Frenchies and Weather Extremes

Frenchies and Weather Extremes: Seasonal Safety Tips for Your French Bulldog

As dog lovers, most of us relish the thought of an outdoor adventure with our Frenchie – hiking, swimming, playing ball, or even just a leisurely stroll at the park side-by-side with our best furry friend is sure to brighten any day. In spite of the fact that our little dogs often seem game for any challenge, though, it’s up to every Frenchie owner to be aware of the possible risks to our pups might present themselves during extreme weather conditions or intense exercise.

It’s pretty obvious that Frenchies are built differently. Like Pugs, Boston Terriers and English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs are what’s considered a brachycephalic breed – meaning that they have a shortened muzzle, smaller nostrils, and sometimes a longer soft palate than normal. This physique can make some activities more challenging or even risky for your pup, so read on to learn about some weather safety tips for your Frenchie that will help you to frolic safely together out-of-doors.

Summer Concerns:

  • Beat the Heat:  heat exhaustion and heat stroke are often a Frenchie owner’s biggest summer concerns during hot weather. Their oxygen exchange system doesn’t work as efficiently as other breeds, making body temperature regulation far more difficult for them. Senior Frenchies, puppies, and dogs in poor condition are especially at risk of overheating. To keep your Frenchie cool and comfortable, avoid more than minimal outdoor play with your pup on warm or humid days – some dogs are over-enthusiastic and will happily frolic until they faint.   Always provide fresh, cool water for your Frenchie’s refreshment needs, shade for resting in, and move to a cooler area right away if you notice that your pup is even just panting more than usual. Also, though this may seem like a no-brainer, never, ever leave your Frenchie alone in a parked car, even if the weather is temperate. Sun shining through the windows could mean a spike in temperature for them in no time.  Don’t create a tragedy, by leaving your dog in a car, unattended.
  • Sun Safety: sun safety is important for Frenchies.  Basking in the sun is a delightful pursuit for many humans, but too much sun can be as dangerous for our dogs as it is for us – yes, they can get sunburns, too.  Ouch! Lovers of white Frenchies need to take special care, of course, but most of our pups tend to have thinner hair on their ears, nose, and belly areas as well. Use a zinc based sun block on your pup (ask your vet for their recommendation first), applying it on ears, nose, and underside. Catching rays together might be fun – but overdoing it can increase the risk of skin cancer for your four-legged friend down the road, so be sun safe.  If your Frenchie shows signs of any sunburn, slather aloe vera on the area, and call your veterinarian right away.
  • Pool Perils: creatures that are born to the aquatic life often tend to share many features – long, powerful limbs or tails, sleek, flexible bodies, and webbed feet or fins. If we (lovingly) look at our Frenchies, however, they tend towards a body shape that somewhat resembles a canine cannonball, so it’s a fairly easy prediction that they won’t be particularly skillful swimmers. So any time your Frenchie is near water, you need to be alert.  Pool perils are a reality for Frenchies.  Their short neck isn’t suited for supporting their head above water, either. Despite this, numerous Frenchies do love to take the plunge. To keep your pup safe during pool season, never allow your pup near water without constant supervision – they often can’t keep themselves above water without help – and always put a doggie lifejacket on your dog. Stick close while they swim in case they need some assistance.

Winter Concerns:

  • Frigid Frolics: Summertime is not the only season that poses hazards to our bat-eared beasts – cold weather has its own dangers. Breathing extremely cold air during frigid temperatures can be a strain on their respiratory system, so if it’s too cold for you, it’s definitely too cold for your Frenchie.  Also, though they’re solid little dogs, these pups are short coated, with meager protection on their ears and bellies. Bundle your Frenchie up in a warm doggie coat if you’re going to be building snow dogs together, and check their ears, nose, and bellies often for signs of frostbite.
  • Salt on sidewalks and roadways can be painfully irritating for your pup’s skin and paws. Most dogs adjust to wearing boots with time, but another way to protect their tender tootsies is by using a protective paw balm like Musher’s secret before heading outside. Once your Frenchie gets back inside, use a paw plunger or thorough foot bath to remove the salt and toxins from his or her paws.  Give your dog a thorough wipe down all over, using a warm damp towel..

Your Frenchie’s limitations shouldn’t mean that you stop enjoying outdoor adventures together. If you remember to keep your pup’s safety and comfort in mind, you’ll both be sure to have a great time.  The key is to be aware of Frenchies and weather extremes, and to be proactive in addressing any potential problems.

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Some Frenchies are more enthused by cold weather than others.  Here’s a Frenchie parent poll we took, to see how our own pups responded to cold:

Please remember that ALL information shared here is for educational purposes ONLY. We do not offer medical advise. Ask your own medical professional for advise concerning treatment of your pets' ailments.