Akitas originate from cold regions, so they can easily survive in cold weather. Akitas have developed a double coat of hair, ideal for cold weather. Akitas also have toes well-adapted for moving in snow and climbing from freezing water.
This article explores Akitas’ cold tolerance, including their ability to endure cold, recommended exposure times, and tips for cold weather care. By the end, you’ll understand your Akita’s cold weather tolerance well.
Akita Cold Tolerance
Akitas can handle cold climates, but it’s key to know cold still affects them.
Akita’s Ancestral Roots
Originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan, Akitas have a lineage accustomed to harsh, cold environments. This historical context tells us Akitas can take cold naturally.
Age Impact on Cold Tolerance
Most dog breeds’ tolerance to cold weather is affected by their nutrition, age, and health and coat density. This brings up the question: does age affect the Akita’s ability to tolerate cold temperatures.
If all the factors above are considered and offered in their optimum, an old Akita will still do well in cold weather. Adult Akitas are actually best suited to stay longer in cold temperatures. Puppies under eight weeks will not do well in cold weather. They have not yet fully developed their ability to regulate their bodies.
The Akita is a steady breed with a life span of 13 years. Due to their distinct features and adaptation, most of them continue thriving in cold weather even in their grey years. They remain great outdoor companions throughout their lives.
But you can be on the lookout for signs your dog is affected by the cold weather. When he refuses to go out or is shivering or curled up in the house, then probably it’s too cold for him.
Other Cold Tolerance Factors:
- Health: Sick Akitas, especially with coat or immune problems, can be hurt more by cold.
- Activity Level: Active Akitas generate more body heat, increasing their cold tolerance.
Is My Akita Weatherproof?
There is no doubt that the double coat hair feature makes this dog breed a champion of the cold weather. Therefore, Akitas can be said to be almost weatherproof.
The Akita’s Natural Armor: Double Coat
Akitas are known for their double coat, which helps them handle weather. This coat consists of two layers:
- Outer Layer: A rough, water-resistant layer that protects against snow and rain.
- Inner Layer: A dense, softer layer that insulates against cold.
Cold Weather: A Natural Playground for Akitas
- Winter Enjoyment: Akitas often show a natural preference for cold weather, displaying more energy and enthusiasm.
- Limitations: Despite their hardiness, extreme cold can still pose risks. It’s essential to monitor their exposure to temperatures below 20°F (-6°C).
Heat Tolerance: A Challenging Climate
- Heat Sensitivity: Akitas have a lower tolerance for heat due to their thick coat.
- Summer Care: In warmer climates, it’s crucial to provide ample shade, water, and air-conditioned environments.
- Exercise Caution: Limit exercise during the hottest parts of the day to prevent overheating.
Weatherproofing Your Akita: Tips for All Seasons
- Provide a warm, dry shelter.
- Monitor outdoor time during extreme cold.
- Check paws for ice and snow build-up.
- Ensure constant access to fresh water.
- Create cool, shaded areas in your yard.
- Consider indoor activities during peak heat.
How Cold is Too Cold for an Akita?
Most Akitas do best in cold ranging from:
30°F to 60°F (-1°C to 15°C)
But Akitas can handle brief periods of colder weather.
When It’s Too Cold. Watch for signs of discomfort below 20°F (-6°C).
Especially if combined with:
- High winds
- Wet conditions
- Prolonged exposure
Do not keep an Akita outside if it’s 0°F (-18°C) or colder.
How Long Can akitas Stay in the Cold?
General Guidelines for Akita Exposure to Cold
- 30°F to 60°F (-1°C to 15°C): Most Akitas can stay out indefinitely. Provide shelter access.
- 20°F to 30°F (-6°C to -1°C): Limit continuous exposure to 1-2 hours at a time. Provide warm shelter for breaks.
- In Frigid Temperatures
- 10°F to 20°F (-12°C to -6°C): Limit continuous exposure to 30-60 minutes. Watch closely for signs of discomfort.
- 0°F to 10°F (-18°C to -12°C): Only take out for bathroom breaks. Avoid prolonged exposure.
Akita Cold Warning Signs
Akitas are not always vocal about their discomfort, making it crucial for you to be aware of non-verbal cues. Here are the signs to watch for:
- Shivering: A clear physical response to cold.
