Canine Heatstroke: Know the Risks

Heatstroke Risks in Dogs

Summer is coming! Dog pool parties, pet-friendly BBQs, and dog walks galore are coming with it. We at BYOD want you and your pup to enjoy your summer months but be safe too! Some dogs do worse in the heat than others; is your dog one of them? Be better prepared to keep your dog healthy and happy by knowing the risks.

Boxer smiling and panting

Pugs, boxers, bulldogs, and others are generally known for their breathing problems. Dogs that have a flat face tend to struggle with breathing. If your dog has any known or potential problems with breathing, they are at a higher risk of heatstroke. Dogs cool their bodies through their respiratory system. If they can’t breathe efficiently, they can’t cool themselves efficiently.

Is your dog chubby? Here’s another reason to work on that doggy diet with them. Obese dogs cannot lose as much heat through their skin as other dogs because the heat must make it through an insulated layer of fat. Obese dogs are also at risk of other health problems that can increase the heatstroke risk, such as heart and lung disease.


Puppies and elderly dogs are at higher risks. With elderly dogs, be careful not to assume you know their limits and tolerances because you’ve had them for so long. A lot can change since their last hot day; don’t make their tired bodies work too hard.

Labradoodle panting

You and your dog can be really excited for the warm days! Hyper and active dogs can be eager to go enjoy the weather and get some exercise. In their excitement, they may not realize their limits. Dogs should not play or run as much in the heat as they usually do. Dogs can have so much fun that they don’t notice they’re not adjusted to the hot weather and push themselves too hard. It’s up to you to look out for them!

Brown and white boxer hot

If your dog has had a heatstroke before, it is even more important to prevent them from having another one. Dogs who have dealt with heat-related medical problems in the past deal poorly with the heat and have higher risks than other dogs.


So you’ve done some research and are more aware of your dog’s risk for heatstroke, but what should you as an owner look out for?

  • Heavy/noisy panting and breathing
  • Slowness or inability to keep pace with you
  • Constant searching for shade
  • Trying to take rests often
  • Change in gum coloring
  • Less responsive/dazed behavior

    Knowing the risks and signs of heatstroke in your dog is important for keeping your furry friend safe during the summer! Stay hydrated, stay cool, and stay safe!

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