Temperatures are a rising! Pet parents once again need to be aware of the potential dangers of exposing their dogs to the summer heat. That is especially true for senior dogs, puppies, overweight dogs, and more heat sensitive breeds.
Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads but release excess heat primarily by panting. Brachycephalic or flat-faced dog breeds have more difficulty taking in enough air to cool themselves down by panting.
Flat-faced dogs such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs and shih tzus are more sensitive to heat because they suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). These breeds have small nasal openings and long soft palates in the back of their mouths, which limits airflow. They also have a narrower windpipe and must work harder to take in enough air to keep themselves cool. It is always a good idea to walk flat faced breeds with a harness vs a collar to make sure their airway is not constricted.
Senior dogs are considered "seniors" at age 5 in larger breeds and age 8 in smaller breeds. All senior dogs are generally more sensitive to heat in general and are just more vulnerable to heatstroke.
Overweight dogs have a harder time in the heat because of all the extra fat cells. They can therefore overexert themselves if walked to long during the hottest times of the day.
Puppies cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adult dogs can. And with all those high-energy activities like running around - they can easily overdo it in the heat.
Always closely monitor your dog during the summer. Common signs of heatstroke include collapse, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, wobbliness, excessive panting, or difficulty breathing.
It is always a great idea to add the ASPCA Animal Poison Center Hotline number to your mobile phone just in case of any animal emergency. They can be reached at 888.426.4435.