The French Bulldogs are a fun-loving and affectionate breed. Since they love being around their family, they often get destructive if left alone for a long time. They tend to fall sick very often, mainly because they are brachycephalic. They cannot cope up with extreme climatic conditions, neither too hot nor too cold. They have a flat face with narrow nostrils and airway passage, which makes them difficult to breathe under certain circumstances.
Does a French Bulldog like playing in the snow? Although French Bulldogs are prone to catching a cold, they like playing in the snow. However, as a pet parent, you must take all the mandatory safety measures. It will help them to spend some quality time outdoors in chilly weather and reduce the risks of health issues.
Reasoning why French Bulldogs are easily affected in winter
French Bulldogs can neither tolerate scorching weather nor freezing weather. There are few but very logical reasoning behind it, they are:
History: The primary reason behind cross-breeding between Toy Bulldogs and ratters was to achieve partners or companions. They are most suitable in an indoor environment. Thus, they cannot stay outside for a long time. But for their physical fitness, a short but effective outdoor walk is also necessary.
Flat-face: Another reason why they cannot stay outdoors during chilly weather is that they have a brachycephalic structure. In simple words, they have a flat face and narrow passage of the nostrils, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to breathe normally.
Fur coat: The breed of French Bulldog is muscular but has a soft and short fur coat on the body. Due to this hey feels colder in winter, unlike other kinds who have thick fur.
Temperature: The French Bulldogs cannot regulate their body temperature on their own. Thus, making it difficult for them to withstand freezing temperatures, especially during snowfall.
Health issues: Congenital diseases are quite common among French Bulldogs. Moreover, they can easily catch a cold which also affects the respiratory system. Thus, chilly weather is sensitive to their immune system.
Symptoms and Health Risks of a French Bulldog during snowfall
Even if French Bulldogs are sensitive to cold temperatures, they also love to play and enjoy outdoors in the snow. Outdoor playtime for a short duration is not an issue, yet if they expose to the chilly weather for a long time, they may have the following health hazards:
Hypothermia: Hypothermia in French Bulldogs mainly occurs due to exposing them for a very long time in a cold environment as they are not able to regulate body temperature. It is a medical condition that can range from mild to severe cases. The symptoms in such state may include:
- Tired and discoloration of the skin
- Shivering and extensive shaking of the body
- Inability to walk due to muscle cramps.
- Heavy and difficulty in breathing
Puppies and old French Bulldogs are more prone to hypothermia. They lose their body heat faster from the skin than younger ones. On noticing such unusual behavior, immediately take them indoors and cover them in warm blankets. Monitor their body temperature frequently and seek medical help immediately if it decreases further.
Frostbite: This causes damage to the skin when pets try to tolerate extreme cold for long periods. The blood vessels beneath the surface restrict the blood flow and the tissues freezes, which results in injury. The paws, ears and tail suffer the most. The signs of frostbite include:
- Discoloration of the exposed areas of the body
- Severe body pain
- Redness of skin
- Swelling of injured areas
- In severe cases, it turns into blisters and then ulcers.
However, the exciting part is these signs do not appear instantly. It may take a few days to identify. The infected area tends to fall off after no skin cell formation and can also cause bacterial infection. Keeping the body of a French Bulldog can prevent such situations. In severe cases, immediate warmth to the body can help. Do not give any medicines without doctor’s advice.
Cold and Flu: Other than the risk of hypothermia or frostbite, a French Bulldog may also catch a usual cold followed by flu with high temperature. However, identifying the symptoms is not an issue, as they are similar to humans.
- Coughing and sneezing
- Runny nose
- Body temperature
Treating a mild cold is not a problem. Complete rest, lots of fluids. A warm environment and mild medication can help recover soon. It is advisable not to allow them to come in contact with other dogs as there might be chances of transmission of infection. A simple cold lasts not more than a week and then gradually recovers on its own.
However, if the condition prolongs, you must ask for professional help. In severe cases, cold can be a symptom of other underlying issues like Kennel cough or bronchitis. Also, look out for any other infections in the body due to chemicals in the snow which may accompany vomiting and diarrhea.
To prevent your French Bulldog from the attack of severe health hazards while playing in the snow, the most important precautionary measures are:
Keeping him warm: Warmth of the body is necessary while being indoors as well as outdoors.
Proper winter clothes and boots: Ensure all the winter clothes are of appropriate size and you have all the necessities at your disposal.
Immediate identification of unusual changes in the body: Keep a check on the activities of your pet. Any changes or unnatural behavior may be a reason for underlying factors.
The short duration of playtime with snow: Do not let him play in the snow for a long time. Regular but short walks in the evening will help to prevent catching a cold or other extreme health hazards.
Immediate cleaning of paws after returning: wipe off his paws and ears immediately after returning. Wetness is the main reason that the body cannot tolerate cold and has adverse effects.
Essential items for French Bulldogs during winter: It is essential to keep winter clothes handy, and that fits properly so that the body remains warm both indoors as well as outdoors.
Winter coat: A perfect-fitting winter coat will ensure that the lower part of the body, i.e., the chest and stomach remain warm. It should be neither oversized nor too tight. A loose winter coat will let the cold air pass through it and will not serve its primary purpose. While playing in the snow, snowflakes may enter through the gaps between the coat and the body. On the other hand, a tight jacket will make your French Bulldog uncomfortable and may also hamper natural breathing or regular blood flow. Most winter coats come in various sizes with adjustable straps and a hood to cover the ears can keep them warm too.
Sweaters: Other than winter coats, you can also keep sweaters for typical days in the winter. Since French Bulldogs do not have a long fur coat on their body, warm jerseys will serve as an alternative and protect from cold.
Boots: Invest in some shoes for your French Bulldogs which shall be useful while playing in the snow. It shall prevent the paws from being wet and will minimize the risks of catching a cold. It will also avoid their legs from getting hurt with the stones or snow and other harmful chemicals in it.
Towels and Tissues: Whenever you plan to go outdoors, always carry towels and tissues with you, so that you can frequently keep removing snowflakes from the body during playtime. After returning home, ensure that the paws, tails and ears are dry. A warm compress will provide warmth to the body in case of shivering.
General winter care tips for your French Bulldog
Follow these tips for an enjoyable winter with your French Bulldog.
- Do not let your French Bulldog play alone in the snow or outdoors during the winter season. Supervising him will make sure that you are aware of his health issues if sudden changes take place. As a pet parent, you can act immediately.
- Try to maintain and engage him indoors as much as possible. A short walk in the neighborhood is okay but not daily.
- During chilly weather, check if he has his necessary warm clothes and other essentials like blankets. Cover him adequately while sleeping at night with warm bed and beddings. However, it should not be too hot either or else he will suffocate.
- Since the outdoor activities decrease in winter, make sure he gets an ample amount of physical exercise in the form of simple games which will help him maintain his body weight as well as his internal health.
- Do not overfeed during winters. Less activity and more food will affect its body. Maintain a balanced meal throughout the day.
- Continue his training indoors instead of taking him outside to avoid any risks.
- Keep the veterinary doctor informed on any changes in the canine’s behavior and also ensure he receives his vaccines on time.
French Bulldogs are otherwise quite cheerful and enjoy the company of his family. They are prone to quite a few health issues, but that will subside with proper treatment and precautionary measures. Their genetic structure does not allow them to be comfortable and be on their own in a very hot or frigid environment.
As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to take care of his comfort and ensure that there is proper maintenance of his health. The tips, as mentioned above, will not only help you protect them from the chilly winter but also enjoy their playtime in the snow.