The 11 most heat-sensitive dog breeds

The heat came and with it, the heat stroke. This does not happen only with humans, high temperatures also greatly affect pets, especially dogs, who go out for walks, sometimes when the mercury reaches its maximum.

Educanin’s ethologist, Mar Ibáñez, points out that the body temperature of dogs “tends to be around 39 degrees” and that when there is sunstroke it rises to 42.

“Dogs that are older or puppies tend to be more susceptible to heat stroke,” he explains to The HuffPost. The expert recalls that dogs do not have as many sweat glands as humans. “They hardly sweat and expel heat and regulate their temperature through their mouth and nose,” he says.

For this reason, he points out that you have to be especially attentive to whether the animal’s nose becomes dry or if it is panting too much. “A nose that is not wet implies a rise in body temperature, it also usually happens when they have a fever, although sometimes it happens when they are in a dry and poorly ventilated environment,” he points out. You also have to be aware if the animal does not move, has trouble moving or staggers.

“Some dogs salivate a lot when they are hot to try to get wet and others, when the lack of oxygen is very high, their tongue becomes numb and bluish. These are very serious cases before which you have to take him to the vet, “he says.

Which are the most sensitive?

In the case of hair, this is not as determining a factor for them to suffer from heat stroke as it is for respiratory difficulties or obesity. “The coat is protective against solar radiation, so we recommend not shaving the animals this time of year,” he explains.

“Dogs create a kind of air chamber that regulates their temperature and keeps them cool,” says Ibáñez. Therefore, not because a dog has a lot of hair, for example, an Afghan, a water dog or a hushky you have to be more prone to heat stroke.

This theory is reflected in the data extracted in a study published in 2020 in the journal Nature, which includes the incidence of diseases and deaths derived from sunstroke in the different breeds of dogs.

In this way it was seen that dogs with brachycephalic skull shape and those who weighed more than 50kg (considered obese in many cases) were at higher risk.

Dog breeds more sensitive to heat

According to this research, in 2016 heat-related illnesses had an incidence of 0.04 in veterinary consultations in the United Kingdom – it should be remembered that there the average maximum summer temperature of 23ºC compared to the 30º maximum on average in Spain—.

These ailments had a fatality of 14.18% and the analysis shows that the main risk factors are: race, weight in relation to the mean of the race, sex and being over 2 years old.

Gráfica de la investigación 'Incidence and risk factors for heat-related illness (heatstroke) in UK dogs under primary veterinary care in 2016' publicada en Nature en 2020.

Gráfica de la investigación ‘Incidence and risk factors for heat-related illness (heatstroke) in UK dogs under primary veterinary care in 2016’ publicada en Nature en 2020.

How to prevent it from happening?

For the veterinarian, it is essential that the animal is in a “cool place and has fresh water available.” “It is important that you have shade and water available, not keep it indoors and avoid being tied up, for example, when you are on the terrace or in the garden since you can strangle trying to drink water and sometimes make it difficult for you to breathe”, Explain. “Of course, never leave it on a terrace in the sun, much less locked in a car,” he emphasizes.

Also remember that you have to try to keep the walks short in hot hours and avoid going outside at peak times of high temperatures. “The ground, for example asphalt or concrete give off heat that can affect the animal, and even in some cases damage the pads of the feet,” he says.

“When you go out for a walk it is important to go through shady areas, with vegetation and fresh, and always carry water to give the animal in a drinker or a bottle,” he recalls. He also points out that the animal should not do great physical exercise and that they should not be fed in hot hours. “Always early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as digestion raises the body temperature and can be fatal,” he says.

Ibáñez advises being attentive to the animal’s risk factors, especially if it is one of the breeds most prone to heat stroke, if the animal has respiratory or cardiovascular diseases, age or if it is obese.

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