This is an old FAQ from with some minor additions. Comments may be submitted below.

Questions and Answers -- Warm Weather Conditioning

Q. Most Bernese have a low tolerance for warm temperature situations. How do you help your Berner in warm weather or a warmer climate?

Please see my note at the bottom of this page.

Depending on your berner's coat, you may want to look into "the furminator"

The Georgia summers are especially hard on our Berner, Zoie, and our Malamute. Aside from the obvious remedies such as A/C, ice chips and walking in early morning and in the evening, we have found that our Berner seems to gravitate towards the paddle fans. We have placed her metal crate near one of the ceiling fans and she loves to lay on the metal floor and feel the breeze from the ceiling fans. We keep the ceiling fans on in all the rooms for the dogs and even though the house is kept cool by A/C , they love to lay directly under the paddle fans. Not only does it provide a breeze for the dogs but it also keeps the house cooler at less expense than just running the A/C.
Gary McCarney, Marietta, GA USA, July 08, 1998 at 14:58:41 (EDT)

There's practically no shade in my backyard so my berner, Rocky stays inside most of the time, next to the fan. (He's no fool.) A related experience: it's been over 90 degrees here daily for awhile and Rocky had not been walked as a result. When tak en for a walk, his four paws received different degrees of sunburn from the hot pavement. This does not happen to every dog, clearly but mine has always had sensitive feet and his paw pads are not particularly calloused. So be careful! Rocky looked lik e he was walking on broken glass. It was almost as painful for me to watch. After medication, he's been fine, though his paw pads are peeling a bit.
Janice Rosen - Lafayette, CO USA - Sunday, July 05, 1998 at 21:08:07 (EDT)

With my one Berner who is 1, I give tons of water. I also put a fan on for her. I would let her go swimming, but she hates water.
Bridget- Lisle, IL USA - Monday, June 29, 1998 at 20:56:26 (EDT)

Our 3 year old Berner, Sierra, feels the heat. But we do NOT shave her; our breeder and vet advise NOT to shave her as her coat is an aide to help her keep cool; we agree. I did get her well groomed this spring to get the winter mattes out of her coa t. This has made a big difference. We provide her with lots of water and try to keep her inside in the cool house. Outside she has water and shade. We often take her to the local pond for a 'swim' which for her is just a stroll into the cool water, as she does not like to lose her footing. On a very hot day, we will take her up to the cold creek about 20km away. She loves it.
Donna Tudhope - Brampton, Ontario CANADA - Monday, June 29, 1998 at 09:48:58 (EDT)

Having just moved to Florida 3 months ago- I have found that ice cubes are wonderful. I also leave my 1 1/2 yr.old Berner, Grier, along with my 1 1/2 yr.old black lab, inside as much as possible. I take them for walks in the mornings and let them play outside in the mornings and at night. They are basically in the air contioned house 95% of the time. We are going to build something with fans and shade so if we aren't available to be at the house for a certain amount of time they will be fine. They do h ave access to the garage but we are putting fans in it this week. I thought about shaving her but I was told she could get a sun burn. Has anyone heard of this happening? What should i do if this happens? I've heard of the insilation theory but what about the burning? Being down here in this heat I would almost have to have her shaved year-round.

I also had never had a dog that got a hot spot until Grier. She is my first Berner. The vet said she probably got fleas from the beach where I take her, there are always lots of dogs there. It's hard for me to believe that when I have her on Frontline an d Program.

THANKS for the suggestions on using aloe for the hot spots and about the cooling mattress. I'm going to check out the mattress tomarrow. If anyone knows where to find them, please tell me.The baby pool is also a great idea, but my only concern is it gett ing too hot- even if it's out of the sun and in shade.
BW RIDLEYW@MINSPRING.COM- TAMPA, FL USA - Sunday, June 28, 1998 at 22:02:29 (EDT)

My dog don't like water, but after a cold shower or a 'swim' in a lake nearby my house, he's getting very active again.
Kees Zuurveld - Zoetermeer, Zuid Holland Holland - Thursday, June 25, 1998 at 07:58:51 (EDT)

My Berner LOVES to swim!! Every summer I set up a plastic kiddie pool for him in the backyard, and when he is hooked on his run, he can lay in it to keep cool.
Sandy Borrelli - Essex Jct, VT USA - Tuesday, June 16, 1998 at 20:14:24 (EDT)

