Whether you prefer to call them dachshunds, doxie, sausage dogs, or wiener dogs, there is one thing that stands out about dogs of this breed- they are fiercely loyal! They are very cute and have a short stature that makes them the smallest hunting breeds.
Of course, due to their size, these lovely pups may not take on large prey like the larger hunters such as American Foxhounds, Bloodhounds, Weimaraner, and such. However, they are ruthless hunters when it comes to what they were made to handle– badgers!
In fact, when they detect the smell of their favorite targets, dachshunds aren’t a type of dogs that are going to take it easy; they are always ready to spend hours digging to find their prey- even in the scorching summer sun. But can they really stay outside in the heat? With us is the answer!
Well, although dachshunds can handle heat better than some dog breeds, it isn’t a wise thing to leave them in the sun for a very long time. They can only tolerate the heat for some time- a few more minutes in the sun can be tragic!
How Does Heat Affect Dachshunds?
Although they are about half the height of other dogs, it’s important to remember that sausage dogs share a lot of characteristics with other breeds. Therefore, they are not in any way immune to the effects that prolonged exposure to heat can cause on other dog breeds.
Thus, even when they seem to be enjoying laying in the sun for long, it’s important that as a dog owner you be careful to ensure that they don’t overdo it. So how exactly does heat affect these small scenthounds? Well, heat can cause heatstroke in dachshunds, just like in any other dog.
What Is Heatstroke?
Bodies of living organisms generate their own heat. This amount of heat (temperature) needs to be maintained in a healthy range to create a favorable internal environment for the body organs.
Therefore, when it’s cold, the bodies will want to retain this heat to keep the internal organs functioning properly and ensure that the creature remains comfortable in the chilly weather. However, when the temperatures soar, the body does the opposite- it lets go of the excess heat to keep the organs functioning well.
In human beings, cooling is easy given that our bodies have sweat pores all over. However, this isn’t the case with our close furry colleagues that have only a few sweat pores in areas not covered with fur like paw pads and ear canals.
Since the amount of sweating happening in these areas isn’t enough to cool the entire body, dogs rely on panting as their primary way of regulating body temperature. Unfortunately, panting isn’t as effective as sweating in losing heat.
Therefore, there are times a dog will dissipate less heat than it is actually producing and gaining from the external environment- and that’s what we call heatstroke.
Causes of Heatstroke in Dachshunds
There are 2 sources of heat that may affect a dog’s temperature- heat coming from within and that originating from the external environment. These sources all work by raising the body temperature of dogs. The pup then responds by panting as a way of trying to cool off. However, when the temperature rises to exceedingly high levels, panting may not always be enough to bring it down to a normal level. Therefore, the dog loses total control over their body temperature, putting them at a higher risk of organ damage.
However, it’s also important to note that some dogs are at a higher risk of getting heatstroke than others. Cases in point are pugs and dachshunds. For pugs, it’s because they are brachycephalic. To put it in simpler terms, pugs belong to the category of flat-faced and short-nosed dogs. In this class of dogs, panting doesn’t give as good results as in other dogs with a longer muzzle.
Why Dachshunds Are Likely To Get Heatstroke
Although Doxies do not belong to the class of brachycephalic dogs, they still have a higher likelihood of getting heatstroke than some dog breeds. Below are some of the reasons.
Dachshunds Love Basking
If you own a sausage dog and other dog breeds, you might have noticed that your Doxie loves to stay in the sun more than any other dog. And while they can tolerate the heat for longer than some breeds, dachshunds won’t regulate their temperature any better than other dogs when they begin to get hot. Therefore, as a responsible dog owner, you need to keep in check to ensure that they do not let themselves overheat.
Doxies Make Great Eaters
Don’t let their small size fool you- dachshunds have a huge appetite. They take almost anything edible and are always acting as if they are starving. The high calorie-intake may cause them a few troubles including obesity. Like in humans, obesity in dogs increases their vulnerability to other serious medical conditions such as diabetes and heatstroke.
In dogs, obesity paves way for heatstroke by making it difficult for them to breathe. Breathing difficulties suppress a dog’s ability to lose excess heat through panting. This means that it retains more heat than necessary. Also, the extra fat acts as an insulator and is likely to heat up easily when exposed to a heat source.
Thyroid Disorders Are a Concern
Although thyroid disease is very common in all dogs, some breeds are more likely to develop this condition than others. Some of the most susceptible breeds include Dachshunds, Golden retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, and Cocker Spaniel. It is a disorder associated with the thyroid gland, a 2-lobed gland located in your dog’s neck. This gland produces thyroxine (T4) hormone and other important hormones.
A thyroid disorder happens when this gland secrets more (hyperthyroidism) or less (hypothyroidism) of this hormone than the body requires. Although low levels of thyroid hormone may not cause heatstroke in dogs, hyperthyroidism brings about an increase of the body temperature, exposing the dog to higher chances of getting heatstroke. Some of the common signs of hyperthyroidism in dogs include increases appetite, weight loss, enlargement of thyroid glands, hyper-excitability, increased urination, and others.
