Can Chow Chows Stay Outside?


Can I keep my Chow Chow Outside?

Can Chow Chows stay outside? If you own a dog with thick fur like a Chow Chow, this question can be very important. After all, in hot seasons they could easily overheat, but yet on the other hand their coat may not truly be warm enough to withstand very cold temperatures. Especially when they are exposed to the cold winds for hours upon hours without shelter. Of course, this question isn’t just one of their ability to withstand the conditions of the outdoors but also an emotional one. Just because they can be left outside doesn’t necessarily mean they should be. Dogs are sweet sensitive creatures that long for closeness to their family. So we will be examining this question from all angles possible so that you can come to the best conclusion for you.

Chow Chows can stay outside as long as the conditions are temperate. Too hot or too cold of temperatures will give them problems and could leave them exposed to heatstroke or hypothermia. While they can be left outside for a few hours it’s not recommended that they be permanent outside of dogs simply due to their love of being near their family.

Once long ago in their history, Chow Chows were working dogs. Trained to do everything from pulling sleds, to guard dogs and sometimes simply companions. The ancestors of these dogs were incredibly versatile all-purpose dogs. Part of this included natural hardiness which comes from generations of chow chows being bred for work.

This however is not true anymore. The modern Chow Chow has come a very long way from their ancient forbears. Chow chows of today are not nearly as tough or conditioned for the kind of labor they used to be. Now they are mainly suited as wonderful companion dogs. Designed to provide a wonderful fluff hug buddy, who spends most of their time being loved, eating, and of course most dogs favorite activity sleeping.

Due to these more modern developments concerning the breed makes them not really hardy enough to be left outside all the time in the same way as some other breeds could be. Also with their extreme loyalty to their loved ones being separated from them for long periods of time could prove immensely emotionally troubling to them.

But of course like all dogs they do still need to be walked frequently and a few hours of outside time at a time will be healthy for them. Though it’s recommended that they be primarily indoor dogs. In order to make sure that their time outside is as safe as possible requires knowledge.

For one its good to know what kind of coat they have and how this affects their ability to withstand heat and cold. You should also be aware of the proper precautions when leaving them outside in both cold and hot weather. There are also some other considerations to be aware of when keeping a dog outside such as how tall the fence should be and some other things you should know about.

What Kind of Coat Do Chow Chows Have?

Chow Chows like many dogs originally bred in northern climates has a double coat. This means that they have a rougher outer coat that has a certain degree of water resistance and much softer undercoat.

Having a double coat achieves two things one being protected from the cold but having the dual coats also give insulation against heat. This allows chow chows to do better in hot temperatures than one might think though hot weather is still not very good for them.

Not all Chow Chows have a fluffy coat, however. There are also what are known as smooth coat Chow Chows. They have a double coat as well but their outer coat is softer and smoother. Lacking the excessive fluffiness of the more fluffy type of Chow Chow. With both types of Chow Chows it important to understand that shaving their coat can be detrimental for them even when it’s hot outside.

The reason for this is three-fold one being that they can get sunburned without their coat to protect them. Being that their skin under their fur is quite pale means that they have hardly any of the melanin that humans have to give them at least some small protection from the sun.

A second reason is that they can actually cool off better in hot temperatures with their coat then they can be without it. This is due to the fact that their dual coats do provide a good bit of insulation that helps to cool them off. These dogs will still struggle in hot weather more than cold weather so even though their coat does help them with the heat were mainly talking about temperature in the 70s and not the higher temperature of 90s plus.

Another reason not to shave your Chow Chows coat is that it may not fully grow back properly. While their fur will of course grow back their dual coat may not come back in the way that it originally developed. This could possibly deprive your Chow Chow of the small amount of insulative properties that help them deal with hot weather at least somewhat.

Can Chow Chows Live Outside in Warm Weather?

Chow Chows and warm weather don’t always make a good mix. A lot depends of course on what your definition of warm weather is. Are we talking about temperatures in the 70s? Some might consider that warm weather or are we talking about a hot texas summer? Obviously a completely different kind of beast. Chow Chows will go much better with the former than the latter but even so in both, there are some important things to know.

Here are some pointers on keeping your Chow Chow safe and healthy in the outdoor heat.

