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When summer comes around, for many of us, summer is synonymous with lots and lots of beach visits, warmer temperature, sandcastles, and the bikinis! 🙂
So, what is summer for Frenchies? The outdoors too, plus more panting, excess heat and the heavens forbid it; heat strokes! (: Everyone knows dogs can’t stand the heat; their furs and all, plus they have zero sweat glands; however, with French bulldogs and bulldogs generally, it’s on a whole different level.
Frenchies have a problem managing their temperature (no thanks to their brachycephalic nature) Hot weather for them, is naturally “bad news” and when they are made to withstand extreme heat, it could cause way more problems than the inconvenience of doing things right.
Because of this, a lot of caution should be taken by French bulldog owners on hot days. So, how do you tell your Frenchie is overheated? We’ll find out below.
What Are Some Signs A French bulldog Is Overheated?
You would be able to tell your French bulldog is overheating when you notice the following:
- Panting or breathing heavily
- Excessive thirst, staggering
- Elevated body temperature
- Excessive drooling
- Weakness, stumbling, and unconsciousness
- Vomiting and bloody diarrhea
- Seizures, bright or dark red tongue and gum
While the above are listed as symptoms of overheating in Frenchies, they still apply to other canine breeds.
Ways to Prevent Overheating In French Bulldogs
Avoid walking or exercising your pet on hot pavements
If you find walking on hot pavements barefoot or on thinly-soled shoes uncomfortable, chances are your dog is probably burning inside already. Not only will a hot pavement on a hot day burn your canine’s paws.
The heat from the concrete or asphalt pavement can quickly overheat your Frenchie who is obviously closer to the ground than you.
You should, therefore, ensure your canine never stands, walks, rest on hot surfaces like sidewalks or even parking lots.
Never Leave Your Canine Alone In Parked Vehicles
Not a few make this mistake. Leaving your pet alone in a car is wrong especially if you’ll be away for a while, however, on a warm day, you should never do that as temperatures inside the car can rise very quickly.
Also, leaving the windows slightly open will do little or nothing to ease the temperature inside the car and leaving the car engine running with the Air Conditioner on is a whole different level of dangerous.
On hot days, it is best you leave your pet home to stay cool and hydrated – when possible.
Exercise Only in Cool Temperature
On hot days, only exercise your Frenchie in the coolest part of the day. Depending on where you live, this may mean early in the morning or after sunset. Also, stay in the shade during sunny hours and try not to overdo the exercises no matter the time of the day.
You need to stick to the usual time always because while you may be all pumped to extend the exercise period, your dog could tire out and suffer a heatstroke (Frenchies tire easily).
A rule of thumb we recommend is this; if temperatures outside climb 80 – 90 degrees, you should take your pet back inside where it’s cooler.
How Do You Cool Down An Overheated Bulldog?
* Good Grooming In Summer
While cutting a double-coated dog will do next to nothing to help keep them cool, properly grooming the pup will help.
The undercoat which is a part of the dog’s natural cooling system can easily become matted and block air flow across your canine’s skin if not properly maintained.
Brushing frequently helps remove dead fur and keep your canine’s coat healthy and comfortable.
* Cooling Beds
There are several brands of cooling pet bed that can also act as a cooling pad.
These cooling beds share many similarities with the water-bed for humans and if you’ve ever been on one, you already know it is highly efficient at pulling out the heat.
The pet cooling beds work the same way, drawing heat from your dog through a chamber of water.
As they are easy to make, you can save yourself the extra money and make one yourself using the pillow part of an old air mattress.
Simply fill with ½ inch of water and glide inside the cover of a heavy duty pet bed, so it is directly next to the pet’s skin under the external cover.
As you would have to be wary of leaks, it is best to use this homemade version outside only, or in areas where water will cause no damage if spillage occurs.
* Give Your Canine Frozen Treats
This is perfect if your Frenchie likes to eat. You can use his love for food to his benefit by feeding him cool, high in water treats. A great option is dog ice-cream found in almost every grocery store or pet mart.
Frozen popsicles are another cold treat your Frenchie will absolutely love. You could also offer it a chilled cucumber – a zero-prep option full of water and/or a cool refreshing and delicious smoothie.
* Frenchies Need Air Conditioners
In summer, Frenchies need cool places to sleep when indoors and because of this, an air conditioner is absolutely necessary.
It should be fixed in a properly ventilated room where your dog will feel completely comfortable spending a major part of its time in summer.