The bathtub!! Our 18 month old berner loves the tub. Since he was big enough to get in, he prefers to sleep in our bathtub when it is very warm. Air conditioning is a must! When not in the tub, the cool tile floor in the kitchen or bathrooms is where h e can be found sleeping. (Needless to say, the dog bed we bought is now a favorite resting spot for the cat.) Chilled carrots and ice chip are also a favorite treat for him as well. I have not seen a berner that is shaved or trimmed, but may consider it next summer. Thanks for the tip!
carey - cleveland, ohio USA - Sunday, June 14, 1998 at 17:55:25 (EDT)

Provide a wading pool and cool water. When your Berner is shedding, try to brush him/her as much as posible. Try to provide a shady spot.
Aisha Sandage- Belton, MO USA - Sunday, June 07, 1998 at 20:24:00 (EDT)

We have 3 Berners and 1 Golden in our household. We live in North Carolina and it does get quite warm in the summer and I, too, keep them in the A/C house and in a wading pool in the screened-in-porch.

I read an article re: icecubes. It said not to let dogs eat them as it could cause internal problems. I instead give them ice-chips which can dissolve more readily. Doctors say drinking very cold water on hot days or when you are hot, can cause all kinds of problems....please check with your vet.

I keep mine out of the sun as it tends to redden their beautiful black coats. They get brushed about 2 or 3 times a week or more if they are shedding. I find that if they are shedding, a warm bath followed by a good grooming and blow-drying will get the hair out faster.

Cooling the underside of a dog is about the best remedy for heat. Watch a dog when it is goes to the coolest spot to lay out flat.
Carol Slider - North Carolina USA - Saturday, June 06, 1998 at 18:21:04 (EDT)

I do not think that people were getting the gist of what I was saying when I told them not to shave their dog. Dogs are missing the one important component that allows Humans to cool themselves...... Sweat glands. Dogs cool themselves by respiration, not sweating. This is the reason that I tell people not to shave their dogs, as this removes a good source of natural insulation... their coat. If your dog loves to get into a wading pools, then the evaporation of the water will remove a large amount of heat, as well as providing the same type of cooling that humans enjoy.

If you want to do something for your wonderful member of your family - provide a cool airsource and to keep your dog in the shade (and remember to have your shade source being a light color - black is a better heat absorber than a heat reflector - as with a white color). As for the engineer with the thermal modeling..... this whole deal does not take a rocket scientist (or engineer) to figure out..... the fan is a good idea! Just use some common sense in protecting your family member.
Brad Peceimer - Fremont, CA USA - Wednesday, June 03, 1998 at 12:01:41 (EDT)

WATER-WATER-WATER!!!!Good thing Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. We need a walk every day all three of us no matter how hot it is we expect a walk and excercise. So we only walk where we know swimming is available. It's our reward. Along rivers or lakes always. Bear can smell a like a mile away. He's always calm and collected and minds well...until he sees water then it's no holding back he dashes for it, loves it, couldn't live without it. Soon Chester and I catch up with him and swim too. Swimming and snow my two Berner's favorite things!!! Bring them to water early in their life and swim with them.
Lynn Younglove- Mpls., MN USA - Wednesday, June 03, 1998 at 01:24:25 (EDT)

I have found that the use of a low floor fan helps my BMD keep cool in the summer. I do leave the air conditioning on for him, and also a low floor fan in the tile entrance of my house. He love to lay on the cool tile in front of the fan. He flips on his back sides, and belly for hours. After a walk in the summer sun he knows he gets a cool rubdown with a ice pack bag the type used for a sports injury, he loves it on top of his neck and under his neck, then he just does the bernese drop in font of the fan and is as happy as can be...Hope this tip helps Karl and Beau in New Jersey :)
Karl A. Corino - Hackettstown, New Jersey USA - Tuesday, May 19, 1998 at 09:54:02 (EDT)

I enjoyed reading all the suggestions for keeping our beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs comfortable in the summer -- not a small or insignificant challenge. My friends call Jessie, who will be 8 in June, the "A/C Dog" because I leave the air conditioning running for all the time!

The last few summers I have also had her shaved for the summer. The remaining coat is Lab length plus she gets to keep her front feathering [somewhat] and a fluffy tail. After a day or so of embarressment, she couldn't be happier and is certainly spunkier without all that weight on her. When I decided to have a groomer shave her for the summer, I did check with my veterinarian first and could find no reason not to offer her this extra comfort. I think the insulation issue is bunk, especially for a dog who is inside most of the time.
Carol Hodes - Old Bridge, New Jersey USA - Sunday, May 10, 1998 at 14:50:30 (EDT)

We only walk our two Berners at dawn or dusk before the heat of the day gets too intense for them. As well as, we put ice cubes in their water bowls and keep them indoors as much as possible. And, never take them for a ride in the car leave them in it when temps are up. And, lastly, they love vanilla ice cream!
Renee Cole - Indianapolis, IN USA - Friday, May 08, 1998 at 09:07:31 (EDT)

