih Tzus can have trouble breathing and may overheat quickly – especially during warm days. The best way to keep your Shih Tzu safe during extreme weather is to take precautions. If you live in a hot climate, keep your pet indoors as much as possible and provide plenty of water and shade.

When traveling with your pet, always bring along plenty of water and make stops regularly so they can get out and exercise. And if you’re ever unsure whether it’s too hot for your dog outside, remember the rule of thumb – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them!

Follow these tips to help keep your furry friend safe and cool this summer.

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