Many people wonder about the Belgian Malinois ability to handle the weather. We already know that this athletic dog can handle itself in just about any situation. It is sociable, friendly, gets along with other pets, and on top of that it is very energetic. But what about the weather?
The healthy Belgian Malinois doesn’t really have any problems staying outdoors even when it’s really hot. That doesn’t mean you should keep it in the sun with no water or shade. If you have to leave the Belgian Malinois outside, make sure it has a shaded place to protect it against the sun and it has enough water.
The question of the Belgian Malinois and hot weather is an important one especially if you live in a hot climate. So what is it with these dogs and hot temperatures? And how can you make your dog comfortable even in the dog days of summer?
How You Belgian Malinois Dissipate Heat?
Thanks to their thick hide, a healthy Belgian Malinois will have no problem being exposed to the heat. The thick hair absorbs the heat and dissipates it without allowing it to reach the hide of the dog. This acts to insulate the dog’s body from the hot weather and keep it cool.
However, the excessive heat can be dangerous for the dog. This is especially true if they are exposed to the sun for long periods of time as we’ll see later. To make it even more dangerous, heat tends to make the dog lethargic and lazy. So if you’re out hiking or exercising, the hot sun can pose extra risk to the health of the dog. Neither its fur nor hydration can protect it against the danger of the heat.
Temperature Safety Standards
In general, you should not let your dog outdoors when it’s hot outside. Really, that’s the only standard you need to know about. If it’s too hot for you to stand in the yard or backyard without having an umbrella and a cold drink in your hand, then it’s definitely too hot for your dog to hang out in the backyard.
That said, there are times when you have to keep the dog outside. For example, it can get restless being inside the house all the time and just gets the urge to go out and chase some butterflies. You have to make sure there’s shade there. Eventually the dog will get tired to playing in the sun and will want to find a cool corner to hide from the heat.
Water is another necessity. The bowl of water has to be full and you need to replenish it as long as the dog is outside. You should also go out to check on the Belgian Malinois from time to time to make sure it’s fine and not showing any symptoms of excessive heat fatigue.
How Hot Is Too Hot For Your Belgian Malinois?
The best measure you can use to test if it’s just too hot to have your Belgian Malinois outside or not is your own skin. If you go outside and it doesn’t feel like your skin is getting slowly baked, then it’s probably fine for the Belgian Malinois to be outside at this time.
Yes, the dog has a thick hide that does a good job protecting it from the sun and dissipates the heat without letting it harm its body, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to leave it out when it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Even if it’s in the lower 90 degrees F, that’s still too hot. You need to factor in the impact of the sun.
The mid eighties are a decent temperature that your Belgian Malinois can handle. If it’s too humid outside, this can make it feel even more stifling. So consider keeping the dog inside where it’s much cooler until the temperature drops.
Dangers of Keeping a Belgian Malinois Outside in the Heat
One of the biggest risks of keeping the Belgian Malinois out in the heat where the sun beats down mercilessly is overheating. No matter how thick that fur is, it still is no match to the stifling heat, the high humidity, and the unrelenting sun. When the dog’s body heats up, it can lead to organ failure and damage to its vital organs.
Dehydration is another risk that often goes overlooked. You send the Belgian Malinois outside with a bowl of water. Then you go back inside and take a nap in your air conditioned living room. Meanwhile the dog gets thirsty and drinks all the water. Now it’s getting dehydrated with an empty bowl of water. By the time you wake up and remember to check on the dog, kidney failure might have set in.
Signs of Overheating
Overheating is a serious problem that dogs playing outside in the sun are exposed to. The first signs are drooping ears and a forlorn look on the dog’s face. They stop moving and can’t stand on their own feet. The dog finds a cool spot to lie down but if it cannot find one, it will just drop where it stands. It’s a sad sight to look at.
But the dog doesn’t just lie down. It crashes on the ground. Its chest heaves as it struggles to breathe normally. It also closes its eyes but it’s not asleep. Its mouth opens and its tongue flops out as it tries to dissipate the heat. The dog becomes unresponsive and unless you seek immediate medical help, it could become fatal.
Signs of Dehydration
Dehydration has just about the same signs as overheating. Without water, the dog’s body overheats. This could lead to body shut down and vital organs failure. You’ll know the dog is dehydrated as it opens its mouth and its tongue dangles out dry with white stuff covering it. It will try to swallow often.
Dehydration is a serious issue and you should remedy it by giving the dog water as soon as you realize it. Bring the dog inside to cool down and offer it water. Keep checking on it to make sure it’s back to normal.
How to Keep your Belgian Malinois Cool in Hot Weather（Inside Home and Outside）
As we said, hot weather or not, your dog might insist on going out. It keeps scratching at the door to be let out. So what are you going to do? It’s hot outside, but the dog is restless. So you let it out. However, you can’t just let it out without protection. You should make sure there’s a covered area that offers the dog some shade.
Sooner or later the dog gets thirsty, so make sure its water bowl is full at all times. Go out and check it’s doing fine. Maybe it’s gotten tired of the heat and wants to come inside. As for protecting the dog inside, make sure it is comfortable and has plenty of water.
Should You Shave Your Belgian Malinois in the Summer?
Some people think that the fur of the Belgian Malinois is keeping it warm and making it struggle in the hot weather. That’s a huge mistake. You should never shave your dog even in the hot summer months. The fur actually protects your dog against the heat and prevents its body from overheating.
If you really worry that the dog might get dehydrated in the sun, make sure it has enough shade and possibly a cool spot to lie down. But the fur is nature’s gift to the dog. If nature wanted the dog bald, it would lose the fur in the summer.
Does Your Belgian Malinois’ Diet Affect His Heat Tolerance?
Food is another aspect that can make the Belgian Malinois fare poorly in hot weather. Fatty food gives the dog too many calories and readily available energy that makes them feel too warm. So focus on protein-rich food to keep the dog healthy without feeling hot in the summer.
Give the dog cold treats as well to help it cool down. You can keep its meals in the fridge. You will notice that your dog’s appetite diminishes in the summer. That’s normal since the dog doesn’t need many calories in this weather.
What You Should Know if You Live Somewhere Where it’s Always Hot
The first thing you need to know is that your dog handles heat just as good or poorly as humans do. Yes it has a fur that protects it and insulates its body against the heat. But it still suffers from overheating and dehydration the same way people do. What’s more, dogs cannot complain or alert you to what they’re going through.
So you should always think of the dog’s comfort and learn to detect the early signs of overheating or dehydration to avert any system shutdown or serious damage to the dog’s internal organs. Water and hydration are your best weapons to fight the damage that the hot weather can cause to your canine.