The French Bulldog has many positive characteristics that make them a favorite breed of dog for Frenchie fanciers; adaptability to the great outdoors, however, is not one of them. Due to some characteristic physical and genetic traits, French Bulldogs require an extra level of care in some climates and conditions.
Physical Characteristics Affecting Heat Tolerance
French Bulldogs have a unique, lovable look, but that look comes at a cost. The shortened nose of the French Bulldog combined with the unique shape of the French Bulldog skull (referred to as brachycephalic syndrome) result in these dogs often having breathing difficulties.
Dogs do not have sweat glands and rely on panting to help dispel heat. All dogs of this breed have difficulty regulating body temperature because of the shortened nose and decreased air-intake ability. Warm-weather conditions that may pose only moderate discomfort for a larger, longer-nosed breed could prove deadly for a French Bulldog, and this is why it is so important for French Bulldog owners to be aware of the unique climactic needs of the French Bulldog.
French Bulldogs are not a dog that should be considered as an “outside” pet. They are not a breed to be left on a line outside. French Bulldogs were bred to be in-home companion animals; they are very well suited for this purpose, but the characteristics that make them excellent house dogs make them poor outdoor animals. In addition, French Bulldogs require care to be taken during periods of exercise.
Guide For Preventing Heat Stress In French Bulldogs
Follow these guidelines to ensure that your French Bulldog does not become a victim of overheating, which can be fatal to French Bulldogs.
- Always provide shade and water for your French Bulldog when outside
- Keep your French Bulldog inside during high-heat and humidity
- Restrict outside activity and exercise during summer heat and humidity
- During warmth and humidity, let your French Bulldog outside for only short periods, as required for toileting
- Monitor your dog periodically when let outside in your (fenced) yard to play
- Be particularly vigilant when children play with your French Bulldog, and be careful that play does not cause your dog to overheat
- Be watchful of your French Bulldog and look for signs of distress; a dog that is breathing hard or noisily should be brought inside to lie down
- Never leave your French Bulldog unattended in a car with windows rolled up
- Long and vigorous walks are not in the French Bulldog’s best interest
- Plan for breaks when taking longer walks with your French Bulldog
- Provide a cool indoor space for your French Bulldog in the summer, preferably air conditioned
If your French Bulldog does show signs of overheating, soak them with cool water and cool, wet towels. Pet your dog slowly to calm him or her down. If the condition does not improve in short time, or if you note excessively noisy or labored breathing, call you veterinarian for further instructions.