As temperatures rise, a veterinarian has issued a warning to pet owners about the nine dog breeds that are most susceptible to heatstroke this summer. Among them are two breeds known for their high energy levels and love for exercise.
Cat, a popular social media personality and veterinarian from the UK, has gained a massive following of over 325,000 on TikTok and an additional 31,000 on Instagram, thanks to her valuable veterinary advice. Last summer, she created a video highlighting the breeds that commonly struggle in warmer temperatures.
Referring to a 2020 study by Vet Compass, Cat emphasized that Chow Chows are 17 times more likely to suffer from heatstroke compared to the average dog. She explained, "It's hardly surprising when you consider they've got a double whammy of a slightly flat face and a massive coat."
Following closely behind, English Bulldogs claimed the second spot, while French Bulldogs and Dogue De Bordeaux ranked third and fourth, respectively. Cat stressed that this study confirms what has long been known – flat-faced breeds are particularly vulnerable in hot weather, and they require extra care and attention.
These breeds, commonly referred to as brachycephalic breeds, often struggle with brachycephalic airway syndrome, characterized by long soft palates and small nasal openings that significantly limit airflow. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat, relying heavily on panting to regulate their body temperature. However, the short and wide heads of brachycephalic dogs hinder the effectiveness of this cooling mechanism.
In fifth place on the list were greyhounds. Cat attributed their vulnerability to their large muscle bulk relative to their body size. She explained, "That means that with exercise, their core temperature can rise quite high – particularly on hot days."
King Charles Spaniels secured the sixth spot due to their flatter faces, thicker coats, and tendency towards obesity. Pugs, who also suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome, followed in seventh place. Lastly, golden retrievers and springer spaniels shared the last position on the list.
Cat concluded her video by urging dog owners to exercise caution and be mindful of the soaring temperatures, regardless of their dog's breed. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, coordination difficulties, collapsing, and vomiting, according to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA advises pouring cool water over a dog that is at risk of heatstroke, while cautioning against using icy cold water as it can shock the dog's system. Wet towels should also be avoided as they can trap heat. For flat-faced breeds, pouring water on their heads should be avoided to prevent the risk of drowning.