An update on my previous message: I talked with Cora's vet this morning. He seemed to think that it would be worth trying electrolites with her when she gets a little older. She's still a puppy. It might increase her level of activity in the heat. It's very important to know that electrolites will increase the level of thirst and be sure that dogs don't run out of water. I'll probably try a small dose later in the summer and let you know if it makes a difference.
Lisa Hasler- NH USA - Thursday, April 30, 1998 at 13:26:48 (EDT)

Has anyone tried giving their Berner electrolites?? I'm going to talk with my vet about this possibility. I've had great sucess with electrolites with horses who work in the heat. Human athletes use them. I don't know if they are appropriate for dogs. Anyone have an answer??
lisa hasler- NH USA - Tuesday, April 28, 1998 at 11:40:56 (EDT)

Keep exercise down to twenty minutes per day. I would suggest early morning or early evening. Available fresh drinking water and access to a kiddy pool. Keep indoors and in air conditioned home as necessary on very hot and humid days.
Kathleen Blount- Montague, New Jersey USA - Thursday, April 23, 1998 at 10:18:31 (EDT)

I am SO glad I read up on this before the nasty heat (30-35 degrees celcius) hits Toronto this July/August. My husband and I just recently purchased a new house for July and although it does not yet have central a.c., the basement is unfinished with a nice smooth cold concrete floor where I am sure our baby Berner (11 months) "Chancellor" will be spending his first summer quite happily. Getting a.c. was never a question however - we will be getting it pronto!

Thank you to everyone for the ice-cube/apple suggestions - brilliant! Also - I too plan to try to the baby pool - Lake Ontario is NOT an option even though other people will tell you it's safe - I wouldn't put my dog where I won't swim myself. One thing - I was warned by owners of a 3 year old male,when we got our little guy last year - "don't assume they can swim"; their dog almost drown once when his feet left solid sand and he panicked in a lake. We plan to introduce Chancellor to he baby pool first, then a clean lake, while we are both in our bathing suits! Everyone's suggestions were so sensible - thank you for confirming what we knew already - our little guy sleeps by the front door in the dead of winter so there is no way he can survive 30 degrees without assistance!

About the COOL MAT that one gentleman mentioned - I saw it too! There is an ad in the back of the recent Dog Fancy magazine issue(the one with the Boxers on the cover)for a cooling mat - and this one sounds a bit different but same concept - approx. $80.00 for extra large size. I'm ordering one immediately!

Good luck everyone with Summer 1998!
Sandra Rotermund - Toronto, Ontario CANADA - Monday, April 20, 1998 at 15:21:09 (EDT)

When I was purchased my berner Brady ("The Bradster"), I was told from the breeder and many other berner owners that they did not really care for water. Well much to my suprise he absolutely loves it. Last summer I purchased a kiddie pool and filled it up under a shady tree. He thinks that thing is the greatest! He continually jumps in and out while trying to put all of his toys in the pool. He's hilarious to watch.

When he's not playing in his pool, he spends a majority of his time inside in the A/C. I dont think he could survive without it. He can usually be found laying in his metal crate with the fan blowing on him. And if he's not there, he's laying laying by the door on the tile floor.

Just like so many others have said, he too loves ice cubes. And needless to say winter is his favorite season. He was very dissapointed that we didn't have much snow this year, but hopefully next winter we'll have a blast playing in the snow.

Rebecca - Amherst, OH USA - Sunday, April 19, 1998 at 19:11:44 (EDT)

In reply to the engineer who says not to shave your dog: I'm also an engineer (aerospace) and I have yet to find any engineer who can make a thermal model that works! To prove this, I recently shaved Bernie (to 1/2 inch). He may look dorky, but, he has never been happier. I also had made a dog house (white with insolation of course) that has a built in solar fan. This way the fan speed is regulated by the amount of sun, it's portable and energy efficient. I used DC computer box fans. It works great and Bernie loves it and when he's happy I'm happy.

