A dog’s coat captures air and acts as an insulator trapping heat in the winter and deflecting heat in the summer. Never shave your dog. Shaving off their fur increases the likelihood of developing heatstroke, a sunburn and skin cancer. Brush a dog’s coat daily, keep their coat clean and take a dog to the groomer regularly. A fluffy, clean coat will do a better job of keeping the dog cool.
Dog breeds such as Labradors, huskies, shepherds and golden retrievers have a double coat. The shorter layer of fur insulates the dog and is shed regularly. The outer coat is made up of coarser, longer hairs that don’t shed as often. If these breeds are shaved their double coat can regrow improperly resulting in a patchy appearance, follicle damage and loss of the protection from the weather the coat provides.
The darker the dog’s fur the more heat it will absorb. Dogs with black fur are at a higher risk of overheating.
Dogs that are overweight or obese are more likely to develop a heat-related illness because of the increased insulation the fat cells provide and increased heat they generate from mild exercise.
A dog is considered to be a senior over the age of five for large breeds such as a great dane. Smaller breeds such as Chihuahua’s generally live longer and are not considered to be seniors until about age eight. Senior dogs are more sensitive to temperature and may have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung diseases, which makes them more likely to develop heatstroke.
Puppies are not able to regulate their own body temperature as well as adult dogs and are high-energy. They tend to run and play and can easily overexert themselves outside on hot days.