Heatstroke can quickly become life-threatening for your dog. Research is now showing which dog breeds are at particular risk, including Chow Chows and Bulldogs.
In summer, heat is always a problem for our four-legged friends. This becomes especially problematic for dogs when they do not have shady spots or opportunities to cool off – for example, because the owners leave them alone in the car. Several such cases make headlines every year.
Heatstroke can quickly become life-threatening for dogs. An elevated body temperature can lead to heart problems or organ failure and, in the worst-case scenario, death. And not only in extreme situations, for example, in a heated car, but also, for example, during physical activity in nature.
Therefore, it is important for dog owners to know what factors can influence the risk of heatstroke in dogs. And this is exactly what the study from the UK has researched.
Researchers are Studying Risk Factors for Heatstroke in Dogs
As heatwaves become more prevalent, the research team wanted to know how often dogs in the UK received veterinary treatment for heatstroke, how many dogs have died from heatstroke, and what risk factors are. To do this, they checked the medical records of about 950,500 dogs.
Heat illnesses were diagnosed in 395 cases, about 14 percent of these dogs died. Through their research, scientists have found that obesity and age, among other things, are risk factors for heatstroke in dogs. The risk is also increased for dogs with a brachycephalic skull shape – short-headed breeds such as French Bulldogs – and those weighing over 50 kg.
9 Dog Breeds with a High Risk of Heatstroke
The researchers also identified nine dog breeds with the highest risk of heatstroke:
- French Bulldog
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- English Springer Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
The reason for this is likely due to the flat head shape and thick coat that many of these breeds usually have. The “control breed” was the Labrador Retriever, which showed a significantly lower risk of heat-related illness.
Important Takeaways for Dog Owners and Breeders
On the one hand, the results of the study may increase the sensitivity of owners of dogs of these breeds to the risk of heatstroke. On the other hand, they can be a decision-maker when choosing a dog. Mainly because heatwaves are likely to become more frequent in the coming years.
In addition, the researchers conclude, “The top health priority for all dogs should be to ensure good respiratory function and healthy breeding weight to limit the risk of heat-related illness.”