P.S. Shaving Bernie also means I don't have to vacuum every day (twice a day when company is coming over).
anonymous- MV, CA USA - Friday, April 17, 1998 at 15:58:05 (EDT)

Brush the coat often, trim the excess hair around their digits, and provide plenty of water. A very clean and cool basement seems to be the best!...alot of space. They are so great and tolerant!..
Pablo Vasquez - FT.Wayne, IN USA - Wednesday, April 15, 1998 at 19:22:18 (EDT)

I introduced my Berner pup, Augie, to swimming his first summer. He loves the water! Living in So Cal we have to be sure to keep him comfortable. We help keep him cool with swimming, leaving the hose on and with a "mister" that hooks up to the hose. Inside, he loves the tile floors and of course, we use the air conditioner. Most important, we don't overexert him during hot days. Basically, Augie, the King, gets whatever he needs to stay cool! I read the bobbing for apple suggestion and will try that soon....he'll love that!
Pam Scudder - Upland, CA USA - Monday, April 13, 1998 at 18:42:32 (EDT)

I have been working and training dogs for over 28 yrs. I must commend each and everyone who has sent in a reply to the question of heat tolerance. I remember that when I was on patrol in South East Asia we wet hown our animals to keep them cool. Whatever you do that works for your animal is fine and picking up advice from others is also fine. We must remember what ever we do that works is the best that we can do.Keep up the great work advising each other and keeping each other informed. Thanks for your time- Mike
Mike Fisher - Middletown, N.Y. USA - Sunday, April 12, 1998 at 21:48:55 (EDT)

We got our 1st Bernese in 1986 when she was 3-4 yrs old. Hajda (pronounced: Hi-dah, "cheerful" in Polish) liked to dig wallows in shady places, too. When it would reach about 65 degrees, she would just lay around.

When my husband first suggested clipping, I was concerned how she would look. I found that was very silly. We had her clipped to about 1/2 inch, all but ears tail and she was bouncy happy again. She looked like a very large puppy or like a Greater Swiss. A local breeder tried to tell us that bull about that they shouldn't be clipped as it insulated, but we could see such a marked difference in our dog that we knew we'd done the right thing. So, unless you're showing your dog, STOP WORRYING ABOUT HOW THEY'LL LOOK AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOUR COMPANION. We just lost Hajda this last August to old age...she lived to be 15! and I am sure the clippings had a lot to do with it. I'm sure it was much easier on her heart. Our 2nd Bernese, Kohanka, acted just the same when clipped, getting frisky again immediately. Our new addition, Hannah, almost 6 months old will have the same kindness done for her. We would generally get them clipped late May, early June and by fall, the coat was grown back lovely as ever for the winter.
Alice Hendricks- Mt. Vernon, WA USA - Saturday, April 04, 1998 at 01:39:18 (EST)

When my Bernese gets hot he lays right in front of the door.Not only does the draft coming from under the help kept him cool but the floor is tile so that also kepts him cool.
Geena- Philadelphia, PA USA - Friday, March 27, 1998 at 22:14:42 (EST)

When the weather starts to get warm I leave the air conditioner on all day. It is an expense that I feel is worthwhile to help my two Berners get through the summer in New York City. I also wait until the sun goes down to take them on longer walks.
Carolyn Sanzone - Brooklyn, NY USA - Friday, March 27, 1998 at 16:36:59 (EST)

We have a 13 month old male named Duncan, he is our first Berner, as well as our first dog. He was just a little puppy last summer, but what I did was I kept a spray bottle filled with water in the fridge and I sprayed him every chance I got. Not only did this seem to make him comfortable, but he thought it was the best game. I also washed his face frequently and saturated his paws (front and back) with water because my breeder said it was a great way to cool him down fast. Along with ice cubes and frozen carrots, he was pretty content all summer.
Lisa Donaldson - Colorado Springs, CO USA - Tuesday, March 24, 1998 at 17:00:50 (EST)

Apples Ice Cubes.

We live in the San Joaquin Valley in California. It starts to get hot around April. we have some preety hot days, but we get the Delta breezes in the evenings. I have found by putting an apple in their water bowl, they first of all have to bob it out, which takes some time. the reward is the apple. Apple's have water in them and will help keep your dogs hydrated. I also place ice cubes in their water for bobing also. this is a fun game for them. Again, the ice cube is their reward. Try this some time. It really keeps a dog busy if you have to leave them alone for periods of time.
Teresa Vigil - Woodbridge, CA USA - Monday, March 23, 1998 at 21:01:48 (EST)

We are originally from PA and recently moved to Florida. Auggy is 14 months old and is used to the weather up north. We were lucky to have a pond and a stream on our property, so in the summer we had to towel him off on a daily basis! When we moved to Florida it was a change for all of us. We quickly learned that although he wanted to run and play outside, he just could not last like he could up north. The weather in the "winter" down here is perfect for him but summer is approaching fast. We keep the air on for him when the temp rises. He also has his own fan next to his bed and that goes on at night for him. He loves it! We also find that ice cubes are one of his favorite things. When the temp really rises, we found a wonderful item in a mail order pet catalog that you MUST try. It is a doggy mat filled with crystals that expand and cool when the mat is soaked in cold water for 30 minutes. The mat then stays cool for several day. Then you simply re-soak it in the tub. He LOVES this mat! We bring that with us especially when we travel, if it is really hot out he'll take the mat before tile or concrete any day! Look for it in USA Pet (I think that was the catalog).

