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Safer Summers for Brachycephalic Breeds

Summer brings its own risks for Brachycephalic breeds of dogs. Brachycephalic breeds are those with shortened snouts or faces that appear flat and, as a result, have narrow nostrils and smaller airways. But did you know that these breeds have a higher chance of suffering heat stroke than other breeds?

"Brachy" breeds, as they are sometimes referred as, need help regulating their temperatures during hot weather. Most people know that dogs sweat and cool off through their paw pads and panting. But because of the shape of their snouts & faces, Brachy breeds can struggle to pant enough to cool off, which means they can easily overheat in hot weather. Here are some "cool" tips if you own one of these breeds

  1. Access to cool water, fans, and/or air conditioning in hot weather is very important.

  2.  Exercise your Brachycephalic breed in the early morning or late evening, during the coolest parts of day.

  3.  Try a cooling mat - these can be purchased online or at most department stores (like K-Mart)

  4. Avoid exercise during the heat of the day


If you think your dog may be too hot, use cool (not cold) water to splash under the following areas:

  • groin

  • armpits

  • belly

  • behind the ears

(These areas have more blood vessels which are closer to the skin surface)

Alternatively, you can hold a cool wet washcloth against your dogs bare skin in these areas. Ensure the cool water reaches the skin, and doesn't just run off the coat.


 Watch out for the signs of heat stroke which include:

  • Shadow seeking behaviour during play

  • Excessive Drooling

  • Excessive Panting

  • Muscle Weakness/Stumbling

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Dry mucous membranes

  • Bright red gums & tongue

Share this with someone you know who owns a brachycephalic breed or if you have any tips to add, feel free to post them below!

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