Your Collie has just stolen your ice lolly and jumped in the sea again, now covered in sand, and panting! … Collies can enjoy the summer just like us, and the adventures it holds – but do Border Collies get hot? How hot is too hot? How do I keep my Collie cool? And should I walk my collie in the summer heat? In this article, we answer all these questions to help you and your special pup enjoy the summer!
Do Border Collies get hot? Border Collies can get hot and even overheat in the summer. Their predominantly black double coat provides insulation from cold but also means they can get very warm in the sun. Their sweat glands are limited to their paws and noses, so when they get hot they can only regulate their temperature by panting (rather than sweating). During hot summer conditions restrict walks to early morning and late evening, and ensure your collie has access to plenty of shade and fresh water!
Dog’s fur provides excellent insulation in the winter months, but also means that they can get hot easily when the mercury rises. Especially in a hot climate… and if they happen to be mainly black like most Collies! Overheating can be serious in Collies and all other dog breeds, so we have to be careful in hot weather and make sure their basic needs are met. Below we explore whether – and to what extent – Border Collies feel the heat, warning signs to watch out for as well as ways to cool your friend down when needed.
Keep scrolling down for ’10 Warning Signs of Overheating’, 20 Tips To Keep You Border Collie Cool’ and important information about Border Collies in the summer, including whether or not they get heatstroke.
Do Border Collies Get Hot?
This is a burning question! An important one to get right as it involves our pups health.
It’s a common misconception that dogs don’t feel the heat and cold the same as we do. Of course, Border Collies like all other dog breeds – and like their strange canine companions – can have the tendency to get hot. However, the extent depends on factors such as the temperature outside, how active they are with lots of energy – and even the specific collie breed.
Border Collies can ‘burn up’ quickly. Being mainly black dogs with black skin, small to medium sized and with a double coat and large amounts of hair on their bodies, they can be susceptible to getting hot. Even more so because they are so active! It also relates to the lack of sweat glands and the way Collies regulate their temperatures (keep reading for more on this).
So in the heat of summer when temperatures are in the high 80s Fahrenheit (30-32 degrees Celsius), you will notice your Border Collie panting or licking their tongue more and drinking lots of water especially after a hectic outdoor playtime (due to loss of water). they may also have red gums, thick saliva, shortness of breath and other warning signs (see below). This is why it is VERY important to avoiding walks in the middle of the day during hot summer conditions.
10 Warning Signs of Overheating and Heat Stroke in Border Collies
Listen to your Border Collie! Due to their breeding as herding dogs, Collies often don’t know when to stop, even in the heat! You have to be aware of how their behavior changes when it’s hot and take special care to keep them cool and hydrated so they don’t overheat.
Your Border Collie will usually tell you and show you a sign if they are getting dangerously hot by exhibiting a range of warning signs and common issues in hot weather. These include the following physiological and behavioral changes in the summer heat and warm weather or when they are dehydrated and exhausted, from excessive panting to red/itchy skin (look out for the following condition/abnormal symptom or combination of symptoms):
1. A sudden decrease in energy levels, mental dullness, abnormal behavior or fatigue during exercise.
2. Excessive panting, more than their usual panting behavior.
3. Thick, viscous saliva and unusually red gums.
4. Rapid heart rate and shortness of breath.
5. Vomiting or diarrhea.
6. Feeling very warm when stroking her/him (high blood temperature).
7. Noticeable sweating from paws and face.
8. Red/pink/dry skin (belly, head or ears – watch out for itching behavior/itchy skin leading to skin diseases!).
9. Collapse or seizure.
10 Any other unusual symptoms like discolored urine, dilated pupils, ear discharge, excessive sleeping, eye anomaly/eye conditions, an especially oily coat or digestive disorders.
If in doubt or you have any concerns of the above symptoms or health conditions and you suspect heat stroke, then do not hesitate to contact a qualified veterinarian immediately as they may need medical care!