I also wanted to respond to the gentleman that studied thermal engineering. Yes, fur can be an insilator, however, Berners have two coats and they are primarily black. Berners have been known to die of heat exaustion because the heat is attracted to the black coat then is trapped next to the skin. Although they are big sturdy animals, they are still fragile. One can not just assume that their dog is protected because of this theory - you could come home to find a major problem if you do this. These dogs are not meant to thrive in the heat they are snow dogs from Switzerland. Common sense would tell you to protect this breed from the heat. Besides when was the last time you were kept cool in a floor length fur in the middle of 90 degree temperatures?

I think it is wonderful that everyone has a special trick to keep their Berner cool! Instead of criticizing - I applaud you all! These are members of our families, not just our "pets" so they should be as comfortable as we are when the temp gets up there.
Brooke Schmidt - Boca Raton, Florida USA - Monday, March 23, 1998 at 16:30:17 (EST)

Our berner has always loved to lay stretched out on the tiles inside. Even when he was a very small pup he hated the heat and layed on the tiles, never on the carpet. When it gets very hot this is still his preferred place to be. Otherwise he has a place under the tree, he digs into the dirt a little.

When I am going to take him for a walk I give him a bath first, even though they dry very quickly I think this helps a bit.
Tania Monaghan - SHEPPARTON, VICTORIA AUSTRALIA - Saturday, March 21, 1998 at 06:12:44 (EST)

Nigel has a double thick coat. Last summer was warmer than usual and it was causing him to have alot of hot spots and diarrhea. We had resisted a recommendation the summer before from our groomer to have him shaved, but after all else failed, we gave in. After he got over the initial shock, he was like a puppy again. It also made it easier to take him to the beach for a swim. He didn't have another hot spot all summer, the diarrhea cleared up, and his fur grew back beautifully before it got cold in the fall.
Patti Franklin- Falmouth, Maine USA - Thursday, March 19, 1998 at 21:45:57 (EST)

Max and I have lived in Kentucky all of his two years. This has been a terrible problem for us. I am a camp director, backpacking mostly, so air conditioning is not an option, along with ice cubes. I make sure he has enough water, and take him to the creek as much as possible. This helps but I have found that it is not enough. Everyone told me not to shave him giving differing reasons from his coat insolates him from the heat to his coat will never grow back the same way. After 1 week of his throwing up daily and not even wanting to lift his head before sundown, even when the kids were around I decided to have him shaved, no not bald but short. He looked terrible and of course everyone told me so but he perked right up. He was 100% happier. His coat does look the same but is about 1 inch shorter, I left his head hair so I can see the difference. No one else has noticed the shorter hair, and it is just as wavy and nice. His coat has always been one of his beauty spots! I have now moved to Ohio and can keep him in Air during the hot part of the day so I won't shave him unless I have to but it is not as bad as people would lead you to believe, when you have exhosted your other choices.
Kahtleen Reese - Cincinnatti, OH USA - Wednesday, March 18, 1998 at 18:05:36 (EST)

The summers here can get quite unbearable. The humidity can get quite high for the Northeast and many times there are heat advisories for pets. Since my 9 yr. old Berner HATES baths and water in general, the only thing I found to cool him off is to leave the oscillating sprikler running. He loves to lay almost on top of the sprinkler and direct the water flow with his chin. He has become very adept at keeping the sprinkler aimed at his chest without getting squirted in the face. The other way he likes to keeps cool is to play with ice cubes.
Sandy Dali - Rochester, NY USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 15:30:52 (EST)

I live in Pretoria, South Africa. We have had rather a warm summer so far, which stretches from about September through to the end of April. The temperatures have been up to 35 degrees Celcius, I'm not sure what the Farenheit degree would be.

Emma is now 2 years old and hasn't seemed to struggle too much with the heat. From about 11 am until 4 or 5 pm, she comes indoors and rests on the cool tile floors. She really doesn.t enjoy baths and pools and one may find her running under the sprinkler. She loves eating ice. I have what we call a 'Yuppie Puppy', which is a circular steel frame about 20 cm high and has canvas stretched over the frame, this one can wet - the air passes underneath and the dogs enjoy stretching out on this. Her other trick is to dig a BIG hole under the trailer and she can spend hours in there, coming out looking like a chocolate sundae. I have sometimes wet her, or left her to drip dry after a bath.
Janet Exter - Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa - Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 04:34:02 (EST)

Our Berner is now two years old. The first summer was miserable, he pulled out his hair and panted all the time. We have found that it isn't so much dry heat that bothers him, it is the humidity. Last summer, we decided that when it was hot we would keep him indoors. Air conditioning and fans are a Berner life saver, just ask Sebastian.

