Pugs and Bulldogs at risk of heat stroke

Pugs and Bulldogs at risk of heat stroke

Heat stress and heat stroke are particularly common in flat faced breeds. Photo: Meredith Hunter/Unsplash.com

As Australia swelters through some of the hottest weather on record, the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) are warning owners that the summer months can take a toll on dogs, particularly those with extreme features and breathing difficulties such as Pugs and Bulldogs.

AVA spokesperson, Dr David Neck, said that as Australia’s summer temperatures soar, the risk of dogs suffering from heat stress or heatstroke grows higher, with some breeds more vulnerable than others.

Heat stress and heat stroke are particularly common in brachycephalic breeds, such as English and French bulldogs as well as Pugs. These types of dogs have been bred to have exaggerated features, including a very short muzzle.

“Unfortunately, this particular feature leads to – among other things – breathing difficulties, which only worsen in hotter temperatures.

“We’ve seen the popularity of these breeds rise significantly over the years and in many cases, owners are forced to invest in medical management and/or surgery to address the discomfort their dog experiences with breathing.

“The last thing we want to see is dogs suffering unnecessarily simply because they have been bred to look a certain way.”

While these extreme features make some dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs more prone to heat stress and heatstroke, any dog can suffer in high temperatures.

Signs of heatstroke

  • heavy panting,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • fatigue,
  • drooling,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhoea;
  • and even seizures.

Dr Neck advises pet owners to keep an eye on their dogs, especially dogs with exaggerated features (such as Pugs and Bulldogs), during very hot days.

“If your dog displays any of these signs, you should speak to their vet as soon as possible.

“Ensure there is cool fresh water at all times and leave it in a shady area – you might even want to put a few ice cubes in to help keep the water cold. If you don’t have air-conditioning, leave a fan on and giving your dog a trim, especially if it has longer hair, will also be a big help,” Dr Neck said.

The AVA and the RSPCA have launched the Love Is Blind campaign to raise awareness about the health and welfare problems caused by exaggerated features.

For more information on the Love is Blind campaign visit: www.ava.