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Heatstroke & the French bulldog

| Care Tips | May 1, 2008

Red fawn pied French Bulldogs. Paler versions are sometimes referred to as fawn pied, lemon pied or honey pied.Image via Wikipedia

Any dog can suffer from heat exhaustion but due to the shorter breathing system that the French bulldog has, they are more susceptible than most other breeds. The number one cause of heat exhaustion in dogs is leaving them in a car on a warm day, if the temperature outside is around 75f then the heat inside the car can very quickly build up to over 130f.

The Frenchie has shorter airways than most dogs and this leads to less chance of the air which the dog takes in cooling and as dogs cannot sweat the only means they have of cooling down is by panting.

There are other factors that can lead to heat exhaustion in dogs and particularly the frenchie, the dog’s physical condition, the age of the dog and acclimatization of the weather. However all frenchies no matter how active they are or how well they breathe normally are more at risk from heat stroke than other breeds.

The signs of heatstroke in a dog are

* Beginning to pant heavily.

* Flushed and red skin on the inside of the ears.

* Overall weakness.

* Beginning to stagger.

* Fainting or loss of consciousness.

If your frenchie is showing signs of heatstroke then you must cool him down immediately, don’t try taking him to the vets you might not have time, heatstroke can be deadly.

Here’s what you should do

* Never try to give water to your dog, his airways might have become swollen which could result in the dog taking water into the lungs.

* Hose your dog down with cool but not cold water.

* Place an ice pack on the head and try to cover the rest of the body with wet towels or some other cloth that holds water.

* Where possible get the dog into a bath of cool water again not cold.

* If your dogs airways are swelling due to him panting a lot, you can use the children’s allergy treatment Benaydryl by dropper into your dogs mouth, it is wise to consult your vet for the exact dosage for your dog.

* Keep up with this treatment until the temperature shows signs of normalising, then and only then transport your dog to the vets.

Prevention of heatstroke

Common sense should some into play here, always remain alert to your dogs needs what might seem like a cooler day to you could be hot for your dog. Always limit the time your dog spends outside in the warm/hot weather and remember that most dogs will play forever regardless of if they are overheating.

Always make sure there is a shaded area for your dog to go and lie down in and that there is plenty of fresh cool drinking water for your dog. Just as you keep a first aid kit for yourself and your family you should keep one also for your frenchie, it could consist of the following:

* A bottle of distilled water.

* A cool down cloth.

* A cool down coat.

* Some towels.

* A bottle of children’s Benaydryl and an eyedropper.