They Never Forget Digging
If you are struggling with moles or badgers in your backyard, one way of getting rid of them for good is by petting a dachshund. They are born to live their life as hunters and are always willing to dig down deep in search of those stubborn beings. When doing it in the sun, it’s easy for Doxies to get lost in the activity without knowing which increases the chances of heatstroke.
Since they love to spend more time in the sun than most breeds, dachshunds are likely to become dehydrated faster through panting. Therefore, they will need more water to remain dehydrated.
Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dachshunds
The signs of heatstroke in dogs range from mild to severe. However, no matter how minor the symptoms appear, you should take them with seriousness to ensure that they don’t cause more complications.
Early heatstroke symptoms in Doxies include but are not limited to heavy panting, dry skin, diarrhea, bright red tongue, very red lips, rapid breathing, and excessive drooling. However, when heatstroke gets severe, your dog is likely to experience shock, seizure, loss of bladder control, lethargy, and more.
Heatstroke Treatment In Dachshunds
When you suspect that your doxie has heatstroke, taking these tips may help make things better:
- Begin by removing the dog from the hot environment immediately. This will prevent further overheating by the environment.
- Consider spraying cool water on the pet to help cool them off. You may also activate cooling systems or fan them to help increase the rate of heat loss. However, be careful to not cool them below 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In case the cooling efforts seem not to be bearing any positive results, it’s time to seek the attention of a veterinarian.
Things You Should Never Do In Case Of Heatstroke
When your dog has or shows signs of heatstroke, how you respond will determine the results. That said, you should:
- Never wait to see if more signs will show up- things can get worse quicker than you could be expecting.
- Never try to give first aid in a heated environment- Overheating will continue provided that there is an external source of heat.
- Never pour cold water on them or immerse them in an ice bath- This may cause the blood vessels to constrict which may result in more complications.
- Never let it go- No matter how minor it appeared, it is always good to ensure that you seek a vet’s attention. This will help to find out whether there are any other underlying medical conditions.
How to Keep Your Dachshund Cool in Hot Weather
Although heatstroke can be treated, there is no better way of ensuring that your pup is healthy than taking preventative measures in mind. Consider the following to keep her cool, happy, and healthy!
A Few Moments Indoor Will Be Good
Although dachshunds love spending most of their time outdoors, keeping them inside when the outside temperatures are high will be a great way of preventing heatstroke. Although they may not be for the idea, an easy way of making them buy it is by introducing fun games. However, be careful to not overdo it, especially when the indoor temperatures aren’t as cool. You can consider running cooling systems to make the indoor space more comfortable.
Your Car Isn’t Always the Safest Place
A few states prohibit leaving pets in the car while for others it’s not illegal. Generally, even without the regulations, leaving your pet in the car is extremely risky. Whether you have all the windows cracked open or not, temperatures in cars can increase quickly even when the outside conditions are fine. Therefore, before you leave your car, be sure to let your four-pawed friend join you- it’s safer for them and will make them happier.
Always Keep In Mind That Water Is Life
When the temperatures are too high, dachshunds and other dogs lose a lot of water through panting. To keep them hydrated, ensure that their water bowl is always replenished with fresh, clean, and cold water. You may also include a few ice cubes in the water and they will appreciate chewing a few- which is totally fine! When going for a walk with your Doxie, don’t forget to include a bottle of water when packing the snacks.
Keep Their Calorie-Intake in Check
Dachshunds are among the dog breeds that are at a high risk of developing obesity, a major cause of a series of troubles. Therefore, as a responsible caregiver, be considerate of the quantity of food you give these little colleagues. Don’t always consent to their need for food since they may at times be good at faking hunger.
It’s Time You Make Use of Dog Pools
Although some people believe that sausage dogs may not make great swimmers because of their short legs, it all depends on the dog’s personality. Provided that your dachshund is energetic and willing to learn something new, it’s possible to become a strong swimmer. When buying a dog pool for a short dog breed like a dachshund, considering the height of the pool will be important, especially if they are just learning how to swim.
Swimming will lower the body temperature when the sun gets quite tough for the furry buddies. However, always remember that dipping them in the pool in case of heatstroke may cause more complications.
Spending a few afternoons in the pool will also help them lose weight hence reducing the chances of getting heatstroke. Most experts also believe that swimming helps strengthen their back muscles and reduce back problems, one of the most common issues with dachshunds.
A Little Exercise Will Be Fine
Dachshunds are very energetic dogs. Therefore, exercise is good for losing the surplus amount of energy and improving their overall health. However, ensure that you don’t overdo it especially when you are outside. Exercise increases heat generation in the body which leads to an increase in body temperature. Therefore, a little of it will just be fine to keep them healthy without causing other health complications in the future.
Reschedule the Afternoon Hikes
Although walks are generally healthy, doing them in the sun with your pooch can turn tragic. Walking in the sun increases the chances of heatstroke in dachshunds. In fact, you should also avoid walking on pre-heated surfaces such as sand and concrete since the reflected heat serves just like direct sunlight to these short-legged dog breeds.