Because all brachycephalic breeds have varying degrees of predisposing anatomical features of airway obstruction, even if it is sub-clinical, it is appropriate to treat all brachycephalic breeds as having the potential for upper airway obstruction. It is worth remembering that with the shorter face, the less the air will cool before it reaches the lungs.
Predisposing Risk Factors – Heat, humidity, exercise, excitement can all increase panting as the dog attempts to lose heat and cool itself – this excessive panting in turn can produce local swelling (oedema) and further airway narrowing, increasing anxiety and body temperature; creating a vicious cycle.
Treatment – If panting hard, cool the dog all over by hosing the dog down in a bath or wading pool. Pay particular attention to the head, throat and belly. Do not attempt to make the dog swallow – ice packs placed along the belly, under the throat will help cool the dog – keep going for a minimum of 10-15 minutes, until the respiration rate slows down. If the dog is still having problems, get the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Keep the car air conditioned with the cold air directly in the face of the dog.
Prevention – Be aware of the temperature on a daily basis, weather forecasting generally will give a good idea well ahead of hot weather. Place your dogs on extra electrolytes in their food – this can help them cope with the heat better. Keep your dogs in cool conditions with plenty of through ventilation.