If you’re wanting to get a Great Pyrenees or you already have one, you’ve probably asked yourself, can Great Pyrenees stay outside? And for how long can you leave them there? Dogs may have of course evolved to survive outside in the great outdoors, but many breeds today have been domesticated to such a point that these conditions are not good for them. Additionally, some breeds do well in colder weather but might struggle in hot weather and vice versa.
When it comes to living outside the Great Pyrenees ranks amongst the hardiest of dogs. Used sometimes as professional livestock guardians, they are very well suited to outdoor living. Doing especially well in colder conditions the exception would be very hot weather which could be deadly for them absent water and a cool shaded area.
While Great Pyrenees are very hardy dogs there are still certain limitations and precautions that need to be followed whenever keeping either a Great Pyrenees or any other dog outside.
For one thing, it is imperative to ensure that they have adequate water whenever you’re keeping them outside. This water needs to be secure in one way or another. It can be very easy for a dog to knock over their water bowl spilling all the precious contents on the ground. While this will be okay if they’re just outside for an hour but any longer than that could be very dangerous for your beloved canine.
They should also have some sort of shelter. This shelter can be different deping upon whether your dealing with cold or hot weather. In the case of hot weather they need a nice shaded cool area. For the winter though they need a shelter thats well insulated so tha thtey can stay warm.
There are many more things to be aware of that I will get into later in the article. The first thing to know is what kind of coat Great Pyrenees have and how this affects their outdoor survival in both cold and hot weather.
What Is the Great Pyrenees Coat Like?
The Great Pyrenees has a double-layered coat, including both an undercoat and an overcoat. The reason they have this is to give them a certain amount of weather resistance. Having two layers of coats instead of one helps them to keep warm in cold weather which is originally what they were bred for.
The double coat will also help keep them dry in wet or damp weather. The overcoat doubles as somewhat of a raincoat. It has certain water-resistant properties that helps water to slough off instead of staying and soaking down into their skin. This is immensely important when they’re in snowy conditions. As one of the worst parts of snow can be the fact that its a form of water and getting wet while in extreme cold is obviously dangerous.
The outer coat is much coarser and it lies over a very fine somewhat woolly undercoat. While this coat is mainly to protect them from the cold its strong insulating properties can also help to keep them cool during the summer months.
But still, Great Pyrenees will struggle in the heat much more then they will cold weather. In addition to their double coat they also have tufts of thick fur around their paw pads. This helps protect their feet from frostbite during periods of extreme cold.
Can Great Pyrenees Live Outside in Warm Weather?
You shouldn’t leave a Great Pyrenees outside in warm weather for very long. While it does depend upon what the temperature outside is, there can be a large difference between it being 70 degrees Fahrenheit versus 100 plus temperature. They are not well built for it and if you do leave them outside it should be for no longer than just a couple of hours.
In addition to this, there are a few pointers that should be followed to make sure that your Great Pyrenees can handle the heat safely and stays healthy.
- Make sure that your dog has shade: Being outside during summer without any shade can put any animal in the danger of heatstroke. This is especially true for Great Pyrenees. If leaving your dog outside in hot weather make that they have access to shade. Have them be under a patio awning or some other covering so that they can have shelter from the pounding heat of the sun.
- Give them a grassy or cool surface to lie on: Surfaces such as pavement, asphalt, and sand can heat up under the sun and burn a poor dog’s paws. so make sure that they have some grass to lay down on. If that’s possible then trying put down towels or blankets to cover the hot surface.
- Any water needs to be tightly secure: Water is a must in any kind of hot weather. Even in cooler temps a dog still needs constant access to a water source. But sometimes a dog can accidentally knock over their water bowl which could put them in mortal danger. So give them a water bucket or trough that is large and heavy enough that it cant be knocked over. Not having that try to find some other way to secure their water source. By surrounding it wooden boards or bricks that can help hold it in place and keep it from tipping over.
How to Tell If Your Great Pyrenees Has Heat Stroke
Heatstroke is a very serious condition that happens when the dog’s body over heats to around 104 F. This overheating is usually caused by too much direct sunlight in very hot conditions. If you live in hotter climates with your Great Pyrenees then it’s very important to understand what are the signs of heatstroke and how to best treat it.
Signs that your Great Pyrenees might have heatstroke:
- If they’re running a fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit: It can be very difficult to take a dog’s temperature. It’s unfortunately not as easy as with a human. You can take their temperature either rectally, which is quite difficult and not recommended if you’re not familiar with the method. Alternatively, you can take it through their ear which is what I would probably recommend. There are special dog ear thermometers that you can purchase specifically for this, if you find your dog with a high fever over 105 degrees then call your vet immediately. Though due to the difficulties of taking a dog’s temperature it might just be better to look for the other signs which are quite significant.
- If your dog is panting and drooling unnaturally hard: Dogs regulate their body temperature through their mouths with panting and drooling. This helps to cool their body off since they don’t sweat as humans do. Instead, they sweat through their tongues. With excessive panting and drooling, it means that their body is working overtime to remove the excess heat in their body. Thus pointing to the possibility of heatstroke.
- Your Great Pyrenees is acting disoriented or drunk: Heatstroke can affect a dog’s brain in a powerful way. If you find your dog stumbling around and seeming uncoordinated this could be a dangerous sign of heatstroke.
- Pale gums: If your Great Pyrenees is showing some fo the other signs of heatstroke another way that you can check is to gently pull back their upper lips and take a look at their gums. Healthy gums should be pink and moist but if they look pale or a different color then this could be a serious sign of heatstroke.
