You might have longed to own a gorgeous Siberian Husky ever since you were a child, but Arctic dog breeds are not for everyone – nor for any climate. Given the hot and humid weather in Singapore, owning one of these regal dog breeds might be an uphill challenge indeed. Yet, it’s not entirely impossible: here’re some pointers to note before welcoming an Arctic canine into your family.
1. Licensing: is your dog allowed?
First things first: ensure that your desired dog breed is in compliance with local regulations. You might have to check with the authorities such as AVA (Agri-food and Veterinary Association) if your living conditions permit the allowance of Arctic breeds, many of which are large in size. For example, HDB flats do not allow many popular Arctic breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian husky, Bernese mountain dog, Siberian Husky and Samoyed. Certain breeds such as the Akita also require special considerations under AVA’s dog licensing act, with restrictions such as muzzling it at all times in public areas.
2. No Hot Dogs
No matter how cool the prospect of having an Arctic breed in sunny Singapore is, your dog is undoubtedly going to have a hard time adapting to the humid, hot weather here. As such, try to keep it in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible. Another important consideration is to ensure access to tons of water, with a steady supply throughout the day to help maintain a healthy body temperature for your pet. Make sure that your pet can drink cold fresh water from water bowls or even water fountains, as hydration is also key to preventing heat-related conditions such as heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
3. Get Trimmed
For thick-coated Arctic breeds, it is important to ensure regular trimming and brushing of their coats, especially in warm humid weather where long coats may even develop a moldy smell. Also note that breeds like the Alaskan Malamute can naturally shed or molt humongous amounts, so if you’re the type that minds hair all over the place, he or she might not be the breed for you. When trimming, always remember that clipping or shaving off the coat too much might also backfire. This is so as many Spitz-type breeds, such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute or even Chow Chow, have a double coat that consist of a protective outer coat and a soft dense undercoat, whereby the former is water resistant and aids with body temperature regulation and hence should be retained. Removing any undercoat in hot weather is advisable, as it helps your dog feel cooler while also allowing proper airflow to get to the skin.
4. Sunny Side Out
While exercise is a necessary part of your dog’s well being, Arctic breeds should not exercise excessively in hot and humid weather. Try to keep your dog’s exercise regimen indoors (possibly, with a treadmill) or at least in as much shade as possible. One way to ensure that your Arctic breed can exercise outdoors is to take advantage of the cooler hours of the day, such as in the early morning and late evenings. A mist spray with UV protection can also be a helpful tool to protect your dog from sun exposure, or just simply to cool it down.
5. An Eye for Emergencies
Though all dogs can suffer from heat-related conditions, special care must be taken for Arctic breeds that might be more susceptible in climates with high humidity and heat. As such, is important to recognise the signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion before it gets to a critical point. Signs include: excessive panting, salivation, glazed eyes or staring, or in a worst-case scenario – total collapse. In such instances, you must act fast and cool off your dog with towels, or submerge it in a body of water if possible.
With all these bases covered, you’re well on your way to making sure your cold-weathered canine friend feels at ease living on our sunny island!