PS. Some of our friends keep a kiddie pool filled with water for their dogs to cool off in. However, this is not a solution for us. Sebastian HATES water!
Patricia Welch - Orange, CA USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 23:43:20 (EST)

We have not got a Berner yet but will. Our friends have one and are coping quite well with it. Here in PA it can get quite hot in the summer. What I know is that her large Berner loves the sprinkler under shade and also sleeps out side over night. There house is on the edge of the city so they go for walks before 7pm and after 7pm in between he is inside or outside. One question I have is. I do not want to leave my Berner at a kennel when we go somewhere so is it hard to cope with traveling?
Gabby- Harrisburg, PA USA - Saturday, March 07, 1998 at 15:32:32 (EST)

I live on 56 acres. There are alot of big shady oak trees. However, its can get to be in the 90's under these trees in severe heat.

If my baby can't be indoors in the A/C, I have a baby pool filled with water under the tree. There is also a water cooling device that I have submerged in the pool to keep the water cold. Its expensive, but it works.

You can buy the water cooling part from a commercial dog water dispenser merchant. Ask your local feedshop...they may be able to help out.

Good Luck!
Maria Reyes - davis, california USA - Monday, March 02, 1998 at 20:27:56 (EST)

Our Berner, Nietzsche, loves to dig big holes in shaddy spots when the weather gets too warm. She digs until she finds the cool dirt and then stays put during the warmest hours of the day. While this is not our preferred form of heat avoidance it seems to relieve her obvious discomfort when it is really hot. She is very consistent with where she digs her den and has yet to ruin anything in our yard. I cleaner cool-down tip and a good way to maintain hydration is to give your dog ice cubes.
Charmaine Stainbrook - Santa Rosa, CA USA - Monday, March 02, 1998 at 00:16:38 (EST)

In Seattle, the summers are short, but they can be oppressive for short periods. Also, air conditioning is a rarity, and we certainly do not have same. However, Booker,a 4 year old male who is part of our pack, is large and heavily "berner furred". As a result, he is somewhat uncomfortable even when the furnace is too high.

He has recently discovered the basement and the concrete floor of the garage. We have had him summer trimmed once in the past, and intend to do so again this year, as he seems so much more comfortable and is more active. Even though our summers are mild, they are certainly not mountain summers, since we are at sea level and the ambient loss is about 8 degrees per thousand feet. Ergo, those from the Alps must generally need lower temperatures.
Mark Fahrenkrug - Seattle, Wa USA - Saturday, February 28, 1998 at 20:05:24 (EST)

You may think it sort of strange for someone from North Pole, Alaska to be commenting on the Warm Weather topic but here in the interior it can often get in the 80's and 90's F in the summer. Believe me we are not used to that and it was really hard on my Berner. We, of course, don't have air conditioning and there are few places that do have it here. Bruno would find the coolest, darkest place he could. He would either stay in our basement or out in the garage on the cool cement floor. I would try to spray him down with a mist setting on our garden hose. I often wondered how in the world Berners can survive in the hot climates as he was truly miserable those summer days here. I truly worried about him. At 20 to 40 below zero he was absolutely joyful -- for me I look forward to a little heat -- we still have many months of this white stuff to go! Hugo is not as heavily coated as Bruno was. He may fair better but I look forward to suggestions and ideas in case I need them.
Jenise Klos - North Pole, Alaska USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 22:07:54 (EST)

Air Conditioning and tile floors. I keep the a/c lower than I normally would for us humans, too. We accept the fact that in the summer we're just not that active. Besides, *I* don't even want to go outside when it's 80 degrees before 8:00am!! We make up for our lazy summers once fall hits... While others are bundlled up inside during the winter ( not this one, tho), we are outside enjoying ourselves. Also, walks involving a swim or just a swim instead of a walk is good, but be careful because high level of pond bacteria can aggreviate/contribute to skin problems.....Good luck keeping cool, my boy shed his winter coat LAST month (el nino)....
Jo Ellen Dinger - Apex, NC USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 20:55:01 (EST)

I have heard some very interesting and somewhat nieve suggestions. I if you look at a number of animals in the hottest spots in the world,, they are not all clean shaven for a specific reason.

This hair provides insulation for the heat getting to the dog. I am a engineer with a background in thremal dynamics and I would not recommending shaving the dog completely bald as this would increase a number of problems for your dog including heat prostration.

