French Bulldogs are not efficient in regulating their body temperature. This is one of the many consequences of being a brachycephalic breed. They are prone to overheating, heatstroke, and hypothermia.
But Frenchies also love to bask in the sun and frolic around in the snow. Some temperatures are tolerable for them to enjoy these activities. Although there are some risks, it is okay for them to enjoy these once in a while.
That is part of ensuring their great quality of life. But they do need your help to protect them from harsher temperatures. Read more to figure out how you can do this for your affectionate Frenchie.
Do French Bulldogs Feel the Cold?
Frenchies need protection when it gets chilly because they are sensitive to the cold. Their bodies are cannot withstand colder climates for three reasons. Their face shape, their height, and their coats.
Because of this, they are prone to hypothermia and frostbite. Below is a more in-depth read to highlight the dangers of extreme cold to your Frenchie.
They Are Brachycephalic Breeds
Frenchies face short muzzles and a flat face that makes them cute. But a consequence is that they cannot regulate their body temperature well. This goes for both cold and hot weather.
During the winter, it gets harder for them to breathe. Especially since they have an elongated soft palate and narrow nostrils. An inefficient airflow like this means that they lose heat faster than they can produce it.
They Are Closer to the Ground
While short Frenchies look cute, this is not ideal for when it is winter. Being so close to the ground, they can quickly pick up cold air. The fur on their belly is usually the thinnest and this does not help to keep them warm even more.
They Have Short Coats
Coats provide insulation for dogs. So the longer and denser the coat, the better it is at keeping them warm. Frenchies do not have this advantage, which is why they need jackets or sweaters when going out in the cold.
How Cold Can a French Bulldog Tolerate?
Temperatures of 45ºF (7ºC) are tolerable for Frenchies, with low to medium risks involved. While temperatures of 40 to 30ºF (4 to -1ºC) can be too cold for them, with a higher risk. If you want to take them outdoors in these temperatures, make sure they have protection on.
A temperature of 25ºF (-4ºC) is pushing the limit. While you can take them outdoors at this temperature, be very careful. But it is best if you let them stay indoors.
When it is 20 to 0ºF (-6 to -17ºC), you should keep your Frenchie indoors at all costs. Extreme temperatures like this can be fatal for them.
Should I Walk My French Bulldog in the Snow?
Like other dogs, Frenchies love to walk and play around in the snow as long as it is not too cold for them. If you walk them outside in temperatures of 40 to 30ºF (4 to -1ºC), make sure they have a jacket, boots, and headband on. This should keep them warm as they frolic around in the snow.
If you decide to let them play in the snow, constantly watch out for signs of discomfort and hypothermia. Hypothermia can be fatal, so watch out for these symptoms:
- Breathing Issues
- Dilated Pupils
- Slow Movement
- Difficulty Walking
- Bluish or Pale Gums and Inner Eyelids
Once you see any of these signs, take your Frenchie indoors right away and do your best to warm them up.
Do French Bulldogs Get Cold Easily?
It is easy for Frenchies to get cold, especially when they are younger or older. This is why it is best to keep them indoors when temperatures reach 40ºF (4ºC) and below.
How Do I Keep My French Bulldog Warm in the Winter?
Supplying your Frenchie with more blankets is not the only way to help keep them warm. There are many other things you can do that your Frenchie will appreciate. Below is a list of these:
Limit Their Time Outdoors
While your Frenchie loves playing in the snow, you should know when to stop them. Sometimes they get too excited that they will ignore the fact that they are shivering. That is where you should come in and take them inside.
Give Them Outdoor Protection
When going out, make sure your Frenchie has a jacket or sweater to keep them warm. A headband is great for keeping their ears warm too. Their paws also need protection so give them doggy boots to wear.
Keep Them Dry
Getting them wet during the winter will only get them colder. This can be dangerous as it can lead to hypothermia. But even if you do your best to prevent this, your Frenchie can get accidents from time to time.
If your Frenchie gets wet, make sure to dry them with a towel completely. You can use a blow dryer too to help speed up the process.
Provide Them Lukewarm Drinking Water
Their water can get cold easily with the weather. If their water bowl is near a cold area in the house, move it somewhere else. Having them drink cold water can lead to sore throats and other issues.
Move Their Bed Somewhere Warmer
During winter, you should move your Frenchie’s bed near your heater. But not too near that it makes them uncomfortable. Frenchies also cannot tolerate heat very well.
Use a Heating Pad
If you are not comfortable placing your Frenchie near a heater, give them a heating pad instead. This is great for keeping them warm with lower risks involved.
How Do French Bulldogs Handle Heat?
Unfortunately, Frenchies do not take heat very well. Their breathing issues also make it hard for them to cope with hotter temperatures. This all boils down to their inefficient airflow.