What to do if your dog has heatstroke:
Heatstroke can develop quickly so prompt action will be necessary in order to save your dog. Give them some cool water to drink, though you should not force them to drink if they don’t want to. Since the dog will probably be in bad shape put the water bowl right next to them so that they can access it easily. You can also offer them a bit of ice to munch on but once again don’t force them to just put near their mouth so they can if they want to.
Take towels that have been soaked in lukewarm water and place them on the dog. This is to help their body to naturally cool off. You don’t want the towels to be icy cold or to soak your dog in ice as cooling their body down too rapidly could cause constriction in their blood vessels which will make it hard for their body to do what it needs to do. You want to cool them down gradually not immediately. If their conditions seem very severe then also call the vet and you may need to take in for an emergency visit. The faster you can move to counteract the heatstroke the better.
Can Great Pyrenees Live Outside In Cold Weather?
It is in cold conditions that the Great Pyrenees can thrive. Their thick double coat and furry paws give them amazing cold weather protection that would probably require a human to wear a parka to equal it. But even so, cautions must still be taken.
- Don’t leave them outside in snow that is deeper than a foot: When the snow gets very high this could cause problems even for the fluffy Great Pyrenees. In very high soft snow they could have a hard time keeping their head above the snow. In addition, they could get lost and it could be very hard to find them due to their white coat which will blend in to an alarming degree.
- Never leave them outside in bad weather like a blizzard: Any time there is going to be very bad weather like a blizzard or extremely cold temperature go ahead and bring your Pyrenees inside for the night or day. At the very least make sure that they have access to a warm barn where they can seek shelter from the harsh conditions.
- Watch out for any de-icer substances or rock salt: A dog’s paws and the mucous membranes of their nose and mouth can become incredibly irritated by these items if they come into prolonged contact. The worst danger though is that they are poisonous in case of being consumed. As we all know dogs are like toddlers and will pretty much put anything and everything in their mouths so this a danger that you really have to keep an eye out for.
How to Tell If Your Great Pyrenees Has Hypothermia?
Hypothermia is when the dogs body temperature drops to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. A dog’s normal body temperature usually lies between 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Its caused due to exposure to prolonged cold temperatures or icy water. Left untreated it can be fatal for your Great Pyrenees. Though Great Pyrenees are far more likely to have problems with heat stroke than hypothermia it’s still something good for a responsible dog owner to be aware of. Dogs that are especially young or old can be more prone to having an episode of the condition. If their body temperature falls below 98 degrees Fahrenheit than seek medical attention for them immediately.
Signs of hypothermia to look out for:
- Paleness of the skin
- Very strong shivering
- Listlessness and disorientation
Quick treatment that you can do for hypothermia:
When dealing with a Great Pyrenees suffering from hypothermia what you need to do is try to warm their body up. Just as with heatstroke though we want this done gradually and not too rapidly.
Make sure that they are in a warm location. Like a room warmed by a heater or a nice fireplace. Wrap the dog up in warm blankets. One way to do this is to heat up a water bottle and then covered in a towel then place it near the dog’s stomach. You want to make sure that the bottle of warm water is wrapped so that it doesn’t burn the dog’s skin. You can also use a heating pad if one is available.
Don’t leave the dog alone during this time and constantly check upon them. You shouldn’t leave the heat pad on for more than ten minutes at a time or it could start to become dangerously hot. Check the dog’s temperature about every ten minutes if they aren’t getting any better or their temperature continues dropping then seek medical attention from a professional immediately. Keep monitoring your Great Pyrenees temperature until they have been walking around and behaving normally for about 15-30 minutes.
Other Things to Consider When Leaving Your Great Pyrenees Outside
- You should have a fence at least 6 feet tall or taller for more athletic dogs: No matter how well trained your dog may be they still will be prone to wandering without supervision. This can be especially true for Great Pyrenees who are well known to wander so as to try to increase the size of their territory. There could also be an animal like a squirrel or rabbit that they could chase causing them to get lost. All of these reasons and many others show the necessity of leaving your dog in a fenced area when leaving them outside unattended.
- Unless you specifically intend to breed your dog you should have them spayed or neutered. Even the most well-intending owners may have an accident when leaving their dog outside. Dogs can sometimes jump over or find a home or other weakness in a fence when properly motivated. Nothing is quite as motivating for an animal as finding a mate so if you intend to leave your dog outside a lot then it’s a good idea to have them spayed or neutered.
- If you live in an area with close-by neighbors then barking is another consideration. Being outside there are so many wonderful things to bark at and Great Pyrenees are considered one of the happiest and most skilled of barkers. So keep the feelings and ears of your neighbors in mind when leaving your dog outside. Refer to this article on Great Pyrenees barking for more information.
Great Pyrenees love the outdoors particularly in cold weather which they can handle well. Warm weather may cause Great Pyrenees to have a harder time living in. Still even so Great Pyrenees can live even in hot southern areas if the proper precautions are made though they should probably be brought inside where it’s nice and air-conditioned. Even though Great Pyrenees are very capable of living outdoors doesn’t mean you should leave them outside all of the time. They are pack animals that fall deeply in love with their family and will want to be near them as much as possible.
So you should consider that when thinking of having them live outside. I personally would recommend that if you live in a colder part in cooler weather then let them stay outside as much as they want but make sure to bring them in at night so that they can curl up close to the people they love most, their family.