- Lethargy: Unusual tiredness or sluggishness.
- Whining or Barking: Signs of discomfort or distress.
- Anxious Behavior: Restlessness or anxiety.
- Refusal to Move or Play: Unwillingness to engage in normal activities.
Responding to Cold Stress
- Immediate Warming: If your Akita shows signs of cold stress, bring them into a warmer environment promptly.
- Veterinary Care: In cases of severe cold exposure, consult your veterinarian for guidance and treatment.
- Gradual Re-warming: Avoid sudden temperature changes; gradually bring your Akita back to a comfortable temperature.
Caring for Akitas in the Cold
Although Akitas are hardy dogs, they still deserve lots of care and attention if they are to do well in cold weather. Care in the cold weather starts with the right nutrition.
Puppies require highly nutritious food to facilitate quick growth that will make them ready to take on the cold. Older dogs should also get similar nutritious food because it helps them build up a fat layer under the skin that keeps the body warm when its cold out. The right food, therefore, helps them to maintain their ability to tolerate cold temperatures.
Your Akita also needs a lot of exercise. The good news is that you can take them out for walks even in the cold weather if you feel like it.
Sometimes, Akitas can get aggressive, so avoid exercising in public places. You should also build a proper shelter for your Akita if you plan on allowing him to spend time outside for longer periods.
Since the double coat is perhaps the Akita’s most important protection from the cold, it deserves lots of gentle care and attention. Clean and groom your dog regularly because the wooly coat underneath does not do well in the presence of dirt.
Akitas also shed a lot, so be sure to brush their coats regularly with a bristle brush.
What are the Other Dangers of Akita from the Cold?
Frostbites affect any dog including Akita if it stays outside in extremely cold weather for too long. Usually, the blood vessels nearer the surface constrict and become narrower. The body is reacting by diverting blood to vital organs in the body rather than cold areas. This in effect leads to lower blood flow to most of the body in cold areas.
Hypothermia can also occur. This is when your Akita’s body temperature has gone lower than normal. If your Akita is exposed for longer periods in the cold and gets wet, they might get hypothermia. This condition more commonly affects dogs with heart and kidney diseases and older dogs.
Therefore, as Akita owner, it’s your responsibility to protect your companion. Here is how to do that:
What Can be Done to Protect Akita from the Cold?
Even though the Akita is well adapted to cold temperatures, it needs protection too. The idea here is to keep your dog as warm as possible.
Every time he comes back inside you need to remove any snow from his body. You can do this by using a towel to wipe off the snow.
If he sleeps outside, ensure that his shelter will offer maximum protection from the elements. If not, then you can bring him in during colder days and nights.
If you have an indoor Akita, consider buying him a coat and boots. This will help to keep them warmer when it gets too cold out.
Additionally, keep him on a leash. Although this is not directly related to the cold weather, it’s for his benefit. Sometimes, dogs might lose their scent when it’s snowy. This poses a challenge to the owner and the dog in case they get lost. This is where leashes, updated tags and collars come in. It makes it a lot easier to track them.
Watch his weight. Just like humans, dogs tend to burn fewer calories especially when it’s cold. Your Akita will probably be spending more time sleeping indoors during cold seasons. If they eat more, they will easily add unnecessary weight.
Beware of frostbite and hypothermia. Again, while Akitas do really well in the cold, they can still be affected by hypothermia and frostbite. There is a limit to how much cold temperatures they can endure.
When it gets too cold while they are outside, although they might not notice it themselves, you need to jump into action and get them back inside or risk frostbite and hypothermia. The best thing is to let them remain indoors or within a secure and safe shelter instead of wandering around in the cold weather for the sake of it.
But what can you do when it snows for too long? Well, in such cases, you need to prepare yourself by getting enough supplies beforehand. That way, he will have enough food to last him when you can’t reach the food stores easily.
- Can Akitas Live Outside? (Explained and Helpful Guide)
- What Are Akitas Bred For? (Quick Facts)
- The Ultimate Guide to What Akitas Can (and Can’t) Eat
- Are Akitas Easy to Train? (Explained and Quick Facts)
Mike is the Founder of Familylifeshare. Mike is well-knowledged in marriage, parenting, dogs, blogging and committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise with his readers. Know more about Mike from here.