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10 Dog Breeds at Highest Risk for Heatstroke


According to Trupanion’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Denise Petryk lists the following as signs that your dog is at higher risk for heatstroke: older, overweight, short nosed, thick-coated, low-energy, out of shape, doesn’t drink enough water, and/or has underlying diseases like heart, respiratory, endocrine disorders, or arthritis. In addition, the following breeds tend to be at greater risk.

#1 – English Bulldog

@AmberRosenbaugh via Flickr

Like most of the breeds on this list, the bulldog is a brachycephalic (short-nosed, hard-breathing) breed, which means they can overheat easily. However, they also tend to be lazy, overweight, and out of shape, possibly making them the breed that is MOST LIKELY to get heatstroke.

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#2 – Pug

@Phault via Flickr

Pugs are usually pretty active pups, but there scrunched up face can causes shortness of breath while they run around, making them a perfect candidate for heatstroke. The black ones, especially, because that shiny coat really traps the heat in.

#3 – French Bulldog

@CarlosVarela via Flickr

The Frenchie has the same problems as the pug – high energy and just no way to breathe well. Keep an eye on your pup and make sure they are taking breaks and not getting too hot.

#4 – Boston Terrier

BL4d3RuNr via Flickr

Another brachycephalic breed, the Boston can overweight easily when running around and since most are black and white, they tend to attract heat like the black pug. May Boston’s are also on the pudgy side, making them more susceptible as well.

#5 – Shih Tzu

@LynLomasi via Flickr

Shih Tzu are a short-nosed breed that also has long hair, making them a prime heatstroke target. Giving your Shih Tzu a summer cut can help them stay cool, as well as making sure they get plenty of water and breaks from the sun.

#6- Pekingese

@RobBixby via Flickr

Like the Shih Tzu, they have long hair that can be clipped in hot weather to help them stay cool. They also tend to be a breed that gets overweight, being cuddlers more than runners. Keep yours fit and avoid too much sun to help avoid heatstroke.

#7 – Boxer

@PedroRibeiroSimoes via Flickr

Another high-energy, short-nosed breed, the boxer’s problem is not usually being out-of-shape, but just not knowing when to take a break. They may be more likely to not drink enough water, because it would mean stopping the play to do it. As they get older, however, Boxers do tend to put on pounds, so make sure your senior dog is staying trim.

#8 – Chow Chow

@ScottKinmartin via Flickr

Known for its amazing coat, the Chow is a prime target for heatstroke. In addition, they too can have shorter noses that may inhibit breathing. Due to the nature of their coat, if you do shave it, it will actually make them hotter (not to mention ruining the fur). It is best to just limit their time in heat and watch for signs of overheating.

#9 – Overweight Golden Retriever

While not normally a breed that is at high risk for heatstroke, if your golden is overweight, then they become predisposed to overeating. Also common in this breed is early problems with Laryngeal paralysis, where the larynx does not open or shut properly, making it hard to breathe.

#10 – Overweight Labrador Retriever

@PeteMarkham via Flickr

Labs have the same issues as goldens when they get heavy. They become prime targets for heatstroke and can also have laryngeal paralysis, which ups their chances of overheating.

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