With summer approaching, it’s time to talk about heat stroke. Since dogs can’t sweat, the only way they can reduce their body temperature is by panting.
Any dog can overheat and suffer a heat stroke, but some dog breeds are far more likely than others to have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. Here are 7 breeds that don’t do well in the heat.
#1 – English Bulldog
Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds are the most prone to heat stroke since they have narrowed nostrils and airways, and Bulldogs are the flattest-faced of all. They have a difficult time breathing when they overexert themselves, especially in the heat, and are highly susceptible to heat stroke. Try walking them in the mornings and evenings during the warmer months.
#2 – Chow Chow
Chows have an extremely thick coat that can cause them to overheat, especially if it isn’t kept brushed out. Some Chow owners choose to shave their dog in the summer, but this is damaging to the coat and allows the sun to hit the dog’s skin directly. Keep them well-brushed out so cool air can reach the dog’s skin.
#3 – Pug
This snub-nosed breed is prone to obesity, which makes it even more difficult for them to breathe and cool down. Black Pugs are especially prone to heat stroke. Don’t let them run around too much in the heat of the day.
#4 – Alaskan Malamute
These dogs were bred to pull sleds in the Arctic. Their thick coat is perfect for keeping them warm in the winter, but it can keep them a little too warm in the summer. Keep them brushed out and try to exercise them mostly in the mornings and evenings.
#5 – Boxer
Boxers have so much energy that they may not stop playing long enough to drink water and cool down. Their shorter muzzles also make it more difficult to breathe. Force them to take breaks if they’re playing outside and avoid letting them run around outside too much during the hottest part of the day.
#6 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Their short muzzles make it hard to breathe, and they’re another breed prone to obesity. Manage their weight and avoid letting them run around in the heat.
#7 – Pomeranian
These little dogs have a thick coat and a short muzzle, which can lead to overheating. Just like the Chow, shaving their thick coat can ruin it and won’t reduce overheating. Be sure to keep the thick undercoat brushed and limit long walks to morning and evening hours.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion, a precursor to heat stroke, can include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rapid panting, and the inside of the ears turning red. Get your dog inside quickly and offer fresh (but not cold) water. Dampen the skin with lukewarm water and allow it to air-dry. You should follow up with the vet to ensure no permanent damage occurred.
Heat stroke can be deadly, but it is preventable. Always be mindful of the temperature when your dog is playing outside and NEVER leave them in a car unattended, even for just a few minutes.