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Heatstroke and High-Risk Breeds: Extra Precautions for Pets Prone to Overheating

The American Kennel Club always reminds pet parents to be more cautious with their pets during the hot months. All pets can suffer from overheating, but specific breeds are more susceptible to this condition, so practicing extra precautions for them can keep them safe during the hot months.

Know Your Pet’s Vulnerability


 Brachycephalic breeds are more prone to overheating as well, because they cannot breathe normally due to their unique physical attributes. If your pet is a brachycephalic breed, then your companion may likely suffer from BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome).

A few symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Intolerance to exercise.

  • Noisy breathing.

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Low capacity for thermoregulation.

  • Vomiting.

  • Low blood oxygenation levels.

Research shows that long-haired and double-coated breeds tend to overheat faster too.

Popular long-haired, double-coated and brachycephalic dog breeds that need extra care during the hot months include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Shit Tzus, Chow Chows, Bulldogs, Boxers, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.

Be Aware of the Signs of Overheating


Summer is all about outdoor activities so don’t forget to check on your pet regularly. Overheating can happen quickly. Staying aware of the necessary signs can keep your pet safe.

Poor skin elasticity and dry mucus membranes indicate dehydration. Sunken eyes, rapid breathing and excessive drooling may also occur. Your pet may also suffer from disorientation. As soon as you notice mild signs of overheating, try to cool your pet down right away or rush to the nearest veterinarian to be sure your pet is healthy and safe.

Practice Prevention


Preventing overheating is not difficult, it’s just a matter of anticipating your pet’s needs during the hot months. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Always provide clean drinking water, even if your pet stays indoors.

  • Provide a cooling mat or vest for your pet.

  • Keep your brachycephalic pets inside when possible. When outside, keep them in the shade.

  • Consider a summer trim for your long-haired or double-coated breeds. This can prevent their fur from retaining heat. It also allows your pet’s skin to breathe.

  • Do not leave your pet in the vehicle alone, especially during the summer.

  • Set up a pet sprinkler or pool outside for cooling down.

  • Limit outdoor exercise during severe heatwaves.

  • Stay inside during the hottest hours of the day. Walk or exercise your pet during the early morning hours or at sunset.

  • Keep off the hot pavement.

Preventing your vulnerable pet from overheating can keep your pet safe and healthy during the summer months. At the Animal Emergency Hospital Airport Freeway, we only provide high-quality veterinary emergency care. You can visit our facility in Euless, Texas, or call us at 817-571-2088 for any type of veterinary emergency.