  • Must have shade: Shade is an absolute must when one is talking about hot weather. This goes for both people and dogs. Without it, the risk of heatstroke and dehydration climb exponentially. So whenever you leave your Chow Chow outside give them some shade of some kind. This could come from a patio awning, a doggie house, or even some kind of tarp held up with tent poles. Just whatever you do make sure they have access to some kind of shade.
  • Grass is cool while concrete is hot: In our modern world, a lot of the earth’s surface is covered with concrete and asphalt. These can be bad for a Chow Chow in the summer though because they can become exceptionally hot and burn their little paws. So be sure that there is some nice grass for your dog to lay down on preferably combined with shade. If you only have access to a complete concrete jungle though then try to make do by putting down some towels or blankets to cover the hot surfaces.
  • Water can get knocked over: Dogs need water especially when it’s hot outside. But unfortunately, they can also be little wiggle bodies particularly when they get excited. During this momentary bubble of happiness, their water could get knocked over and spill its precious contents onto the ground creating a very dangerous situation if you’re not around to notice it happening. The way to fix this is to have the water in a container that is too large and heavy to knock over. It’s not for no reason that farms often water their animals with a trough. Maybe consider doing that or an alternative is to find some way to fortify the sides of the water bowl with somethings that will keep it always upright. Maybe some bricks, wooden boards, or even folded up beach towels. Anything you can do to keep that h20 from spilling.

How To Tell If Your Chow Chows is Suffering From Heat Stroke

If you have a Chow Chow and live together with them in a hot climate like let’s say Texas or Florida then you really need to be aware of the signs and risks of heatstroke. This is a seriously dangerous condition that is caused by prolonged exposure to heat. What happens is that the body temperature of a dog which normally should be around 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit rises to around 104 degrees. Once this happens immediate treatment is necessary otherwise it could prove fatal to your beloved pet.

Here are some signs that your Chow Chow might be suffering from heatstroke:

  • If your Chow Chow is running a fever: If your dog’s temperature rises much above their normal body temperature then they might have heatstroke. You can take a dog’s temperature with some special canine ear thermometers. Make sure that you use them very gently and carefully following all the instructions on the thermometer. This can be difficult since dogs are generally quite wiggly but when suffering from heatstroke they will be more lethargic which will make it easier to take their temperature.
  • Unusually hard panting and drooling: Dogs cool themselves through evaporating moisture from their mouth. This is why dogs often have their mouths open and pant. They do this to cool their body off. Its kinda like their sweating through their mouths. While this is normal and healthy if they are doing it almost like they’re having a panic attack and huge amounts of drool are coming out then this could be a dangerous sign of heatstroke.
  • If your Chow Chow is stumbling while walking and seems generally disoriented: One of the most harmful negative effects of heatstroke works upon the brain. In humans, this can be expressed through things such as slurred speech. With dogs though this will come through impaired motor function. They may stumble around having a hard time keeping their balance even to the point of collapsing. Also, they may be unresponsive to you even if that is extremely strange for them. These are very bad signs and if you see them you need to get someplace cool fast as well as possibly needing to seek professional medical attention to not procrastinate if you see these signs.
  • Pale gums: If you gently pully back the upper lips of your chow and their gums are pale then this is also a bad sign. The gums and tongue of a Chow Chow should be almost a dark purple so if theirs fading then that means bad things are going on with their body.

What Are Some Fast Things That You Can Do If You Think Your Dog Has Heatstroke?

None of this advice replaces the advice or treatments of a medical professional and things will always be best if you a veterinarian on hand. Sometimes heatstroke can progress very quickly and professional is not always at hand so here are a few things you can quickly do to try to help your dog until you can get professional help.

The first thing is to immediately remove the dog from the hot environment and take them somewhere nice and cool. It shouldn’t be cold but merely nicely air-conditioned. In addition to this soak some towels in lukewarm water and put these on and around your dog. Don’t use ice water since that could be traumatic upon the dog’s body and cause their blood vessels to constrict which will actually inhibit their ability to cool off.

Also, bring them some water. Since they will likely by very weak put the water right next to them to make it as easy as possible for them to drink. Don’t force the water upon them simply make sure that it’s easily accessible. Maybe even put some ice cubes near their mouth so that they can lick it. This worked well when my elderly Chow Chow suffered from heatstroke on a road trip. Wet towels, water, and ice cubes was able to get him back healthy on his feet though it was very scary for a while.

If you can get your dog to a vet but you might unfortunately find yourself stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere when it strikes so here are just some small things you can do in that situation.

Can Chow Chows Live Outside In Cold Weather?

A Chow Chow will generally fare much better in cold weather than they will in hot. However, they are not a dog built for more extremes of cold such as a husky or samoyed. But with their thick double coat, they will still do well. Maybe a bit less for the smooth-coated Chow Chow but they will find their way.

