Heavy dogs have also shown an increased risk of heatstroke. It is important to note that this group includes both obese dogs and large or muscular dogs. Large dogs, in general, were more likely to develop heatstroke than dogs under 10kg, with giant breed dogs (weighing over 50kg) being three times more likely to develop heatstroke.
Dogs over the age of two were also at greater risk, with older dogs (over 12) being most likely to develop heatstroke. This is because young dogs may be more active, while older dogs have reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function and may struggle to get rid of excess heat as efficiently.
The study included over 900,000 UK dogs and used historical data, anonymized veterinary recordstherefore included approximately 10% of the estimated dog population in the UK. In 2016, the death rate from heat stroke cases in the UK was 14%, meaning that one in seven dogs with heat stroke died from the condition.
The number of dogs suffering from heatstroke was relatively low, just 0.04% of the population (or one dog in 2,500). However, this study used data from 2016 and temperature records have since been broken. The intensity and frequency of heat waves are expected to increase in the future.