Heat Wave Tips - How to Keep Your Frenchie Cool

As a French Bulldog breeder, you know how much joy these adorable, affectionate pups bring into our lives. However, French Bulldogs are particularly susceptible to overheating due to their brachycephalic (short-nosed) anatomy. During a heat wave, it’s crucial to take extra precautions to keep your Frenchie cool and comfortable. In this blog, we’ll explore why French Bulldogs are prone to heat stroke and provide practical tips to help your furry friend beat the heat.

french bulldog overwhelmed by the summer heat wave

Understanding the Risk

French Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses and flat faces. This unique facial structure makes it difficult for them to pant effectively, which is their primary way of cooling down. Additionally, their compact and muscular bodies can retain heat, making them more prone to overheating compared to other breeds. Heat stroke in dogs is a serious condition that can lead to organ failure and even death if not addressed promptly.

Personal Experiences with Heat Stroke

To highlight the importance of taking preventive measures, here are a few stories from French Bulldog owners who have faced the frightening reality of heat stroke with their beloved pets:

Sarah’s Experience: “Last summer, I took Bruno for a walk in the late morning thinking it wasn’t too hot yet. Within minutes, he started panting heavily and drooling excessively. I quickly realized he was overheating. We rushed home, but it was a terrifying experience. Now, I’m extremely cautious about when and how long we go outside.”

Arthur’s Experience: “I left Nala in the car for just a few minutes while I ran an errand. When I returned, she was in distress, panting hard and her gums were bright red. We immediately went to the vet who said it was heat stroke. That day taught me never to leave her in the car, no matter how short the trip.”

Emily’s Experience: “We were playing in the yard when Max suddenly collapsed. He had been running around for a while and I didn’t notice how hot it had gotten. We used cool towels and rushed to the vet. Thankfully, he recovered, but now I always monitor his activity levels and ensure he has plenty of breaks. The scary part is it wasn’t even that hot, but he still managed to over-exert himself.”

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french bulldog at a hot beach in the summer

Signs of Heat Stroke in French Bulldogs

Before diving into the tips, it’s important to recognize the signs of heat stroke in your French Bulldog:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Bright red or pale gums
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapse or seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to act quickly and seek emergency veterinary attention immediately.

Tips to Keep Your Frenchie Cool

  1. Provide Ample Shade and Ventilation

    Ensure your Frenchie has access to shady areas, especially if they spend time outdoors. Use umbrellas, trees, or create shaded spots in your yard. Indoors, keep your home well-ventilated with fans or air conditioning to maintain a cool environment.

  2. Hydration is Key

    Always have fresh, cool water available for your French Bulldog. During hot days, you can add ice cubes to their water bowl to keep it cooler for longer. Consider using a pet water fountain to encourage more drinking. If they aren’t picky eaters or suffer from IBS, offer semi-frozen watermelon.

    We personally use PETLIBRO App monitoring water fountain as it helps us track our dogs’ water intake, but any water fountain works.

  3. Limit Outdoor Activities

    Avoid walking your Frenchie during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Instead, opt for early morning or late evening walks when the temperatures are cooler. Keep walks short and always carry water for both you and your dog. You can also use a cooling vest or a cooling bandana.

  4. Cool Mats, Vests, and Bandanas

    Invest in a cooling mat or vest specifically designed for dogs. These products use cooling gel or water to help regulate your dog’s body temperature. You can place vests and bandanas in the freezer prior to the walk to keep them extra cool.

    Here are some of our favorites:

  5. Create a Cooling Station

    Set up a cooling station in your home with a fan, cooling mat, and a bowl of ice water. This dedicated area can provide your Frenchie with a comfortable spot to retreat to during the hottest parts of the day.

  6. Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

    Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, leading to fatal heat stroke. If you need to run errands, leave your Frenchie at home where it’s cool and safe. Don’t schedule any vet or grooming appointments during a heat wave unless absolutely necessary.

  7. Monitor Their Activity Levels

    Overexertion can quickly lead to overheating. Keep play sessions short and provide plenty of breaks. Watch for signs of fatigue and stop immediately if your Frenchie appears tired, overheated, or panting excessively.

  8. Use Dog-Friendly Pools and Sprinklers

    If your Frenchie enjoys water, let them splash around in a dog-friendly pool or run through a sprinkler. This can be a fun and effective way to cool them down while providing some exercise.

  9. Frozen Treats

    Offer frozen treats like ice cubes, frozen dog-safe fruits, or specially made dog popsicles. These can help lower their body temperature and provide a refreshing snack. Check out our blog “Top 5 DIY Summer Treats For Your French Bulldog” for some fantastic ideas.

  10. Regular Grooming

    Keep your French Bulldog’s coat well-groomed. While you shouldn’t shave their fur, regular brushing can help remove excess hair and improve air circulation close to the skin.

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french bulldog in air condiitoned room

What to Do If Your Frenchie Overheats

Despite all precautions, sometimes your French Bulldog may still overheat. Here’s what you can do if you notice mild signs of heat stroke:

  1. Move to a Cooler Environment

    Immediately take your Frenchie to a shaded or air-conditioned area to help lower their body temperature.

  2. Hydrate

    Offer small amounts of cool (not ice cold) water. Let your dog drink at their own pace. Do not force them to drink as this can lead to choking or water aspiration.

  3. Lemon Juice

    Squirt lemon juice into their mouth to help break down the thick saliva and foam, which will assist with opening the airway.

  4. Cool Down Gradually

    Use lukewarm (not cold) water to wet their body, especially their belly, armpits, and paws. You can also use wet towels to wrap them, changing the towels frequently as they warm up. Applying rubbing alcohol to the paw pads can help cool your dog down quickly as the alcohol evaporates.

  5. Use a Fan

    Place a fan nearby to help increase air circulation and aid in cooling.

  6. Monitor Vital Signs

    Keep a close watch on their breathing, heart rate, and overall behavior. If they do not start to recover quickly, seek veterinary help immediately as heat stroke can be fatal.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your French Bulldog does not show signs of improvement within a few minutes of cooling efforts or if they exhibit severe symptoms such as collapse, seizures, or unresponsiveness, it’s crucial to seek professional veterinary help immediately. Heat stroke can cause serious internal damage, and a veterinarian will be able to provide the necessary treatments to help your dog recover.


Keeping your French Bulldog cool during a heat wave requires vigilance and proactive measures. By following these tips, you can help prevent heat stroke and ensure your Frenchie stays happy, healthy, and comfortable even on the hottest days. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and care. Stay cool and enjoy the summer with your furry friend!

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