Pomeranians, or poms, are a popular breed of toy dog in Asia, the Americas and Europe. Part of their charm is their long, thick double-layered coat. However, this makes Pomeranians far more susceptible to suffering or dying from heat stroke than short-haired or larger breeds of dogs. Heat stroke in any dog is a medical emergency.
Pomeranians descend from the spitz, which lived in northern Germany. Originally, in the 1800s, the breed weighed about 30 pounds but was gradually bred down to its current size of less than 10 pounds, according to "Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds." Both the spitz and the pom were originally bred to withstand frigid and wet weather. But modern Pomeranians usually live inside, despite growing a heavy coat.
Pomeranians and other small toy dog breeds are prone to developing a medical condition called collapsing trachea, meaning the windpipe closes. This condition can only be corrected through surgery, according to Vet Surgery Central, Inc. One sign of tracheal collapse is a constant, honk-like cough, This worsens during hot and humid weather and may help to bring on heat stroke as well as a total collapse of the windpipe.
Sadly, a common cause of heat stroke in dogs is being left inside of a car on a hot day. But since Pomeranians have such thick coats, they can overheat faster than other dogs. Too much exercise in a sunny yard can induce heat stroke. Traveling in a carrier without access to air conditioning even on mild spring days may cause heat stroke. Pomeranians are often carted about in purse-like carriers, but even these can cause the dog to overheat.
Heat stroke can be prevented in Pomeranians by constantly supervising the dog to be sure she is not in any distress. Exercise should be strictly limited on hot and humid days. Pomeranians in carriers should be monitored every 10 minutes. If possible, travel by car to get the Pomeranian needed water and cooling-off breaks. Pomeranians destined for the show ring cannot get their coats clipped, but pet Pomeranian owners should talk to a groomer about clipping the coat to make the dog more comfortable in the heat.
The signs of heat stroke in Pomeranians include hyperventilation, drooling so much the chest fur may be soaked, disorientation, sweating from the pads of the paws, pale colored gums, vomiting, spontaneous bleeding from the nose or mouth and collapse. Pomeranians with heat stroke need to be placed in a cool area with a wet towel draped over them and then rushed to a vet.
By Rena Sherwood
"Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds;" D. Caroiline Coile; 2005
Dog Time: Pomeranian: Breed Highlights
Vet Surgery Central, Inc: Tracheal Collapse
Vet Info.com: Heat Stroke in Dogs
Dog Breed Info.com: Pomeranian
Fancy Pants Grooming: Pomeranian Clip Styles
About the Author
Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.