The best suggestion that I can provide is to provide your dog with a "air-conditioned" area (such as inside the house) or a shady spot that has a water misting system above it. The evaporation of this water will pull 20-30 degrees farenheight from the area surrounding the misters.

Kennels that are constructed from Steel / Plywood can be used really well to bake bread, but they do not do too well when there is a wonderful berner inside. If you are using a kennel of this type the best suggestion that I can make it to paint the outside white as this will reduce the heat absorbtion from the sun (just like on the school buses). A mister will work really good in this instance. They are in the drip irrigation area of most hardware supply stores and a good system can be purchase for less than $20.00. The water is less than rate is @1-2 gallons per hour per emitter. The amount of emitters will depend on the area you want to cover.

Hosing off your dog, when he is very hot, is not a good thing either. If your dog is overheated, lightly spray down the dog, starting with the belly. Use the hose lightly and over some time (@ 30 minutes cool down the dog). During this operation provide your berner with water that is at room temperature (no ice) until they have had a chance too cool down (do you remember the first time that you drank a quart slurpee on a really hot day...... you get the picture!).

We all really love these dogs and I hope that someone can use these suggestions!
Brad - Fremont, CA USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 19:55:35 (EST)

Air Conditioning Safety Tip: I had a freind that put in metal sheds in each dog run with it's own A/C system. One day while she was at work it reached 110 degrees and the electricity went off. The metal sheds quickly turned into ovens and there was no other shade. When she arrived home after a 10 hour absence, she found her large male hanging upside down with his back leg caught in the chain link fence - he'd tried to jump it. After 3 surgeries - he never recovered use of the leg. Solution: Don't rely only on A/C when you're away. Give them access to shady areas as well. I've known of another case where the heater came on in a house while the owner was away and when she returned the tempature indoors actually melted her candles!!

Cut the Fur: Often when I've lived in hot climates, I do a summer strip on the dogs I'm not showing in conformation. I do it at the beginning of summer and by the time winter rolls around, they are coated back up. It does come back just fine and the same way it left and they love it. You might even try this on older dogs. It takes several pounds off and they act like puppies. If you don't know how to use a pair of clippers, have a groomer do it. Ask for a "Summer Clip" or "Summer Strip". You can ask for a specific length in inches to be left. It's the most common grooming procedure done at the beginning of summer on all hairy breeds. It also helps your dog dry off faster if they swim alot. If you don't want to clip the entire dog, just shave the stomach area trim the feet bottoms as this is where a dog cools off. Just tell everyone he's a Greater Swiss.

Fans: These are great where you have no A/C but do be careful. You can place them outside a fence or inside a wire crate for safety. Keep the cords and blades out of reach.

Swimming: The best excersice and a cool one at that. If your dog doesn't want to swim, get on your bathing suit and go in with him. That usually works.

Water: Two water sources are also good for safety. Bowls can be tipped over and lick spouts do break.

Wading Pools: Take care not to add too much water. A baby or a dog can drown in just a couple of inches, but it's a good idea.
Dawn Gabig - Trimble, MO USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 15:47:50 (EST)

We live in South Florida, so we get nailed with the hot stuff all year long. Our Berner, Dexter, seems to cope quite well as long as we do our part to keep him comfortable. The most important factor is AIR CONDITIONING!! Dexter is an inside dog, so he never has to deal with the dog days of summer (which includes fall, winter, and spring in these parts). Since berners do require excercise, Dexter always wakes us up around 5:45AM so he can get his walk in before the sun rises. He also makes us walk him after the sun sets in the evening. We always have lots of ice water with us when we bring him anywhere, but keep the activity level low. Dexter lets us know when he has had enough. These few steps keep him pretty happy, and on the rare occasion of a cold front, we always have a "Dexter Day" outdoors because he is, afterall-a Mountain Dog.
Jim Cristina - West Palm Beach, Fl USA - Sunday, February 22, 1998 at 09:31:22 (EST)

We live in California where it gets very hot. I have only one word for keeping our dogs cool on the hot dog days of summer"AIR-CONDITIONING" and at night it usually cools off enough to let them sleep outside where they really enjoy spending their time.
Cheryl Trapani - Cobb, Ca USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 23:58:58 (EST)

We have a 5 year old male with extremely long hair. He has lived through the humid summers at the Jersey shore and now the El nino weather of LA. Both homes has central air, not only for him but me too, so that helped him stay cool. I also try to walk him before 8 AM and after 8 PM. Keeping out of the hot day sun. Somedays I have been known to turn the hose on him, of course he drinks from it, but enjoyo the cooling down. We also have alot of tiled floors, which he chooses for those many naps.

