French Bulldog Summer Care – The Basics
Summer and most importantly heat is the ultimate enemy of brachycephalic dogs such as our beloved French Bulldogs. It doesn’t matter how healthy they are, all of them are affected by heat. Why? French Bulldogs, like other dogs of the same nature, are not good at regulating their own temperature through panting. So, according to Dr. Aspros (from AVMA-American Veterinary Medical Association), “Both dogs and cats dissipate heat by panting [and] as they get overheated, they pant more quickly trying to maintain a safe internal temperature.”. That, paired with the alarming information from peta.org that states that at least 73 dogs have been reported deceased between 2018 and 2019 due to heat-related causes, is the wake-up call we needed to write this article for you.
We know it’s very important to protect our French Bulldogs with the right measures and products during hot summers, so check out all the right tips to do it properly and avoid the deadly heat we fear the most.
10 Tips to Avoid French Bulldogs’ Summer Issues
Avoiding heat might be difficult for some owners that are accustomed to their daily activities. Still, most of the outdoor activities that are safe the rest of the year, pose a high threat to French Bulldog’s health during summer. Let’s get right into what you can and cannot do!
- Keep your French Bulldog well exercised and lean during the rest of the year. An overweight French Bulldog is the go-to victim for the summer heat because they will have more troubles while breathing and will get tired faster. Check out our review on the best food for weight management for overweight French Bulldogs.
- Remembertofeed your French Bulldog with the best food for French Bulldog puppies, adult French Bulldogs, and senior French Bulldogs this summer, because they will need plenty of energy to keep themselves with a lower temperature! These are also great to maintain their lean weight.
- Avoid sudden environmental changes. If you’re in a winter environment, don’t transition too fast to a summer climate since, according to Iowa Veterinary Specialties, it takes about 10-20 days for French Bulldogs to acclimate to a new environment. If you live in a place like, say, Vancouver, and you move to Miami during summer, your French Bulldog will suffer a worsened version of the effects of summer.
- Try to practice indoors playtime! French Bulldogs love to play outside, which is actually good for them most of the times. However, we don’t advice this during summer, and we recommend that you stay inside with him for indoors playtime.You can also keep them entertained and active inside using our selection of French Bulldog-friendly toys!
- Try to avoid especially hot times of the day for walking your French Bulldog! If – and only if – you can’t stay indoors, take your French Bulldog outside at first light, when sunlight is not as hot.
- It’s even a better idea to take them out for walks at night since that’s the best way of protecting them from the sun, the hot pavement, and burnt paws.
- Always keep your French Bulldog on a leash (Or even better, his cooling vest) while taking him for a walk! Summer comes packed with different things that weren’t available for him to smell or taste during other seasons. He’ll be very curious and eager to smell everything.
- Watch out for ticks, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Ticks are especially dangerous, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, since they can infect both you and your French Bulldog with Lyme disease. Buy here the best methods to avoid harmful insects in any time of the year!
- If you’re going to play with your French Bulldog amidst the day, make sure you have your French Bulldog’s cooling products armed and ready to use, some homemade frozen treats or ice-cream for dogs, and more.
- Never ever leave your French Bulldog inside a car! Not even with the AC on or with cracked windows! Why? Because accidents happen, and your car can suddenly turn off and leave your poor French Bulldog inside a death trap. Temperatures can “rapidly climb to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit”, according to Dr. Aspros from petmd.com. Don’t believe us? Check out the temperature progressions in this table from the American Veterinary Medical Association!
Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University
If is not necessary to take him, leave your French Bulldog at home or somewhere else you can trust he’ll be taken care of!
- Be prepared to roll with your French Bulldog. In case you do need to take your French Bulldog with you inside a car, take some measures first! Turn on the AC so the temperature is not so high once you get him inside. Set up his seat and secure him so he can look outside the window and get some breeze. Or, if humidity is too high, leave the AC on. Fill your car with everything your French Bulldog may need to cool down and stay hydrated while on the road. A cooler with some ice will help you keep things chill.
