All dogs struggle to stay cool in high temperatures and humid conditions since, unlike humans, they are unable to cool down quickly through sweating, rendering them vulnerable to overheating but French bulldogs and pugs are even more at risk
Their short snouts make French Bulldogs and Pugs cute, but it also makes it impossible for them to cool the hot air coming into their bodies the way their long-snouted canine compatriots can. Even temperatures in the mid-teens can prove uncomfortable, especially if they are kept in direct sunlight without any shade.
We’ve added in specific requirement for French Bulldogs and Pugs in the list below…
DID YOU KNOW? Most of a dog’s sweat glands are located around its foot pads. That is why, when a dog is overheated, you will sometimes see a trail of wet footprints that he has left behind as he walked across the floor
BVA and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are highlighting seven simple steps to help keep dogs safe as the temperature rises:
- Make sure dogs always have adequate fresh water to drink.
- Provide adequate ventilation at all times
- Avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day
- Provide shade from the sun in the hottest part of the day.
- Watch out for early signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, restlessness and lack of coordination
- Never leave dogs in vehicles: “Not long” is too long.
- Contact a vet immediately if the animal does not respond to efforts to cool it down
1. Make sure dogs always have adequate fresh water to drink
DID YOU KNOW? French Bulldogs and Pugs should drink a bowl of water a day on average (500ml), going up to 1.5 bowls (750ml) on a hot day (based on an average 10kg dog)
In Slurps research we’ve found that two out of three dogs don’t drink the daily vet recommended amount. If a dog is cooling itself down by panting, it’s also losing a lot of fluid through evaporation from the tongue so it’s even more important to keep them hydrated.
DID YOU KNOW? Dogs cool down by panting with their mouths open. This allows the moisture on their tongues to evaporate, and the heavy breathing also allows the moist lining of their lungs to serve as a surface from which moisture can evaporate. In this way they can manage a significant cooling of body temperature.
WATCH OUT if your Frenchie or Pug is panting too hard as this can cause his palate, tongue and throat to swell and close off. That’s a deadly situation called brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS).
If your dog is panting heavily for more than 5 minutes, take them somewhere cool and quiet and apply cool or tepid, not cold, cloths to his abdomen, or put him in the tub and run cool or tepid water on his abdomen. If this method doesn’t result in less or no panting within a few minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately.
2. Provide adequate ventilation at all times
Ideally, have an electric fan running in the room to keep the air circulating and if you’re in a car, make sure you use aircon in hot weather.
3. Avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day:
Lots of exercise will generate heat inside the dog’s body and combined with the heat from the sun, will increase a dog’s core temperature. Frenchies and Pugs are very sensitive to heat and if they are too hot, they may flop around and might even collapse.
Walk them before 8am or after 8pm when it’s not so hot. Spray them with cool water if necessary to keep their skin cool.
4. Provide shade from the sun in the hottest part of the day.
If you are not at home, don’t let your dog have free access to the garden. They will sunbathe and you will not be there to see when they’ve been out for too long.
Keep Pugs and Frenchies in a room with a cool floor and draw the curtains. If you do this early enough it will block sunlight and prevent the room from becoming warm.
5. Watch out for early signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, restlessness and lack of coordination.
If you see any of these signs, move them immediately to a cooler spot with plenty of water and ideally stand them in cold water. Standing dogs in cold water has the same effect as putting a cold flannel on your head when you are hot.
If symptoms don’t improve or you see difficulty in breathing, fatigue, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and even seizures, go to the vet asap. Soak a towel in cold water and lay your dog on top of it for the journey
6. Never leave dogs in vehicles: “Not long” is too long
- Everyone knows that dogs die in hot cars. Leaving the car windows open with a bowl of water is not sufficient. Don’t leave your dog unattended in a car – they can die in just 15 minutes
DID YOU KNOW? Even on a cloudy day the temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly reach over double those felt outside.
Even if you are with your dog in the car, they can still overheat.
Use air conditioning to keep the car cool, give them plenty of water in the car or during stops and stop regularly to take dogs for short walks in the shade. Lots of motorway services now have dog walking areas and provide bowls of water so make use of them.
If your dog won’t drink on command or doesn’t like drinking from a travel bowl or outside the house, some Slurps will usually persuade them.
NOTE: Stress can also cause Frenchies and Pugs to become overheated. Dogs that don’t like travelling can become overheated very quickly so be aware that it doesn’t necessary have to be hot for your Frenchie to go into heat distress.