All dogs need to adjust to the heat and a lot of them can do this well. But with a Frenchie’s restricted airflow, they cannot cool themselves down effectively.
This is why they are prone to overheating. Like hypothermia, this is also a fatal condition for your Frenchie. That is why you need to be aware of its symptoms:
- Excessive Panting
- Mouth Foaming
- Discolored Tongue
- Floppy Tongue
- Struggling to Breathe
If you do not take action right away, your Frenchie may collapse. This is a medical emergency and they should see a vet right away if this happens.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for a French Bulldog?
Temperatures above 77ºF (25ºC) can be too hot for your Frenchie to handle. To prevent overheating or heat stroke, your Frenchie should stay at home on a hot day.
How Do You Keep a French Bulldog Cool?
Since hot temperatures are dangerous to Frenchies, you should know how to help them cool down. The good news is that there are many ways you can do this. Below are some tips for keeping your furry friend cool.
Keep Them in a Cool Room
On a hot and humid day, keep your Frenchie indoors with air conditioning or a fan. This is one of the simplest ways to keep them cool. When you are outdoors, you can get a portable fan for your Frenchie to use between walks.
Give Them Shade
When you are strolling outside with them, make sure they always have access to a shady area to take a break. Under a tree will work fine, but what if you cannot find one, you can use an umbrella.
Another solution is to get your Frenchie their doggy tent. An elevated one is much better since the ground can get hot too. This is a more effective way of keeping them cool outdoors.
Limit Their Outdoor Walks
If you have to walk your Frenchie outside when it is warm, only take them out for a few minutes. But make sure the pavement is not too hot to burn their paws.
But it is best to walk them early in the morning or late in the evening. This way, you avoid the scorching heat of the sun. Your Frenchie will be able to enjoy their walks much better.
Keep Them Hydrated
Like humans, dogs need to drink more water when it is getting too warm. Make sure your Frenchie always has access to cool and clean drinking water. Dehydration is a big issue for them during the summertime.
Give Them Frozen Treats
Your Frenchie will always welcome frozen treats on a hot summer day. Watery fruits like frozen watermelon or cantaloupe are great for hydration. But they will also enjoy other frozen fruits like blueberries.
Use a Damp Towel or Cooling Pad
A cool, damp towel is nice to have when your Frenchie is feeling a bit hot. Have them lie down on one with their bellies to bring their body temperature down.
An alternative to this is using a cooling pad. This may be a better option for your Frenchie to lie down on since it is not as messy.
Brush Their Coat
A good brushing will get rid of the excess fur that is preventing air from reaching their skin. Also, brushing helps to spread your Frenchie’s fur. This also helps to expose their skin to the air.
Play With Water
Frenchies cannot swim, but they do enjoy playing with water. You can use a water gun, hose, or sprinklers and play with them outdoors. This is a good opportunity to soak their head and belly with water to cool them down.
Also, you can let them play in a kiddie pool but make sure the water depth does not reach past their shoulders. This way, your Frenchie can swim without the risks of drowning. Or, they may want to lie around in it and enjoy themselves.
Why Does My French Bulldog Love the Sun?
Your Frenchie may love to sunbathe because it feels good for them. It provides the extra warmth that they may need especially on a cold day. This can be weird since they do not do well with heat, but sunbathing can be beneficial for your Frenchie.
Like humans, Frenchies can get their vitamin D from the sun but in a different way. When sunbathing, vitamin D forms on their fur instead of their skin. Their skin cannot absorb vitamin D, so they lick their fur to ingest it.
Vitamin D is important to your Frenchie for healthy bones, and muscle and nerve control. This is because their bodies cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D.
While sunbathing is beneficial for your Frenchie, you need to be careful. Like humans, dogs can also get sun damage. Anyway, your Frenchie’s main source of vitamin D comes from their diet.
But what if your Frenchie enjoys laying around under the sun? You do not want to take something they love away from them, which is understandable.
To do this, you can let them sunbathe safely. One way is to limit their sun exposure each day. While another more important one is to let them use sunscreen that is safe for dogs.
Any dog can get sun damage, but those with short fur and light fur are prone to this. Frenchies are short-haired breeds, so you need to keep this in mind. And if your Frenchie has light fur, you need to protect them from the sun even more.
Do not use any human sunscreen for your Frenchie. These contain toxic ingredients for them like zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). When ingested, this can cause problems with your Frenchie’s red blood cells.
Dog-safe sunscreen comes in different forms: lotions, wipes, and even sprays. Make sure it is at least SPF 30 to provide enough sun protection. You can also get a waterproof one if your Frenchie likes to swim or play in their kiddie pool.
Cover your Frenchie’s body with sunscreen before their sunbathing session. Some areas of their body need more attention as they are more vulnerable.
Apply extra amounts of sunscreen on their nose, ears, belly, and groin. Make sure to reapply sunscreen as well every 4 to 6 hours.