If you have a pet Akita then it seems likely that you might be interested in knowing how long you can leave them outside for. This can become an especially important question if you live anywhere that has severe weather patterns. Whether that be extreme heat or very cold conditions. of course there is an emotional element to this question as well. How will your dog fare emotionally being separated from their family? This side of the question cannot be ignored.
With their thick double coat, Akitas are well suited to cold weather. The heat is another matter entirely however with many Akitas struggling greatly when the temperatures rise. While an Akita can be left outside they will not take it well emotionally. Their renowned loyalty and love for their family will cause them to be very sad whenever they are separated from them.
Of course, there are many more elements involved in leaving a dog like the Akita outside. The biggest part is what season is it? Is it summer or winter? And how extreme of temperature does your region experience? Anyone who lives somewhere outside of a temperate zone will have to be much more careful when leaving their dog outside and should probably limit their exposure to the elements.
With an Akita, this becomes especially true in very hot places like Texas or Florida. In these climates, you should leave your Akita outside sparingly only for short play periods or to go to the bathroom. Any more then that could put them at great risk for a serious health condition like heatstroke.
In the rest of this article, we will cover how to take care of an Akita in hot weather, including precautions and best practices you should be aware of. We will share information on how to know if your dog is experiencing heat stroke and what are some quick steps you can take if that is so.
Additionally, we will also cover how to take care of your Akita in cold weather. While this is unlikely in places outside of the extreme cold, we will also go over how to identify if your dog has hypothermia and what are some things you can do to both prevent and treat it.
There are other elements as well we will go over like how tall their fence should be and how to deal with a dog that’s barking excessively.
First, lets begin by examining an Akitas coat and how it works.
What Kind of Coat Does an Akita Have?
Depending on what kind of Akita you have, this breed generally comes in two different varieties of dog coats. One is the standard Akita. This is the kind that you will see commonly in the show ring and probably is the kind that most people have. Their coat is decently long but not excessively shaggy. They have a double layer of coats which of course is common to all northern spitz breed of which the Akita is a member.
The outer coat is generally rougher in texture and has certain water-resistant properties, while their undercoat is much softer and fluffier. This dual-layer coat design helps not only to keep the Akita warm when its cold outside but also helps provide insulation that can help keep them cool when it’s hot. Of course, when we’re talking about the heat here we are refering to temperatures in the 70s, not the 90s and 100s.
The second type of Akita which is much rarer and is not considered correct for the show ring has a much longer outer coat. This is often called a Moku and is the result of an uncommon recessive gene. Their coats are often much softer and the dogs are believed to have sweeter temperaments. Now the origins of the gene that causes this coat design is not fully known but its believed to have possibly come from the extinct Karafuto-Ken Samurai dog. Due to these dogs not being viable in the show ring they are often more affordable than the standard Akita. Though I personally consider them to have the more beautiful coat.
Can Akitas Live Outside in Warm Weather?
Most Akitas will not do well in hot weather and thusly should only be left outside for very short periods during the summer. Of course in more temperate warm temperatures like the 70s, they should be fine but if it gets much hotter than that then they need to be brought inside pronto.
There are certain steps that need to be taken in their outdoor environment to make sure they are safe and don’t overheat.
- Akitas must have shade: Being in the raw sun without protection can be immensely brutal for any animal. A bit of shade however can help make the heat a lot more tolerable. Make sure that your Akita has access to some kind of shade, whether that be provided by an awning or a patio. It doesn’t matter so long as you make sure that they have some sort of shelter from the sun’s rays when spending time outside.
- They need a grassy or cool surface to lie on: Concrete, sand, and asphalt as well as other surfaces trap and hold onto heat very effectively. This means that when it’s hot the surface will sometimes become scaldingly hot as well. Just think of the concrete surrounding a swimming pool during the summer. This can burn your poor Akitas paws. To alleviate this give them some grass, particularly some that is in the shade as well. If that’s not available then at least lay down some towels or blankets to cover the hot surfaces.
- They need access to a large secure water source: If you’re leaving your Akita outside for any period of time during hot weather then they need lots of water. Give them a large water bucket or maybe even a trough. Excitable dogs can knock their bowl over so you need to do something to make sure that it’s sturdy enough that its precious contents won’t spill over. Secure it with wooden boards, bricks, or find something that can wrap around it in such a way that your dog cant knock it over. An empty water bowl during summer could lead to dehydration or even death so that skimp with this precaution.
How To Tell If Your Akita has Heatstroke
A healthy Akita should have a body temperature ranging somewhere around 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter then that then they are definitely not well. In fact, if their body temperature rises enough then they could have heatstroke, which is not good at all. Heatstroke can kill or cause long term damage to an Akita or any other dog. So you need to be aware of the signs so that you can give them prompt treatment in order to save their life.
Here are a few signs that your Akita might be suffering from heatstroke:
- Running a high fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit: Taking an Akita temperature can be very difficult. But there are ways. Probably the best way is through their ears using a specially made doggie ear thermometer. You need to make sure that you follow the thermometer’s instructions carefully and be extremely gentle lest you harm your dog’s ears. If your dog runs a fever like this then you should call your vet immediately as they might need rapid medical attention. I’ve linked below a link to one with pretty good reviews that can be ordered on Amazon.
- Excessive panting and drooling: Akitas like other dogs doesn’t sweat. At least not in the way that humans do. Instead, they pant and the evaporation of moisture from their mouths is what they use to cool them off. While Akitas can occasionally be drooly even in the best of times if you notice them drooling more then usually and panting really rapidly almost as if they’re having a panic attack then these are serious potential signs of heatstroke.
- Is your Akita stumbling around or seeming disoriented? Disorientation and seeming drunkenness are classic signs of heatstroke. A rising temperature can have very negative effects upon a dog’s brain and this is what happening when you see these signs. Be concerned and act promptly if your dog is behaving this way.
