How to Tell If Your Bulldog Is Overheating
When bulldogs get hot, they cool off the same way all dogs do: They pant. But because a bulldog’s breathing system is shorter than the average dog’s, panting isn’t always easy and they may struggle to cool down quickly enough. It’s important that when your bulldog is walking or playing outside in hot weather that you monitor him or her closely to avoid missing the early signs of heat stroke.
How to tell if your bulldog is overheating:
Red ears—When a bulldog is beginning to overheat, the inside of his ears may flush red. If you notice this, there’s no need to panic. But know that it may be time to get your bulldog out of the sun and inside somewhere where it’s cooler.
Red, floppy tongue—If your bulldog’s tongue looks redder than usual and if it’s flopping out of his mouth while he’s panting, this may be a sign that your bulldog is in the beginning stages of heat stroke.
Heavy panting—One of the biggest signs your bulldog may be overheating is if he or she is panting heavily. Dogs do not sweat, so the only way they can regulate their body temperature is through panting. While panting during exertion is normal, heavy, labored panting is not.
Foaming—If your bulldog begins to pant so quickly that he or she starts to foam at the mouth, this is a sign that your bulldog’s temperature is dangerously high. If he shows signs of labored breathing followed by a “roaring” sound, this means the foam has now blocked his airway and your bulldog is struggling to breathe. If this happens, clear the bulldog’s throat by scooping out the foam with your fingers.
What to do if your bulldog has heatstroke:
Place your bulldog in a cool bath—Stand your dog up in the tub and wet him with water, paying extra attention to the head and tail. Rub her body with an ice pack or ice cubes.
If you don’t have a bathtub, pour water on him—Wet along his head, neck, underbelly and the inside of his legs.
Unblock the airway—Squirt lemon juice into her mouth, aiming for the back of the throat. This will help to clear away any foam that has formed. If lemon juice isn’t available, clear the foam away with your fingers. It’s important the bulldog’s airway remains unblocked.
Don’t let your bulldog gulp water—If he drinks too much water at once, he might vomit. This may cause even further blockage.
Take her to the vet—If your bulldog still looks distressed after you’ve unblocked the airway and cooled her off with ice and a water bath, take her to the vet. Lay her on a cool, wet towel in the car and continue to speak to her in quiet, calming tones throughout the drive over.
Preventing heat stroke is easy if you remain vigilant and follow a few simple tips.
- Take precautions when playing outside
If your bully loves to run and play in the park or backyard, make sure you periodically sponge him off with a wet sponge or towel to ensure he’s keeping cool. It can also help to wet his feet (particularly under his toes) and put ice cubes in his bowel. If your bulldog enjoys cool water baths, let him soak in a kiddie pool.
- Limit exercise on hot days
When it’s extremely hot out, it’s best to exercise your bulldog in the early morning or evening. If you take your bully for a walk, be sure to carry water with you. If your bulldog has white-colored ears, know that he or she may be extra vulnerable to skin cancer.
- Watch out for humidity
Extreme temperatures aren’t the only thing tough on bulldogs; humidity is, too. When bulldogs pant, they are working to remove moisture from their lungs so that they can keep cool. When the humidity is high, bulldogs have to work that much harder to eliminate the extra moisture, and that can also cause them to overheat.
- Take their temperature
If you’re unsure if your bulldog is overheating, take his or her temperature. If the thermometer shows a temperature of 104 degrees or higher, your furry guy or gal may have heat stroke. You’ll then need to take immediate action to cool your bully down.
- Don’t rely on a fan
Many dog owners assume if they turn on the fan before they leave the house, that will be sufficient for keeping their bulldogs cool. Dogs do not respond to heat the same way humans do, however. Since dogs often sweat through their feet, for example, an overhead fan won’t be of much help.
- Provide a lot of shade and water
Keep your bulldog protected from the sun by providing ample amounts of shade. Trees, umbrellas, tarps or anything else that doesn’t block air flow is best.
Whatever you do, do not keep your bulldog outside in a dog house. While the dog house may provide shade, it restricts air flow. In fact, sitting in a shaded dog house is actually worse then sitting in the direct sun!
A final note:
Don’t assume your bulldog will know when he’s about to overheat. If you’re outside in the sun, your bulldog may continue running and playing until he collapses, and by then, heatstroke might have already set in. Take preventative measures by periodically hosing your bulldog down or wiping him with a cool wet cloth or icepack.
Remember: The best way to treat heatstroke is to prevent it from every happening.
About Cascade Bulldogs: Cascade Bulldogs is a bulldog blog dedicated to providing bulldog care and tips. The blog features two famous bulldog show dogs, Snow White and Wildflower.