Warm weather can be exhausting for both pet owners and their furry friends. When a dog overheats, it pants and breathes differently in order to cool itself down. Brachycephalic breeds (short-faced) have a difficult time in the heat because they cannot breathe as easily as other breeds. This type of breathing causes them to overheat easily, making them more susceptible to heat stroke and other life-threatening problems. A few examples of dogs that fall under the Brachyephalic breed category are the French and English Bulldog, Pug, Boxer, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Chihuahua, and Boston Terrier. Here are a few tips to keep your short-faced dog comfortable and safe in the warm weather:
Keep the water bowl full. Make sure there is always enough water available for your dog. If your pup goes outside, make sure to keep a water bowl in the shade to keep it cool.
Keep your dog inside. As temperatures rise, your dog will be much more comfortable at home. It is easy for your short-faced dog to overheat if left outside in the hot weather. If outside, keep on the grass because hot pavement can burn the pads of your dog’s paws. If he does come in the car with you, make sure to turn on the air conditioning. But remember, it is important not leave him in the car alone for even a few minutes.
Use cooling devices. There are several products for keeping pets cool such as cooling mats, fans, kiddie pools, and air-conditioning equipment. You can also make your own cooling device by freezing water in a sturdy plastic bag and wrapping it in a heavy towel. You can lay the device in your dog’s bed so he or she can keep comfortable. Or, trying making one of these DIY summertime dog treats.
Change your pup’s exercise times. It’s easy for some short-faced dogs to become overweight, so make sure to continue normal exercise routines. Try and plan walking your dog when the sun isn’t very strong, like early morning or in the evening.
Take breaks. As you continue normal physical activities for your dog, try and pay attention to any breathing abnormalities and know when to take a break. If your dog starts to breathe heavily or makes any unusual noises while trying to breathe, it is time to take a break and let your dog cool down. You may have to shorten exercise activities to avoid heat exhaustion.
Rachel is an animal lover and although she doesn't currently own a pet, she "babysits" Smalls, a year-old English Mastiff. She recently graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Advertising. In her free time, she enjoys photography, traveling, and watching WSU football games.