20 Tips To Keep Border Collies Cool (Keep Your Dog Safe In The Heat)
Here are 10 proven ways to help keep your Border Collie cool during summer heatwaves and avoid heat stress/overheating, and help keep healthy and live a long happy life! You can of course combine some of these; but make sure you do it on their terms and don’t force icecubes or water on them. If these opportunities are presented your companion will know what is best for them to bring their temperature back down.
1. Shade! Make sure she/he has access to shade at any time.
2. Hydration! Bring plenty of fresh cold water on your walks, and plan them to coincide with accessible fresh water (river or lake where it is safe to access without disturbing wildlife.
3. Hosepipes! If they are in the mood, try some playful splashing with a hose with cool water.
4. Ice water! Put ice cubes into a water bowl so they can lick and cool down faster after their ice treats!
5. Lay down some wet towels or clothes in the sun to cool down your dog once he/she is ready for a rest after playing (they may have a snuggle in that wet towel!).
6. Place popsicles (the low sugar kind) on their tongue every couple of hours; this will reduce their thirst and make it seem like they’re eating all day long while also cooling.
7. Keep your Collie inside during the hottest parts of the day, engaging them with mental exercise and doggie treats instead. Use air conditioning only when needed!
8. Exercise during cooler parts of the day and avoid dehydrating activities like swimming in sea water or agility training. This will avoid fatigue during exercise.
9. A good mattress is also important – think about getting one that has fabric on both sides to help air circulate through it.
10. Try taking your Border Collie on walks and exercise during early morning or late evening hours when it’s less hot, regulating the temperature of their body/blood.
11. Put paw-dicar pet cooling mats under his or her bowls and toys to help lower their body temperature.
12. A traditional method for keeping a dog cool is to put it in a paddling pool/kiddie pool of cold water and then, carrying the dog around the house.
13. If your dog is has experienced weight gain then consider putting your dog on a diet, as obese dogs will retain more heat/cooling can be difficult because of inefficient blood flow and inability to sweat enough. A healthy diet is also essential with essential nutrient calcium and other nutrients added; and keep this high-quality diet consistent!
14. Limit your dog’s exposure to hot surfaces like pavement or concrete in hot weather/warm climates.
15. Offer your Border Collie toys, secluded areas for rest or sleep, or anything else that could provide relief from heat.
16. Speak with a local pet groomer to see if they have other pets who might enjoy being pen mates with yours on hot days! This may keep your pup mentally stimulated in the shade without running 50 miles!
17. Use products specifically made for dogs to keep them cool, such as cooling bandanas that are soaked in water before use.
18. Swimming is hugely helpful for your Border Collie to cool down. The hydrostatic pressure of the water forces blood through narrower veins with less weight per volume leading to cooler temperatures for exposed areas around paws and underbelly area compared to exposed skin.
19. Consider pet cooling pads that will chill down when soaked with water that may be worth looking into if you want something more convenient than manually wetting one each time (like this one).
20. Put up a sun umbrella in the yard/garden to provide additional shade.
How Do Border Collies Regulate Their Temperature?
The good news is that collies can cool down fast too! From near heat exhaustion to complete cooling off can take as little as 10-20 minutes for your Border Collie, with the help of panting, shade and water (see tips below to keep your Collie cool).
How do dogs regulate their temperature? Dogs’ sweat glands are limited to their tough paw pads and to a lesser extent to their noses – called merocrine glands. This means, unlike humans, sweating plays a small role in heat regulation – panting in fact is far more important in terms of regulating a dog’s temperature. Panting and the associated rapid inhalations/exhalations increase the evaporation of water from your dog’s nose and lungs, thereby keeping them cool in hot weather.