- Windows are a threat, too. Imagine your French Bulldog in a hot day; he’s tired, he wants some air, he climbs up to the window looking for some relief, and then he slips out. Your French Bulldog just fell off your car and ran away or, even worse, he fell out the window of your department on the 3rd floor. Yes, according to pubmed.gov, this happens! Keep the windows secured at all times!
- Have a fan placed to cool off your dog whenever he needs it, or place it in his cooling bed for French Bulldogs to help him cool off while taking a nap.
- For the long-haired French Bulldog mixes out there, consider shaving their coats this summer. If French Bulldogs with a short coat have a rough time, imagine if they had a medium or long fur coating. Yikes!
- If you’re going to leave your French Bulldog in the yard for a refreshing playtime, first take a walk inside it to check for plants that may be harmful for him. The list is humongous! Also watch out for those beautiful summer flowers since they can be harmful to your fur buddy, too!
- If you’re going to a barbecue or are planning to do one at home, set rules to keep the dog safe. “Don’t feed the French Bulldog” and “don’t give beer to the French Bulldog” are the most important ones.
- Watch out for celebrations like 4th of July, where the use of fireworks is common. Fireworks pose a huge threat to scary French Bulldogs because the explosions can cause confusion, lost of hearing, and even heart attacks. Other dangers like outdoor fires are also a threat. Make sure to leave your French Bulldog at home in a sound-proof-like area, so he doesn’t get scared as he would watching the explosions live. Some treat-dispensing toys or toys to battle anxiety are also advised!
Hydration is KEY!!
Hydration is always important for, well, any living being on this planet. For French Bulldogs, it can be a lifesaver. These are the hydration guidelines for French Bulldogs.
A hydrated French Bulldog is less prone to suffer from overheating!
- Make sure to provide your French Bulldog with lots of cool water. If the temperatures are too high, you can put two or three ice cubes in his bowl to keep water at the right temperature for him.
- Also put down more than one bowl at strategic spots around the house. Put one next to the bath, so he stops trying to drink toilet water!
- If your budget doesn’t have space for ice-cream for dogs, another great idea to keep your French Bulldog chill is to make him a pup-sicle with his favorite natural flavors; banana and watermelon are our go-to option!
- Some ice can help, too! Some people say that giving your pup ice is a bad idea, but we strongly disagree. An ice cube or two can help cool off your French Bulldog, but do not give out the whole tray!
- If you’re going out, make sure to pack some extra cold water for your dog and the Outward Hound’s Bowl for travel. It’s the best way of keeping your French Bulldog hydrated while on the road!
Cooling and Summer Products for French Bulldogs
We always recommend that you’re prepared at home with your French Bulldog’s favorite cooling and summer products. They are great to avoid overheating and to decrease the risk of heatstroke. If you use more than one at the time, the results are much better.
- French Bulldog-Friendly Pool: The most useful one is certainly a simple pool. French Bulldogs love to swim, but they are not so good at it. That’s why you can narrow down the risk by letting them play in a pool where the water level doesn’t cover them. If you already have a pool at home, don’t forget to suit up your French Bulldog with a buoyant safety jacket.
- Cooling Vests for French Bulldogs: Pair the pool with your pup’s favorite one and pump-up the protection. These are easy to use and highly effective.
- Bandana: the All for Paws Cooling one is another customer’s favorite. It covers the most important areas (neck, nape, and part of the chest) and provides them with a cooling relief that works great for most French Bulldogs.
- Cooling Beds for French Bulldogs: For the lazy French Bulldogs that want to sleep the summer away, a Cooling Bed will be the most comfortable place to do so. There are beds for indoors and outdoors.
- Cooling Pet Cot for French Bulldogs: If your French Bulldog loves to be outside and have sunbaths, the K&H Manufacturing one is the most comfortable and safe solution you can offer him. With its own shade for outdoors. It’s also great for traveling. This one is best used along with other cooling products.
- Protect the paws from hot surfaces with some good ol’ Musher’s Secret.
- If the pavement gets too hot, put on some Dog Shoes!
- If you’re hitting the beach, make sure to pack your French Bulldogs’ sunscreens as well. This is the best way of protecting that cutie French Bulldog-face.
