July 02, 2021 2 min read

As the hot summer weather arrives and the temperature and humidity begin to rise to extreme levels, the summer heat can be fatal to pets. Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heatstroke & sunburn if overexposed to the heat.

Though a risk for all breeds, some dog breeds are more sensitive to heat such as (Brachycephalic) short-nosed breeds Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Bull Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, English bulldogs & toy spaniels.
When it's hot outside, dogs can only cool themselves by panting, which can lead to swelling in the back of their mouth & throat. This swelling makes it extremely difficult for Brachycephalic breeds to breathe or cause difficulty moving air through their lungs with the risk in extreme cases, of suffocation.

The picture below shows the back of the mouth of a long-nosed dog on the left (a collie-retriever cross) and a short-nosed dog on the right (a pug). You can see that this area is compressed and limited in the pug. All brachycephalic breeds have this anatomy. Space is even more limited when they are overweight or obese.
Knowing the signs & symptoms of overheating is very important and can be a matter of life or death, for your pets.

Below are some key symptoms of overheating:

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased heart & respiratory rate
  • Excessive drooling
  • Mild to severe weakness
  • Stupor or even collapse
  • More severe symptoms can be, Seizures, bloody diarrhea & vomit, along with elevated body temperatures of over 102. (If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, take them to an emergency clinic immediately.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not exercise or leave dogs outside in the sun or in cars when it is hot. They trust us to make good choices, as they are family too!

So how do you keep your furry pals cool during the hot summer heat? Below are a few tips! 
  • Invest in a dog cooling vest or wet and refrigerate a bandana to tie around their neck
  • Always carry cool water & a bowl with you
  • Stuff & freeze a Kong or West Paw with frozen raw food
  • Be sure not to simply trim instead of shaving your dog's fur during the summer season. Their coat will actually protect them from the sun. 
  • For cats, be sure to brush them more regularly Brush cats more often
  • Change your walking schedule to early in the morning or later in the evenings to avoid the strong sun and hot asphalt