Border Collies’ and all other dog breeds’ main method of thermoregulation is therefore by panting as opposed to sweating, the moisture on their tongues helping to cool them down (a well known and common behavior). Another physiological way their bodies can cool down is via ‘vasodilation’. This is when their blood vessels dilate (expand) and bring their warm blood closer to the surface of their skin, serving to cool the blood down before it returns to their heart. How incredibly clever their bodies are!
How Hot Is Too Hot For A Border Collie?
We have to remember that Border Collies were bred in the cold Scottish Highlands and borderlands, so if you are on a beach or prairie in the red heat of the summer then your Collie may suffer in the heat more than some other breeds. This is especially given that they are double-coated dogs with frenetic energy levels, often covering more than 50 miles a day! This can increase their body/blood temperature in hot conditions. Extreme temperatures can be harmful and their human companions need to watch the thermometers/weather forecasts!
So, how hot is too hot for a Border Collie? When the temperature reaches 80 Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celcius) and above collies will be increasingly susceptible to overheating (hyperthermia). Anything above 90 or 100 (30-40 degrees Celsius) becomes far too hot for normal activity. You should carefully consider when/whether to take your canine companion for walks during these hot temperatures and certainly avoid the heat of the midday sun. Stick to early mornings and late evenings when as well as giving them sufficient water and shade.
Do Border Collies Get Heat Stroke?
It is dangerous when the ambient environment temperature exceeds your dog’s ability to use their own cooling system effectively. The hotter the conditions the more likely overheating and potential heatstroke is to occur, especially above 80 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit (above 27-38 degrees celsius). However, this also depends on how active your dog is being and their levels of hydration; it is possible to get heatstroke at lower air temperature too even in the spring and fall outside of the hottest summer conditions.
Can Border Collies get heat stroke? Hyperthermia in dogs means a high temperature which happens when a Collie cannon longer regulate their own temperature as normal, using the normal ways including panting. This can lead to heat stroke, a serious medical condition where your dog’s systems effectively start shutting down. Your dog’s hydration levels and availability of shade are vital in these situations; if heat stroke is suspected then urgent veterinary care is required.
Find out more about hyperthermia in dogs here.
Do Border Collies Do Well In Hot Weather?
Border Collies often prefer cold conditions and therefore can be said to do better in cool ambient temperatures than hot climates. There is a genetic component given their origins in the cool Scottish Highlands! As with most herding breeds, Collies are generally a healthy breed
However, they have a degree of heat tolerance and will manage with the heat given enough water and following the advice and tips above. Border Collies are working dogs; it is their nature to stay active and busy, even during the summer months. While some breeds might go into the house after a long day in the heat, your Border Collie will often want to stay outside and play or relax beside you (or curl up together).
They have a thick fur coat and density of rolled skin that is reminiscent of a car radiator, and it too can heat up thereby raising the temperature of their blood. This leaves them susceptible to sunburns, but grateful for the winter’s warmth. It’s normal for dogs to pant when they’re hot because their bodily temperature regulate system is insufficiently reactive (it doesn’t react quickly enough). So, as discussed above, your Border Collie pants in order to expel excess body temperature into the air (cooling down) — like opening the window on your car when you start to overheat.
Should I Walk My Border Collie In The Summer?
Yes! Border Collies need a huge amount of exercise on a regular basis, and this should not be restricted in the summer months. The main consideration is to make these walks early in the day before hotter temperatures arise and provide sufficient shade and water. See our 20 tips to keep your Collie cool above!
The exception may be extreme temperatures 90 or 100 (30-40 degrees Celsius). See above ‘How Hot Is Too Hot’.
Collies may not be the biggest fans of heat and be more comfortable in cold conditions but exercise is so important, both physical and mental, keeping their body active. If you are taking your Border Collie on a long walk, make sure to bring along plenty of water for them! Avoid hot spots without shade and excessive formal exercise such as agility competitions. Have some ice water and healthy treats ready for them on your return to raise those blood sugar levels!
Here are 10 activities to play with your dog – in the cool summer mornings or in the shade in hot conditions.