If you’re worried that your dog is too hot, seek veterinary advice immediately and start cooling your dog straight away.
Some quick ways of cooling dogs include getting them into the shade, using cool water and using cool air. Avoid covering your dog with wet towels as it may trap heat and don’t let them drink water too quickly.
Most of the breeds at higher risk of heatstroke are brachycephalic (flat-faced). In fact, brachycephalic dogs had twice the odds of suffering heatstroke than dogs with an average muzzle (like labradors). Brachycephalic dogs are more likely to overheat because they often already struggle to breathe, even at rest. Effective panting is essential for cooling, as dogs cannot sweat like humans.
The number of dogs experiencing heatstroke was relatively low, just 0.04% of the population (or one in every 2,500 dogs). However, this study used data from 2016, and temperature records have since been broken. The intensity and frequency of heatwaves is predicted to increase in the future.
Dan ONeill is currently in receipt of funding support for VetCompass from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Dan ONeill chairs the UK Brachycephalic Working Group.
What Dogs Are at Higher Risk of Heat Stroke?
Some dogs, including larger canines, senior pets, and overweight pups, will struggle more with the heat. Older dogs cant typically get rid of excess heat as effectively as younger dogs. This reduced ability is due to their limited respiratory and cardiovascular function.
However, on the flip side, younger dogs and puppies can also be more susceptible to heatstroke simply because theyre more active. Active dogs love to run and play and wont realize until its too late that theyre getting overheated.
Giant breed dogs are more likely to get heatstroke than smaller dogs because larger bodies tend to lose body heat more slowly. Therefore, larger dogs can usually regulate their body temperature better in cold temperatures, not hot weather.
Similarly, obese dogs can also be at an increased risk for heatstroke because they can’t regulate their body temperature effectively.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are several dog breeds that are more at risk of developing heatstroke. Many are brachycephalic breeds (flat-faced), while others have thick, double coats. Also, dogs with darker coats absorb more heat than those with lighter coats.
Your pooch is panting really loud
Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature. However, if the panting sounds louder or harsher and your pooch seems to be working harder to breathe and has a wide-open mouth, it’s another sign of heat stroke in dogs.
What You NEED To Know To Protect Your Dog From Heat Stroke
While all dogs are at risk for heatstroke if allowed to overheat without treatment, some breeds are at a higher risk than others. This is mostly the breeds that aren’t able to cool down as quickly as others and are often the brachycephalic breeds. (Brachycephalic breeds are dogs that have shortened or “squished” faces. Because their muzzles and heads are shortened and widened but with the same amount of soft tissue as a regular dog, they often have difficulty breathing – therefore they have difficulty cooling down.)
So if you’re going to be out in the heat, definitely make sure you’re able to keep your pet safe, especially if they are one of these breeds. Remember, if you think your pet is showing signs of heatstroke, try your best to cool their ears, feet and stomach (with lukewarm or cool water, not ice-cold) and get them to the nearest veterinarian immediately.
Although originally developed as a working breed, the Bulldog (or English Bulldog) has a much shorter muzzle than it used to. They have developed into very large dogs that can suffer quite a few significant health problems, with breathing difficulties being one of them. Because of this, it’s recommended to exercise your Bulldog in the coolest temperatures possible.
The Pug is a small Chinese breed that was actually developed in Europe after its ancestors were imported there. It was a popular companion dog even as far back as the 16th century and remains so today. They are susceptible to breathing problems, however, and care should be taken to avoid heatstroke.
Boxer – The Boxer is a working breed from Germany that actually still works quite well today. Although their muzzles have gotten shorter and more problems have arisen, they are still very active dogs that do quite well in warm weather. That said, they are a brachycephalic breed that is at a higher risk for heatstroke than other working breeds, such as a Doberman Pinscher or German Shepherd Dog.