Frenchie owners know that their pups are prone to health problems as a result of their Brachycephalic facial structure.
Overheating is always a big concern, as Frenchies have a hard time expelling heat through panting. However, did you know that they’re also more prone to hypothermia than other breeds?
That’s right, your french bulldog needs some extra protection in winter weather than other dogs, as temperature regulation in both the heat and the cold is not their strong suit.
Read on for our 7 easy-to-follow winter safety tips to keep your Frenchie healthy and warm!
1. Get a Well-Fitting Coat
A well-fitting, lined coat can help trap some of their body heat in while protecting their bodies from the cold. When picking the right size, look for a coat with enough room for you to easily stick your fingers underneath when it’s synched up but not enough room to get your entire hand in there.
The most important area of coverage is their chest and stomach. If you live in an area with extremely low temperatures or high winds, find a coat that has a hood to keep your Frenchie’s ears protected, too!
2. Buy Some Booties
Unlike humans, dogs don’t lose as much heat from their extremities as they do their core. If you’re on a budget, skip the booties and invest in a good coat.
That being said, a good pair of Frenchie booties can still increase the safety of your pup during your winter walks. They help to provide traction on icy ground, keep their feet dry, and honestly look adorable!
3. Keep Their Feet Clean
Throughout most of the winter, sidewalks and streets are littered with salt that speeds up snowmelt. This is great for our ability to navigate on snowy days but not so great for our dogs. Why?
Road salt is mixed with a number of chemicals that are toxic to our dogs. If they get it on their pads and the fur around their feet, their instinct will be to clean it off the only way they know how–with their tongues! Use a baby wipe on your Frenchie’s feet after each walk to ensure that they won’t ingest any chemicals.
4. Keep Their Pads and Nose Moisturized
Cold weather can cause the exposed skin of a dog’s pads and nose to dry out, harden, and even crack. Not only is this painful, but the cracks can develop infections if left untreated! A simple solution is applying a moisturizing balm designed for dogs on their nose and pads at least once a day during the cold season.
You may be tempted to use a product like vaseline to moisturize their pads and nose, but it won’t do the trick. Because it’s more oily than balms designed for dogs, your Frenchie will probably lick it off. It’s non-toxic to dogs, so that’s not a huge concern, but there’s also no evidence that it will leave their skin moisturized even if they leave it alone.
5. Move Their Beds and Water Bowls Away from Windows
Even if you keep the heat blasting indoors, you may have windows or doors that let in a draft. This won’t let enough cold in to do serious damage, but it could lower your Frenchie’s body temperature if they’re exposed to a draft for too long.
Keep their belongings away from windows so that they’re less inclined to linger in chilly areas. Drinking extremely cold water or sleeping in drafty spaces can cause your Frenchie to develop a cold or sinus infection, which they have a hard time fighting due to their facial structure.
6. Limit Outdoor Time
The best winter safety tip for Frenchies is to limit their outdoor time when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. That means short walks for bathroom breaks only. This can be hard for our pups that love to romp around in the yard or take long walks, so you’ll have to commit to upping the indoor playtime in exchange.
For Frenchie puppies and seniors, you may even want to invest in piddle pads to allow them to relieve themselves without going outside. This can be a confusing adjustment for dogs who have never used them, but we’ve got some training tips to make indoor potty training a breeze!
7. Look for Signs of Hypothermia
Even if you’re following all of our winter safety tips, you should still check for signs of hypothermia. If you’re concerned about your Frenchie’s health as a result of the cold weather, take her to the vet right away!
One of the most obvious signs of hypothermia is strong shivering or trembling that seems to come in waves even after you’re indoors. If your dog ceases shivering for several minutes and then resumes shivering, it may mean that their blood flow has slowed.
Other signs include a slowed heart rate, lethargic behavior, and dilated pupils. These are all things you should check for after each walk, as they may come on rather quickly. Throughout the winter, look for signs that your Frenchie is having trouble walking or breathing.
Beat the Cold Weather with Winter Safety Tips
If you’ve got low temperatures in your forecast and you’re worried about your Frenchie’s health, follow our winter safety tips! As long as you keep her indoors as much as possible, bundle her up when she goes outside, and keep her clean and moisturized, she should have no trouble this winter!
For more helpful tips and general information about French bulldogs, check out some of our other blog posts! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to get Frenchie fun straight to your newsfeed!