Safeguarding your Boston Terrier from Extreme Heat and Cold

 

The brachycephalic head and short coats of Boston Terriers make them sensitive to extreme and drastic changes of the environmental temperature.  Brachycephalic means it has a flat face with tiny nostrils, short snout, narrow trachea and long palates.

This anatomical aberration of the head of Boston Terriers, the Pug, Shitzu, and other brachycephalic dogs, makes them more prone to suffering from heat stroke and hypothermia. It is also for this reason that Boston Terriers are mainly typecast as an indoor dog to protect them from heat or cold. They will thrive well in moderate temperatures and of course lots of attention and affection from you and the other members of the “pack”.

Although Boston Terriers need exercise, they should be pushed to do so outside when the environmental temperature too hot or too cold.  Their short muzzles will make it doubly hard for them to breath when subjected to anything strenuous.

It is very important to recognize signs of heat stroke and hyporthermia in dogs. If left unattended, these can become life-threatening situations that can lead to the death of your beloved pooch.

Knowing your dog well enough will help you spot signs that will tell you that they are not feeling well. Being able to recognize these important symptoms associated with heat stroke will enable you to promptly address the situation. Spotting it at its early stages will ensure a better and higher rate of recovery. It is best to correct the symptoms before it can progress to more a more serious stage when your dog’s life is at stake and you need to bring your dog to the Veterinarian.

Heat Stroke

A dog’s normal temperature ranges between 101 to 102 degrees Farenheit.  When your dog experiences an increase of even three degrees in its body temperature, it can already exhibit the early signs of heat stroke.  Dehydration is a significant early sign of heat stroke.  It is manifested by heavy panting, increased salivation, deep breathing or hyperventilation, and dry gums.  If left unattended, the condition will progress to more serious manifestations such as weakness, vomiting, paleness and diarrhea which often occur simultaneously with breathing difficulties. You may notice that at this stage, the breathing becomes progressively shallower until it stops. At this stage, seizures and coma can occur and may lead to death.     

Early detection of the onset of signs is very important to prevent irreversible damage and serious complications, thus if you are able to spot the first signs of heat stroke, you should immediately bring your dog to a an air conditioned room or to a shady place. If you observe that it is still panting, immerse your dog in cool icy water or wrap it in wet sheets or you can try hosing it down. You can also place your Boston Terrier in front of a fan and allow it to drink small amounts of cold water every few minutes.

If you are unable to bring down your dog’s body temperature, you should rush your dog to your Veterinarian immediately as time is definitely of the essence.  Even just twenty minutes of increased body temperature will be extremely dangerous to your dog.

Considering the dire consequences that can certainly take place with heat stroke and hypothermia, the adage “an ounce of prevention is still better than a pound” will definitely hold true for both conditions. 

As a rule, Boston Terriers should not be allowed out of the house on a hot day.  You can always go on your walks and play your games later when it is much cooler or when you are in a cooler place.  Providing easy access to fresh, cool water is also a must for your Boston Terrier.  If you need to go out into a hot day, bathing or wetting the dog can significantly help in maintaining its core body temperature. Never leave your Boston Terrier in your car even for just a short time because car interiors can quickly heat up. 

Hypothermia

The short and thin coats of Boston Terriers offer them little protection from wet, cold weather. It is for this reason that your dog is never allowed outside on an extremely cold day.  If you need to go on your walks, make it short and quick. You can also buy your Boston Terrier a coat which is water-repellant and a fleece lining for added insulation. There are dog sweaters and dog harnesses that can serve this need and are available commercially. When you come back in, make sure that your dog remains dry and comfortable.