French Bulldogs and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds are notorious for their inability to regulate their body temperature in not only hot climates, but cold ones as well!
I know the second it gets even slightly chilly outside, my Frenchie starts to shiver… and it’s not even that cold out!
In this article, I’m going to cover the possible risks associated with extremely cold climates, and show you how exactly you can keep your Frenchie safe and warm.
TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read!)
If your Frenchie is absolutely freezing right now, here’s what you need to know.
Let’s face it: if you know how to keep yourself warm, then you absolutely can keep your Frenchie comfy this winter.
Here’s what you’re going to need…
- A properly-fitting coat — getting the appropriate size is key
- Boots to keep their paws warm
- Towels to wipe their paws after walks to clean off any harmful chemicals
FrenchieWiki’s Coat Choice: Hurtta Extreme Warmer Dog Winter Coat
How to know if your French Bulldog is cold?
A good rule-of-thumb to go by is that if it’s too cold for you to stand outside without a coat, hat, gloves, or boots, then it’s definitely too cold for your Frenchie to stay outside for long.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your French Bulldog has had enough of the cold
Look for these signs
- Shivering or trembling
- Slowed movements
- Cold ears or body
- Curling up
- Anxiety - looking for a safe place to hide
- Whining, whimpering, or barking — especially if they’re making eye contact
Signs of Hypothermia in French Bulldogs
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your dog’s body is losing heat faster than it can produce heat. It is defined as a temperature under 100°F in dogs.
Sustained hypothermia can be fatal, and we cannot stress the importance of early treatment if you suspect your Frenchie might be suffering from hypothermia.
Due to their smooshed faces and short coats, Frenchies are more susceptible to hypothermia than most other breeds, and it’s important that you know the signs of hypothermia if you live in a cold area.
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of hypothermia.
Look out for these signs
- Lack of mental alertness
Go to a veterinarian immediately if you notice
- Muscle stiffness
- Low blood pressure
- A stupor-like state
- Shallow, slow breathing
- Fixed and dilated pupils
- Inaudible heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
If you notice any of these symptoms after your Frenchie has been out in the cold, take them to the vet immediately! Hypothermia can be fatal if ignored.
Common causes of Hypothermia in French Bulldogs
According to PetMD, the most common causes of hypothermia are:
- Exposure to cold temperatures for a long period of time
- Wet fur and skin
- Submersion in cold water for an extended period of time
Frostbite in French Bulldogs
If you’re walking your Frenchie in extremely cold climates (below 32°F), you’ll also need to be mindful of the risks of frostbite.
When your dog is exposed to such extreme temperatures, their blood vessels will start to narrow in an attempt to preserve the core body temperature.
This is a protective mechanism, however, prolonged exposure to the cold can result in reduced bloodflow to the extremities (ears, paws, and tail).
Look out for these signs of frostbite
- Discoloration of the affected skin (pale, gray, or bluish)
- Coldness / brittleness of an affected area
- Pain when touching area
- Blisters or skin ulcers
- Areas of blackened or dead skin
It’s important to note that the clinical signs of frostbite may take several days to appear! If you suspect your Frenchie may have frostbite, we recommend taking them to a vet ASAP.
Why are French Bulldogs so sensitive to temperature?
The main reason why French Bulldogs are so sensitive to both extremely hot and cold climates is due to their short coats and brachycephalic (flat-faced) nature.
It’s not fair to compare Frenchies to other breeds when it comes to their ability to withstand the cold. Frenchies are built differently! They can’t handle extreme temperatures for long.
With all of this in mind, you might be asking yourself:
So how do I keep my Frenchie warm in the winter?
If you know how to keep yourself warm, then you should have no problem keeping your Frenchie cozy during the winter.
You’re going to want:
- A warm, snug coat
- Boots for when it’s snowing out
- A headband to keep ears protected from chilly wind
Is it safe for my Frenchie to play or walk in the snow?
Yes! Of course it is, given that you’ve taken all necessary precautions.
If your Frenchie wants to have some fun making snow-dogs this winter, make sure you follow these guidelines:
Keep them warm! Put a sweater and boots on.
- If you’re putting on anything to keep yourself warm, then your Frenchie should be doing the same.
Have a towel to wipe their paws with when they come inside.
- This is due to the ice-melting chemicals that might be on the sidewalks and roads. You don’t want your Frenchie to walk on these chemicals and then lick their paws! All you need to do is just wipe their paws when you’re done walking or playing.
How to choose the perfect coat for your French Bulldog
Picking a coat
Having the proper coat for your Frenchie is the #1 thing you can do to keep them warm during the winter.
If the coat doesn’t fit your dog well, then it will barely help keep your Frenchie warm.
You’ll want to look for a coat that checks the following boxes:
Snug fit — not too restrictive or loose
- The coat’s fit is the most important! If it’s wrong, the coat might barely even work.
Material is warm enough
Keeps chest and stomach warm
Preferably has a hood to keep your Frenchie’s ears warm
FrenchieWiki’s Choice: Hurtta Extreme Warmer Dog Winter Coat
For those Frenchies that live in extremely cold areas, look no further than Hurtta’s coats.
Hurtta is a Finnish company that designed their coats to withstand even some of the coldest climates on Earth.
What we like
- Various sizes and sizing guide to make sure you have a perfect fit
- Adjustable waistband, neck, and back length
- Reflective material to help with visibility outside
- Liftable hood to keep ears safe and warm!
- Heat reflective material
As we’ve mentioned before, the size is the most important part of your Frenchie’s coat. Hurtta offers a sizing guide to make sure you get the right fit specifically for your dog.