Overheating is common in the summer and with temperatures spiking high, it’s easy to do. However, we aren’t the only ones that are at risk. Our puppy pals can be victims of overheating and brachycephalic breeds are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion.
The full name of this disorder is brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS). I know it is a big word to take in, but it affects those dog breeds with very short faces (e.g. Boxer, Bulldog, King Charles spaniel, Pekingese, Pug). They have a comparatively short head to other dogs, which can enable their breathing.
These breeds tend to have respiratory difficulties that can be exhibited through an elongated and fleshy, soft palate and narrowed nostrils. Many of these breeds also have a relatively small trachea and changes to the larynx. You will often find them making noises from heaving breathing to a complete collapse of the breath.
Summer heat causes a dog’s body temperature to rise. Dogs pant as a cooling mechanism to lower their body temperatures. Brachycephalic dogs have to increase their panting since they have a hard time breathing as it is. The increased panting causes further swelling and narrowing of the already constricted airways, which then increases anxiety. Any form of excitement, exercise, or warm weather can trigger their accelerated breathing, causing them to overheat.
Taking them outdoors in the heat is okay, but for short periods. Keeping them in the cool air conditioning with lots of fresh, cool water will help keep them from heat exhaustion.
Whether your dog is a brachycephalic breed or not, it’s important to keep your dog from overheating. There are many ways to keep your pup cool in the summer. We all want your pup to be safe this summer, so please be a responsible doggy parent and keep your pet’s safety a priority.
Photo courtesy of Sam Fox Photography
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