Bracycephalic dog breeds and the heat

Brachycephalic breeds, for those who don’t know, are dogs like pugs, boston terriers, boxers, shih tzus etc.

Since they can’t handle heat well as normal dogs, do they need to be in an air conditioned room constantly? Do they have shorter lifespans in warmer places?

There is a ton of individual variation. Some brachycephalic dogs do fine in high heat settings. On the other hand, each summer I see one or two dogs that die during a heat wave, totally shocking the owner. Last year I saw a bulldog that a petsitter let outside to eliminate. She was doing the dishes, looked up to find the dog outside recumbant. It was DOA.

My pugs do fine, but it’s not like I live in a hot place. Still, it gets hot here in the summer - last summer we had a few days in the hundreds, and it’s supposed to be 95 here today. I keep an eye on them when it gets hot, but it’s more along the lines of not leaving them outside in the middle of the day for longer than it takes to do their business, or taking them for long walks in the heat of the day.

Our house is not air conditioned, except for a couple rooms with window air conditioners. Right now I’m sitting in my air conditioned office with the door open, and the pugs choose to sit in the non-air conditioned room outside my door. They seem fine.

When it’s really hot, I put ice cubes in their water dish. They seem to like that.

Overall, the cold seems to bother them more than the heat.