Additionally; you may also need to ensure the floor is tiled as it absorbs the cold and also aids the cooling process.
* Spray Water Bottles
This serves a dual function; as an emergency coolant and also a general cooling method.
Get a spray bottle, tuck into your belt on hot days and mist on your French bulldog frequently to keep its fur damp.
Spray on the head to help keep their brain cool and calm excessive breathing.
DO NOT reuse an old pump action mister you had previously used to spray chemicals on plants. Get a new one and have it indicated on the bottle that it is for “water only”.
* Cooling Vests and Bandanas
A cooling vest is a way to provide your French bulldog some relief in scorching summer months. Plus you don’t need refrigeration with most, simply dip the vest/bandana in water to activate and you’re good to go.
Also, they are fantastic for use at beaches, backyards, or while camping.
* Elevated Pet Beds
Most dogs would naturally junk the bed and switch to sleeping on tiles when it gets really hot inside the house.
However, if your home is fully carpeted, finding a cool place to lie can be a problem for your pet. With an elevated bed, air is circulated around the dog, keeping him cool and away from the ground.
* Constant Supply/Access to Clean Drinking Water
In hot weather, dogs need access to a never-ending supply of fresh, cool drinking water. You can go with a dog dish and a large bottle of drinking water everywhere you go with your pet so it can always get a drink.
And even at home, ensure you have water in the drinking bowls every time, and change every few hours.
* Kiddies Pool for Your Frenchie
Is Frenchie summer time ever complete without a kiddie pool? Hardly! Get a kiddie pool for your Frenchie to wade in on hot summer days.
There are several cheap ones available, simply fill it a few inches deep and your Frenchie will go in and out as much as they want to.
Maintaining one is not so hard; change the water every few days and then clean with water and vinegar to prevent algae growth and remove filth brought in by Frenchie’s paws.
What Is The Fastest Way To Cool Down A Dog?
If your French bulldog shows any signs of overheating, the last thing you want to do is take it lightly. Delayed further, overheating will eventually lead to a heat stroke and then………
You don’t want any of that so you should try any of the following methods to quickly cool your overheated dog.
1. Give the dog ice cubes; Frenchies enjoy ice cubes particularly in summer to help keep their temperatures cool.
2. In extreme cases of overheating, electrolytes will definitely be needed if available and you should have them available in summer.
A good source of electrolytes would be Bicarbonate of soda and glucose. For the bicarbonate of soda, a flat teaspoon would do just fine for a large dog but for a small breed like the French bulldog, half of that amount serves the purpose.
3. Have your cooling supplies always ready in summer but monitor your French bulldog and keep a close eye on its respiration and panting.
If it gets too heavy and/or last too long (more than 5 minutes) after your cooling attempt, call your vet immediately!
How Long Do Frenchies Stay outside on a hot day?
They make perfect indoor pets, but because of their flat faces and short noses, (classic brachycephalic features), they are super sensitive to warm climates and as such, need special care during outdoor activities and exercises.
If you plan on walking your French bulldog on hot days, understand that they cannot and should not be made to cope for long in hot weather as they can suffer a heat stroke.
Can French Bulldogs Die From Overheat?
When we get hot as humans, our sweat glands help us let off the heat in form of sweats. With dogs, on the other hand, it’s a different story.
Generally, not only do dogs have a higher temperature than we do, they have less ability to cool down being confined to only their noses and pads of their feet for heat.
Therefore, to regulate their body temperatures, they do so by panting which of course is grossly inadequate in very hot weather.
So, yes, French Bulldogs can and will suffer a heatstroke which could, in the end, lead to critical damages to organs like heart, liver, the nervous system, and death, if confined to an extremely hot area for even the smallest amount of time or overheated from rigorous exercises on a hot day.
That being said……
Frenchies make amazing companions, they are cute, loyal, and everything you want in a pet dog but you must always remember that they are fragile as well.
You, therefore, have to factor in their “fragility” into your plans before you conclude the decision to own one. Besides the emotional trauma of losing a pet, it would be a waste to just let your French bulldog die from avoidable mistakes made with it.
If you cannot ensure the overall safety and protection of your canine, or you live a fast-paced life with very little or no time to devote to caring for a pet, you may want to reconsider your decision to get a French bulldog or any brachycephalic breed at all.
If you read this article and you’re certain you can, by all means, go ahead! And believe it, you’ll be more than rewarded for it by your French bulldog.
Got questions/suggestions or tip you’d like to share with other Frenchie owners? We’d love to read them in the comments!