The only bad thing about LA is that he sheds daily, in fact he has lost his under coat. He needs the cold, but I needed him when we moved, so he has adjusted very nicely, me too.
Maryanne Nava - RPV, CA USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 23:33:09 (EST)

We've had 2 Berners each of which lived 13 years. They do very well in hot[desert] climate. Give them very frequent short walks, with exercise early A.M. and late P.M. Keep them indoors when not out for walk. Avoid car rides. Leave them water [with ice cubes] 24 hours a day. Lighten their diet. We use Science Diet Senior mixed with 1/2can Rx HD twice daily [leave it down longer as they eat slower in heat]. Brush them often but don't bathe too often [once a month]. Love them to death but expect less activity and more rest time. [Yes, we're now on #3... a handsome 4 month old we call Buster..."photos on request"]
JORDAN GOODMAN, M.D. - LAS VEGAS , NEVADA USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 20:41:20 (EST)

Shade - my backyard is well covered by trees.

Water to get in - a kid's wading pool with a few inches of water. It does get dirty fairly fast. One Berner loves it, the other won't go near it (except to drink from it, the dirtier the better).

Water to drink - one Lik-It attached to a faucet, and one water bowl on the wall attached to the water suppy. Both are under a ledge so they don't get hot.

Outdoor air conditioning - this is a water misting device, more common in the southwest than in the SF Bay Area, but I found a kit last year and attached it to the house under the eaves and connected it to a sprinkler system. The sprinkler system timer turns the mister on several times a day for a few minutes each time. Haven't yet found the ideal combination of cooling and reasonable water use, although I doubt we'll have any water shortages in 98. The dogs like it,

I have also been know to leave them with access to the house, although without air conditioning they are better off outside on those really hot days.

When an obliging human is around with a water hose, they also enjoy a good game of catch-the-water-stream.
Al Curras - Newark, CA USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 14:56:34 (EST)

Swim! Swim! That's our answer. During the summer months, the only walks we take are ones that lead straight to a lake, or better yet, walks that follow the shoreline all the way around.

A group of local Bernerfolk in this area also hold a "Beach Blast" every summer and rent a beach in a local state forest for the day. The dogs spend four hours swimming and playing on the beach and they love it.

We have a young puppy now, and we'll probably get her a kiddie pool to splash in when the hot weather arrives. (The neighbors already think we're nuts, anyway). :-)
Laurie Crocker - North Andover, MA USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 10:36:46 (EST)

A cold surface to lie on--cement or tiled floors, no mat in the crate. Ceiling fan at medium speed. Lots of cold water-I have a water cooler and change the water often. As a matter of fact, the dogs stand and look at the bowl if the water is too warm. Ice cubes to lick. Walks early in the morning before the heat sets in. I keep 1 litre pop bottles filled with water in the freezer, and if the dog is panting heavily because of the heat, I wrap these in towels and place them in the armpit and groin area. Daily grooming to help shed that extra fur. We moved down here from Eastern Canada in mid-march when the girls still had their winter coats and these tricks helped immensely. Now that they have "Southern Coats", we are heading back north. Maybe we should have QA on how to keep the Berners warm??
Lesley Rouillier - Baton Rouge, LA USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 09:30:18 (EST)

Fortunately, my Berners (I have two males)have free access via doggy doors to the house, garage and back yard. In the summer here, we get alot of day of 95+ degrees and the dogs generally stay in the air-conditioning and venture outside once night falls and the temperatures drop, preferring to sleep on the deck at night.
Sheila Jones - Auburn, Ca USA - Monday, February 16, 1998 at 21:34:00 (EST)

From Hugh, Orangeburg, New York -

Different berners have different coats. I have two light-coats, my Sally had a very heavy coat.

My Sally wasn't really happy until it's below freezing. She loved to run and play, but she really couldn't run and play unless it wass 20 outside.

Starting in April I've got to hustle to get them outside before seven in the morning. As soon as it hits 65 the a/c is on and it's set on arctic.

Sometimes I feel bad because my dogs are coping with my environment instead of enjoying their own.

I think the heat puts a constant stress on their system. If you get a good dog from a good breeder and you do the right things everything will be fine. I'm just the webmaster and I don't know that much but I think that the heat and stress will turn a minor rash into an ulcerated lesion, a mild allergy into a chronic illness, and that the lack of exercise can make a minor skeletal or muscular imperfection a major discomfort for the dog.

As I said, if you get the right dog from the right breeder and do it the right way it can work. It's just incumbent on you and the breeder to do a better job and make a better dog.

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