Is Your Dog at Risk For Heat Stroke?-Pt 2

In 1964, Martha and the Vandellas made the words, “summer’s here and the time is right” a popular household lyric. It must be true because many well-known music artists have sung those popular words over and over throughout the years. It may not be 1964 anymore but summer is here, and for many of us it is HOT! 

Autumn Boga · July 16, 2019

Is Your Dog at Risk For Heat Stroke? – Part 2

In 1964, Martha and the Vandellas made the words, “summer’s here and the time is right” a popular household lyric. It must be true because many well-known music artists have sung those popular words over and over throughout the years. It may not be 1964 anymore but summer is here, and for many of us it is HOT! 

As summer heats up, so do our activities. Many pet parents include their four legged friends in their summer plans. It’s important to be mindful of the risks summer poses for our dogs. A few weeks back we discussed how two groups in particular are predisposed to heat stroke. Some large breed dogs such as: Labradors, Retrievers, The St. Bernard, and Siberian Huskies are predisposed to Laryngeal Paralysis. This week we will focus on another at-risk group: brachycephalic breeds. These include French Bulls, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese, among others. These “flat faced” breeds also run a greater risk of heat stroke, but for different reasons. Let us consider:

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) can create respiratory trouble for these adorable breeds. Brachycephalic dogs are anatomically different than other dogs. Their skull is malformed. For a French Bull or Boston Terrier this means:

  1. A Short Nose – these dogs have the same amount of bone only in a much smaller area.
  2. Stenotic Nostrils – In short, these are tiny nose holes
  3. Long Soft Palate – it extends all the way to the opening of the air way obstructing breathing

All of these make it very hard for air to get in and out. To cool down, a dog must be able to circulate air through his body properly. Brachycephalic dogs don’t realize they are any different. This means we, as pet parents, have to keep a close eye on things and look for any warning signs of trouble.  What are they?

  • Breathing harder or increased noise when breathing
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Blue or pale gums and tongue
  • Excessive panting or gasping for air

If any of these signs are present you immediately need to start trying to cool down your dog.  If you are outside, move indoors where it’s cooler, using a fan for your pet. Offer them cold water, and possibly sponge them down with cool water. If these don’t seem to reduce the stress on your pet, you may need to go to the nearest veterinary ER where they can sedate your pet and offer cold IV fluids and oxygen. Fortunately most pets do respond to treatment, but if all else fails or your dog is repeatedly diagnosed to be in respiratory crisis surgery may be an option.

To prevent heat exhaustion in your brachycephalic breed you’ll want to reserve exercise for cooler times of the day such as early morning or later in the evening. Use a harness so throat areas aren’t restricted.  “One of the biggest things”, according to Dr. Rebecca Hersh-Boyle, a Veterinarian surgeon at UC Davis, “is weight management…excessive weight around the neck compresses airways making it harder to breath”.  Kibble or dry diets contribute to weight gain because they are full of calories from starches that turn to sugars causing much more weight gain than a diet full of healthy fats and protein. If your dog needs to lose weight you may want to consider a diet like the one found at BARF World®. Call 866-282-2273 for a free raw food consultation.

Make your summermemorable for all the right reasons. By being a prepared and well-informed pet parent you can succeed in having an amazing season with your furry friend. Cooler temperatures will come soon enough. In the meantime, “summer’s here and the time is right…” so enjoy!


“Dancing is the Street” is a song written by Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter

Skull Image provided by UC Davis Veterinary Hospital

Nostril Images donated by Autumn Colunga

Raw Food Tip:

The most important thing to consider when attempting to achieve dog weight loss is to analyze the quality and source of the calories being consumed by your pet.  For one thing, calories from starches and sugars cause much more weight gain than calories from protein or fat.  Food processing also plays a huge role in weight issues in dogs.  Despite the identical caloric calculation, cooked or extruded foods (i.e. canned and kibble pet foods) differ in their levels of metabolizabled calories.  Those same ingredients, if left in their uncooked, unadulterated, natural state provide better nutrition and better utilized calories for your pet, maintaining optimum weight and health.

- Robert Mueller, Sr.

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Autumn Boga

Autumn Boga

Autumn's relationship with BARF World began in late 2015. She has been a lover of all animals, great and small, her entire life. She credits her parents with allowing her to have many pets growing up including rats, birds, fish, cats and dogs. Her zoo is currently at full capacity with four dogs, (one of which has a pet cat named Leonard), husband! A passionate believer in the benefits of the BARF World diet, Autumn tries to talk to as many people as possible. A recent convert to Pescetarianism, Autumn enjoys trying new eateries and has traveled over 25 countries.

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What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!

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