Clinic Pearls

Preparing pets for hot summer days ahead: The dangers are even greater for brachycephalic breeds

This was recently posted by Dr. Karyn Jones on her Ajax Animal Hospital Facebook page. It is such a timely and important message for all the pet parents out there as hot sunny days of summer are just around the corner, that I asked Dr. Jones if I could share with our Scalpel readers.

Please share this post, it explains why hot days can be fatal to dogs!

When you read or hear about the bulldog-type, short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds having more trouble with the heat, you may wonder why. On a good day, with moderate temperatures, they have a much more difficult time moving air to their lungs because of their anatomy.

canine airway comparison

The picture above shows the back of the mouth of a long-nosed dog on the left (a collie-retriever cross) and a short-nosed dog on the right (a pug). You can see that this area is compressed and limited in the pug. Pugs, Bulldogs (all types), Bostons, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Pekingese, etc. all have this anatomy. The space is even more limited when they are overweight or obese.   When it is hot, dogs can only cool themselves by panting. Excessive panting leads to swelling in the back of the mouth and throat. This swelling makes it even more difficult for the brachycephalic breeds to breathe and they can suffocate.

In fact, any dog or cat can succumb to heat stroke or compromised breathing so PLEASE DO NOT exercise or leave your pets outside in the sun or in cars when it is hot. They trust us to make good choices and take care of them!

Dr. Karyn Jones DVM,  Ajax Animal Hospital

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