Summer months can be extremely dangerous for dogs, so extra care should be taken to make sure dogs always have access to water and a cool place to rest. It is also crucial that they aren’t doing too much activity during the hottest part of the day, because it can easily become a fatal or critical situation. Below are three factors that increase a dog’s chances of experiencing heat-related stress:
1.) Underlying respiratory issues: Laryngeal paralysis, which is most common in medium to large sized breeds like pit bulls and Labradors, can lead to inadequate ventilation and is very dangerous in combination with hot weather.
Dogs with collapsing tracheas are also at an increased risk for heatstroke because of the swelling in their airways. Flat-faced canines, like pugs and bulldogs, often suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome, making it difficult to release heat (especially when temperatures rise). If your dog has any of these underlying conditions, always keep an eye out for symptoms of stress.
2.) Inadequate access to shade and water: This is an obvious one, but any dog left outdoors without adequate access to shade and clean, cool water is at an elevated risk for heat-related illness. Dogs should be brought indoors if possible and outdoor activity should be limited to early mornings and evenings. No matter what, always give your dog access to water.
3.) Not being acclimated to hot weather: If you’ve just moved to a new (warmer) area or the weather takes a sudden turn for the sweltering, know that your dog may not be able to gauge when to stop running and playing. Know that signs of heatstroke (excessive panting, drooling, increased heart rate, bright red gums) and remain vigilant.