All of these will be of great help during the summertime!
Heatstroke Symptoms in French Bulldogs
Heatstroke is what happens when your French Bulldog’s body is not able to maintain its temperature through cooling and heat dissipation. That means that your French Bulldog’s temperature will take a leap from 101 F° Summer and French Bulldogs Can Get Along. to a max of 109.4 F°. It might not seem like a lot, but according to a retrospective study from pubmed.gov, heatstrokes come accompanied by a mortality rate of at least 50%.
Reduce the risk of heatstroke for your French Bulldog!
French Bulldogs are sadly the perfect target for this issue. Their predisposition relies on their brachycephalic nature, which worsens with obesity, lack of acclimatization and their age (older French Bulldogs are more prone to the issue).
Symptoms in French Bulldogs.
Most dogs present the same symptoms. You’ll need to keep an eye for:
- Racing heart.
- Heavy panting.
If you see any of these symptoms, start treating your dog immediately!
Practical (and Easy) Steps to React to a Heatstroke in French Bulldogs
This issue can be deadly and that’s why French Bulldog owners need to know how to react quickly to avoid it. Still, you will need to react in a calmed and efficient way, so be mentally prepared for this! If your French Bulldog suffers from heatstroke this is what you need to do:
- Retrieve him from the heat. Take him to a cool place with AC or at least a fan.
- Use water at room temperature to wet his coat thoroughly and keep him in a relaxed state. You can also make him sit inside a small French Bulldog-friendly pool with a water level that covers his body.
- Another alternative is to soak a towel with cool water and put it on top of him. After five minutes, empty a glass of water on the towel and repeat.
- Don’t force him to drink water or feed him ice. Instead, leave a water bowl in front of him with just a little bit of water at the time. Replenish it once he drinks it and repeat this process.
- You need to take him to the vet, so it’s advisable that you turn on your car and leave the AC on or call for a ride while he recovers.
- Use a cooling vest for French Bulldogs or cooling bandana straight from the freezer to help him cool off faster. His temperature must drop below the 39.4 C° for him to be safe.
- Take him to the vet As Soon As Possible. Don’t forget to take a bottle of cool water with you and to turn on the AC.
You must take your French Bulldog to the vet even if he looks ok after following these steps. Why? Because the systemic damage is already done, and you must take him to the vet to ensure that there’s no further damage to his organs. It’s also known that even if you treated him correctly and in a short period of time, according to pubmed.gov, complications and fatality rates after the heatstroke are high.
Frequently Asked Questions – French Bulldogs’ Summer Care
Overheating is what happens when French Bulldogs are no longer able to manage their own body temperature through their natural methods. They are not very good at it though, so it’s like they’re always overheating a little bit. However, heatstroke is a consequence of extreme overheating, a deadly one.
It’s actually rather hard. With regular dogs, you must pay attention to heavy panting. However, that’s kind of French Bulldog’s regular breathing. So, watch out for pale gums, dry mouth or increased drooling, and disorientation.
Overheating will happen if you have a French Bulldog, and it can be deadly if you do nothing about it! Then, let us put it this way; its overall effect on your French Bulldog’s health will directly depend on your reaction to it!
Conclusion – Summer and French Bulldogs Can Get Along
Summer doesn’t need to be a threat for your French Bulldog every single time if you’re a prepared owner. You can have a blast taking your whole family – French Bulldog included – to the beach, the park, or to a barbecue. This is not easy to do though, and you will need some preparation to do it properly. That’s why we recommend that you follow our tips to keep your French Bulldog off the heat, to avoid heatstroke, and to react quickly if it happens.
Quick Check-List During Summer!
- Proper hydration.
- Keep cooling gear at hand.
- Don’t leave your French Bulldog unsupervised.
- Be cautious during playtime.
- Prefer Indoors playtime during summer.
- Watch out for overheating and heatstroke symptoms.
- Be ready and quick to act against them!
- Be informed with the best first aid techniques according to avma.org!
These tips can save your French Bulldog’s life!