Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn, being a French Bulldog owner and breeder, but they truly are great dogs! They have adorable smushed-in faces, hilarious bat ears, such warm and loving eyes and all that packed with a unique dog-personality makes them impossible not to love! When we put it that way, you just might think it sounds too god to be true, right? Every rose has it’s thorn, so what is French Bulldog’s Achilles heel? Well, is the same thing that makes them so cute- their smushed in face! Because of their small noses and short air ways, they don’t do very well in hot and humid weather.
First of all, French Buldogs are not that special when it comes to hot climate issues. All dogs have trouble adjusting to hot weather, because they don’t have sweat glands and all that fur makes the problem worse, so the only way dogs can regulate their body temperature is by panting. Now, the specific problem with Frenchies and heat is that, just like their relatives- Pugs and Bulldogs (which are also brachycephalic dogs) they all have short noses and therefore decreased air-intake ability. Because of that, warm weather that generally creates certain discomfort to all larger breeds and non-brachycephalic dogs, may turn out to be fatal to French Bulldogs.
Frenchies are perfect indoor pets. Their size and short coat make them perfect for apartment or house conditions and after all, they were made to be house companions. On the other hand, because of their short noses, they are very sensitive to warm climate and demand special care during their exercises and outside activity.
Here are some advices in order to prevent your French Bulldog from overheating or having a heath stroke:
- Always provide shade and water when taking your dog for a walk on a hot day (a hot day for a French Bulldog means even 24 degrees Celsius)
- When it is very hot and humid, keep your dog inside in properly air-conditioned rooms
- Restrict your dog’s walks and outside exercise during the hot summer days to a minimum and if possible, do it early in the morning or late in the evening when the Sun sets
- During extremely hot periods, restrict outside activity to potty time and nothing more
- Monitor your dog when he is playing alone or with children in the yard and make sure he doesn’t overheat
- If your dogs shows any sign of distress, such as hard and/or noisy breathing, take him inside to cool and lie down
- Never leave your dog alone in a car with closed windows or without air condition turned on
- Avoid long walks or make frequent brakes if you are planning a longer walk
If you notice signs of overheating, such as very labored and rapid breathing, your dog being sluggish and reluctant to move and in extreme cases very little salivation and bluish gums, you must lower your dog’s body temperature as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to rap him in a cold and wet towel or soak him in cool water. It is useful to pet your dog on the head during the process to calm him down, because the little guy is probably in great stress, which also leads to rapid breathing and therefore overheating. If you have ice, place some on the dog’s nose and around his neck. Don’t force him to drink water unless he wants to, because his air ways may be swollen and he may choke on too much water. When his respiration returns to normal, leave your dog to sit on a cold wet towel for a while and then give him some water. If none of this helps, take your French Bulldog to the nearest veterinarian for further treatment.