Behind the Forecast: Dog breeds most affected by summer heat

Listen to Science Behind the Forecast with Meteorologist Tawana Andrew every Friday on 89.3 WFPL at 7:45 a.m.
Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 9:23 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Summer heat is still in the forecast, so remaining safe in the high temperatures and humidity is a top priority.

A recent Scientific Reports study broke down the dog breeds that are most susceptible to the heat. The main risks factors that contributed to heat illness and death in dogs were age, weight, and skull anatomy, according to the study. Coat thickness and muscle ratio are also factors.

Dogs 12 years old and older had a higher risk of dealing with heat-related illnesses. Dogs that weigh more than 110 pounds were more sensitive to heat.

In terms of breeds, purebred dogs were most likely to succumb to the heat, especially those with wide skulls and flat faces. English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were twice as likely to deal with heat illnesses when compared to dogs with longer snouts.

These breeds have the highest rate of heat-related illnesses, according to Scientific Reports.

  • Chow Chow
  • Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Greyhound
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

It's crucial to know the signs of overheating in pets; their bodies heat up much more quickly since they are closer to the ground. Here's what to look out for, according to the ASPCA:

  • Increasing heart and respiratory rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mild weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse

Other symptoms include seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased body temperature over 104°.

Dogs suffering from heatstroke must be taken to a veterinarian. According to experts, there is a 50% mortality rate in pets that suffer from severe heatstroke.

One-year (2016) incidence risk of heat related illness in dog breeds and designer crossbreeds...
One-year (2016) incidence risk of heat related illness in dog breeds and designer crossbreeds under primary veterinary care at practices in the VetCompass Programme in the UK. The error bars show the 95% confidence interval. *Indicates breeds with increased odds identified by multivariable regression analysis.(Scientific Reports)

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