- Pale gums: While it might seem gross another way you can check your dog for heatstroke is to gently lift up the flaps of their upper lips. If the gums underneath are pale and not a nice moist pink color. Then you should consider this a possible sign of heatstroke.
What Are Some Quick Simple Steps You Can Do If Your Akita Has Heatstroke?
When your dog has heatstroke you need to respond very quickly. First thing is that if it’s available quickly then you need to seep professional medical attention for your dog. But this is not always available fast enough so here are a few quick things you can do to help make sure your Akita survives their episode of heatstroke.
The idea is that you want to cool their body gradually. If you try something drastic like dumping them into an ice bath then this will constrict their blood vessels which will actually hurt their bodies’ ability to cool off. So please do not do that.
Instead, take some wet lukewarm towels and place them over different parts of your dog. Also, get a bowl of cool water and a couple of ice cubes. Since your dog at this point will likely be laying down and very physically weak. Place them close to your dog’s mouth. Hopefully, they will take a few sips and maybe lick the ice cubes. You don’t want to force them however and try to let them do it on their own make sure they can easily get to it though.
Of course, before you do any of that remove them from the hot conditions that heir under and take them somewhere cool like an air-conditioned room. if they don’t seem to be getting them better than contact your vet.
Can Akitas Live Outside In Cold Weather?
Akitas do much be living outside in cold weather than they would in the heat. But once again this only really applies to mild cold. Any extremely cold temperatures can still be very dangerous for your Akita and so should be avoided. There are certain concerns with leaving an Akita outside in cold weather and some things that you should definitely never do. Let’s go ahead and jump right in.
- Avoid leaving them outside in deep snow: While a little snow peppering the ground should be just fine. In fact, your Akita might like it or try to eat the snow like my dog does. But when the snow starts to get deep enough where your dog has to jump around in it then there can be problems. You shouldn’t leave your Akita outside when the snow gets that deep as it will be easy for them to get injured or despite their double coat too cold.
- Bring them inside during bad weather: If the weatherman on the TV is predicting harsh or blizzard-like conditions, then definitely bring your dog inside or at least make sure they have a large warm barn that they can shelter in. Failure to do so could lead to hypothermia and maybe even death.
- Be aware of the dangers of De-icers like rock salt: While de-icing substances can be very useful to protect people from slipping. They are very poisonous if ingested. Generally, dogs are pretty quick too put things in their mouth whether its food or a hazardous chemical. Plus they can burn their paws and noses. So make sure there is nothing like that around when you let your Akita outside.
How to Tell if Your Akita Has Hypothermia?
If your Akita’s temperature falls below 100 degrees Fahrenheit then that means they have hypothermia. This is very bad. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to extremely cold or icy water. It’s very serious and life-threatening if you don’t treat it fast. If you can then seek professional medical attention.
Here are some things that could point to your dog having hypothermia:
- Their skin under their coat is pale
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Lethargy and general lack of energy
- Any kind of disorientation or unresponsiveness to your voice
Here is advice in the event your dog has hypothermia:
First thing is that if you have quick access to a medical professional then call them and get their advice which should of course trump anything said in this article. But other than that remove them from the cold environment and take them somewhere warm. Preferably indoors and perhaps close to a heater or fire.
The idea here is to gradually warm their body up with the intention of raising their body temperature to a healthy level. Quickly but gently wrap them up in warm blankets to help them keep warm. Heat up a water bottle and wrap it in a towel and place it next to their stomach. You don’t want it to burn your beloved canine so make sure their a material between and your dog’s skin. Alternatively, you can also use a heating pad if one is available but make sure not to leave it on longer than ten minutes at a time or it will start to become way too hot.
Using a doggie ear thermometer check your Akita’s temperature about every 10 minutes. Stay close to them during this time so that you can carefully monitor their condition. Keep doing this until their body temperature returns to a healthy normal of 101 to 102 degrees. Keep monitoring them though until they are behaving normally and have been successfully walking around for about 15-30 minutes.
Other Things to Consider When Leaving Your Akita Outside
Besides hot or cold weather there are also a few other things to be aware of when leaving your Akita outside by themselves.
- Have a yard with a fence at least 6 feet or taller enclosing it: Akitas can be immensely athletic dogs when they want to be. They also are very protective and have a very strong prey drive. It would be terrible if your fence was too short and as a result, your Akita got lost chasing a squirrel or cat. So make sure all the boards of your fence are strong and sturdy and that it’s tall enough so that your Akita can’t jump over or use some other object to get over the fence.
- If you’re not going to breed them then spay or neuter them: Having Akita puppies can be a wonderful experience but only if you want it and are properly prepared for it. You don’t want your dog to get pregnant or get another dog pregnant accidentally. So if you are going to leave them outside in the yard for periods of time by themselves and your not breeding then go ahead and spay or neuter them.
- Barking can cause problems with neighbors: If you live close to other houses and you’re not way out in the country or something then it’s possible that barking could be a problem. Fortunately, Akitas are generally quiet dogs and not known for excessive barking. But if this is a concern then please refer to my article on Akita barking for tips on dealing with it.
An Akita should be fine physically outside as long as the weather isn’t extreme or bad. Just make sure they have a secure source of water, shade, a fenced in yard and shelter from the elements. But just because they can be left outside doesnt mean they should be emotionally.
Akitas are renowned for their loyalty to their master and family. Too much separation from their loved ones can cause them an unimaginable amount of anxiety and distress. So I would recommend that if it’s possible you keep your Akita inside near you as much as possible. Only letting them outside for play, potty and just having fun. They will be happiest being near their family wherever that might be comfort or discomfort and so they should where you are.