Still, precautions must be taken for your pet regardless. As their owner, they look up to you for their safety and protection which you must provide with love. Here are a few basic tips for caring for chow chows in winter conditions.

  • Don’t leave them outside in deep snow: While a little bit of snow is okay, once it starts getting deep it becomes a completely different beast. Snow around your paws is not near as cold or wet as the snow that comes up their legs. So if you are expecting heavy snow conditions bring your Chow Chow inside from the cold.
  • Never leave them outside in a blizzard: This could be considered common sense but never underestimate the extent that good sense is common. A blizzard can be dangerous to any animal especially to the loving dignified Chow Chow who is not made to be a hardcore survival dog. In any kind of bad weather bring your dog inside to curl up around your feet next to a nice fire.
  • Keep a lookout for any kind of de-icing substance like rock salt: It’s a common occurrence in more northern climates for both residence and the authorities to lay down various kinds of items to help melt ice. This helps people to not slip and break their necks. But what you might not know is that such substances are poisonous for dogs. If they eat it the effects will be very bad. In addition, it can be an irritation for their paws and the sensitive mucous membranes around their nose. As we know a dog will pretty much stick their nose into anything.

How To Tell If Your Chow Chow Has Hypothermia?

Hypothermia could be considered the cold-weather counterpart to heatstroke. The healthy body temperature of a Chow Chow should be around 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If that thermometer starts dropping below 100 though then your dog is suffering from a serious medical condition otherwise known as hypothermia. Prompt treatment will be necessary lest your dog dies or suffer long term damage. If you live somewhere where it can get really cold outside then you really need to be aware of the signs that your Chow Chow might have hypothermia.

Some signs of hypothermia to keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Pale skin
  • Unstoppable shivering
  • Lethergy and general malaise
  • Stumbling or other signs of disoreintation

Professional medical attention always ideal and should be sought if possible. But sometimes access may not be fully available or will take time so here a few quick things you can do to help your Chow Chow survive hypothermia.

The key with hypothermia is that you need to warm your dog up quickly but gradually. Too violent of a shift in body temperature won’t help so don’t try dipping your Chow Chow in hot water or anything dangerous like that.

First thing to do is remove your Chow Chow from the cold environment into someplace nice and warm. A warm part of the house or maybe even close to a nice fire. Take a bunch of warm blankets and gently wrap your dog up in them. Heat up a water bottle and then wrap it in a towel. Place it next to your dog’s belly. This will help warm them up but it’s important that the bottle is wrapped in a towel so it doesn’t burn the dog. If available a heating pad could be used as an alternative but make sure you don’t leave it on longer than ten minutes or else it will get too hot.

Stay with your dog during this time don’t leave their side. You can use a doggie ear thermometer to check their temperature. Keep doing this for about every ten minutes or so. Once their temperature has risen to a healthy level of 101 to 102 and they have gotten up and walked around for about 15-30 minutes then you can probably consider that everything will okay and your out of the woods.

Some Other Things To Consider When Leaving Your Chow Chow Outside

  • A six feet or higher fence: Chow Chows can jump. Sometimes with their strong thick legs that can climb onto things while balancing on their back legs. Using their front paws to pull them up they can scale surprisingly high barriers. So some dogs will need a fence even higher than 6 feet.
  • If you are not going to breed your dog then spay or neuter them: Accidents can happen and if you don’t want to have to deal with some little Chow Chow puppies then going ahead and spaying or neuter is the path to take.
  • Barking can get you into trouble with the neighbors: Barking can be a real pain to deal with. So if you are considering having your Chow Chow spend a lot of time outside in the yard be conscious of how much barking they do. Refer to this article on Chow Chow barking for some more information.

Final words

While given the proper levels of shelter and water Chow Chows should be okay outside in most temperate conditions. But you do need to bring them in if you are dealing with either weather that’s very hot or cold. Even though they can take it psychically you also have to think about their mental and emotional natures.

There are few breeds of dog that will bond as close to their families as chow chows will. Keeping them separated from you could hurt them more deeply than you can imagine. After all mother nature designed them to eat, play, hunt, and sleep with their pack. In modern times that pack is us their humans. So while you can leave a Chow Chow outside I don’t recommend it be their primary residence. They will be at their happiest around their family, hanging out and having fun in a nice comfortable temperature-controlled setting. You can also be the most confident that your Chow Chow is happy and safe in such an environment as well.

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