Friday 2 December 2022

The Lack of Snow Is Not a Problem For Huskies in Costa Rica

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2 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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I am often asked, how do they cope with this heat? The only answer I can give is that they were born here and are acclimatized.

The lack of snow and cold for a dog that is a descendent of wolves and with an innate urge to pull sleds is no problem for the Siberian Husky in Costa Rica.

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Several years ago you would see one here or there. Today they are everywhere. Well a lot more than there used to be. In my own neighbourhood of Rohrmoser, my five Huskies were a novelty. Today, they are just another dog in the vecindario.

The Husky is not your typical dog and is not for many. Huskies are an active, energetic, and resilient breed whose ancestors came from the extremely cold and harsh environment of the Siberian Arctic. Siberian Huskies are highly intelligent. And because of their intelligence, they can easily become bored and become a handful for their owners, keeping them busy with new activities.

Also due in part to their intelligence, Siberian Huskies tend to be very observant of the actions of people around them and have been known to mimic common household activities such as turning on lights with their paws and opening doors with their teeth. Some undesirable behaviors they can exhibit include opening refrigerators (and eating the food inside), climbing fences or digging tunnels in the backyard to escape. These behaviors can be prevented if the dog is given enough activity to occupy it. Huskies require both mental and physical stimulation for optimum health.

Letting a Siberian Husky off the leash has to be down with caution, as the dog could be miles away before looking around and realizing its owner is nowhere in sight or be easily hit by a vehicle. They are excellent “escape artists” as well, and have been known to climb chain-link fences and find other ways of escaping a confined area. They also get bored easily, so physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis is very important. If owners fail to give them the proper exercise they need, Huskies can exhibit unwanted behavior, such as excessive howling, marking, chewing on furniture, or crying. They were historically bred to be working and companion animals.

D8D5B06D11D6F52D9D119AF0AE1DDE_h287_w430_m2_q80_cGpioCouuKeeping a Husky occupied is a challenge. The Siberian Husky loves life. Happy and affectionate, he’s a working dog but not a guard dog. The look mean, can be fierce if threatened, but will protect its master, but doesn’t really care about your property.

Although there is no snow or cold weather Huskies do well in Costa Rica. Their coats insulate them from heat. But they can overheat, like you, and they will need to have access to a cool area. And a good supply of cool water and shade too.

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Living with a double coated dog means that you must understand that they will shed and “blow” their coat at least a couple times a year, which also means you will have hair in your house, bed, dinner and clothes among other places. If you don’t like grooming (or dog hair in the house) this is NOT a breed that you want!

A Siberian Husky should never be clipped / shaved unless it is for a medical reason. Dogs don’t sweat like humans. Their cooling process is done via panting from the mouth, sweating at the paws and cooling the blood in their ears.

Shaving the dog does nothing to keep the dog cool. It is just a stupid practice that will just make a human feel better when looking at the coated dog. The Siberian Husky has very little or no pigmentation in its skin. If you shave a Husky, he will be exposed to the sun with no protection. You will now have a dog that could very well come up with a numerous skin problems including skin cancer. Another reason to not clip / shave your Husky is that their coat acts as a protection against insects and parasites. When you remove that protection the dog is exposed to even more insect problems than he would have had if he had been allowed to keep is protective coat. Furthermore, if you clip / shave a Husky it will damage his coat and disturb the proper shedding process.

They shed. A LOT! Year round. Then twice a year or more they will “blow” their coats. This takes shedding to a whole new level.

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The Husky has a STRONG desire to run. This was bred into them over many hundreds of generations. It cannot be trained out of them.

They need company, either human or canine and will be miserable without it.

The real problem for the Husky in Costa Rica is people. People who want to have a Husky for its look, but with no idea of the commitment they are getting into. As pups they are like little stuffed animals, but in a few short months as the Husky becomes a Husky and does what Huskies do, many don’t take care to not let the dog escape. And they will. Worse, will let the dog go for being unmanageable.

Managing a Husky is one of respect. The Husky has to respect you as the leader. The Husky is connected to his owner, and no amount of pulling on a leash will get him to do what you want. Unlike a horse, you cannot use reins on a Husky, the command is by voice and only if the Husky respects the person giving the command.

Voice commands have to be firm and sometimes harsh, the dog has to pay attention to you. It also exercises their minds.

Being the team leader is all important in managing a Husky. They have to see you as in charge. Not all dogs will listen, but they will respect the leader, you. Keeping your Husky happy and thus manageable involves exercising him daily, lots of love and affection and a firm command voice.

There is the urge to run, skateboard or bicycle with your Husky. In the urban jungle, however, keep in mind that stopping a Husky at full throttle is no picnic. Unless you are suicidal do not even consider the idea, walk a brisk pace, letting the dog know when he is pulling too much. Or let him loose in an enclosed area to get out all that energy.

How to care for your Husky in hot weather

Although Huskies are genetically made to freezing temperatures, their bodies are perfectly suited to our tropical climate also.

Dogs regulate temperature by panting and breathing fresh air is brought into the lungs, cools the blood that runs through your body cooling it. They also release heat through the pads of their paws, which are quite sensitive.

The Coat. The Huskies have a double coat, the longer is easier to see, the underlay is like a wool. With the change of season they replace their top coat completely in a process that takes about 3 weeks. NEVER CUT THEIR COAT. EVER.

Water. Make sure they ALWAYS have plenty of cool and clean water. Interestingly Huskies drink less water in the hot weather – unless they have been exercising – than in cold weather. So, always, always have water available for them.

Important to note is that Huskies love to play with or in water. It isn’t uncommon for a Husky to empty the water bowl playfully.

Bathing. No need to bathe Huskies that often, once or twice a year at most. Their coat has an oily film that protects them and they do clean up after themselves. Bathing too often destroys the film and exposes the dog to skin allergies.

Food. At the beginning or end of day, when it is cooler. It helps for the digestion

Holes in the yard?Digging holes is common for Huskies. Moreso in the hot weather as they prepare a hole as a cool place to sleep.

Heatstroke. Sudden increases in temperature can be fatal. NEVER leave your dog in the car. EVER. Even for a couple of minutes.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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