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- Frenchies have trouble regulating their body temperatures – in both hot and cold
- Frostbite is no joke! Know the symptoms and keep your eye out.
Brrr! It’s getting to be that time of year again…
I don’t know about you, but my Frenchie always starts shivering the second the temperature starts to drop. And it’s barely even cold out down here in Florida.
But what can I say, I’d be running back inside immediately if I wasn’t bundled up in a jacket and sweatpants.
So why would it be any different for our Frenchies?
The answer is: it’s not.
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! Their short coats don’t do much to keep them warm either.
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
So how do I keep my Frenchie warm in the winter?
The coldest times of days are early morning and late night, so try to keep walks brief during these frigid hours.
1. Dress up your Frenchie
If you know how to keep yourself warm, then you should have no problem keeping your Frenchie cozy during the winter.
A good rule of thumb is: if you’re putting on anything to keep yourself warm, then your Frenchie should be doing the same.
Your Frenchie’s Wish List
- A warm, snug coat
- Boots for when it’s snowing out and to protect from those toxic ice-melting chemicals
- A headband to keep ears protected from chilly wind
2. Keep walks shorter than usual. Your Frenchie’s coat doesn’t provide much warmth.
3. Wipe those paws!
Have a designated towel to wipe their paws with when they come back inside. This is important due to the ice-melting chemicals that might be on the sidewalks and roads.
You really 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.
4. Give your Frenchie a blanket in their bed so they don’t get cold at night.
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.
- 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 has specifically designed their coats (including this one) to withstand some of the coldest climates on Earth.
What I like about this coat
- 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 I’ve mentioned before, the proper size is the most important part of your Frenchie’s coat. Thankfully, Hurtta offers a sizing guide to make sure you get the right fit for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to know if your French Bulldog is too 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.
Look for these signs
In addition to how you feel, there are some telltale signs that your French Bulldog has had enough of the cold.
If you notice any of these, take them inside or cover them up with a coat.
- 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
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:
Why are French Bulldogs so sensitive to temperature?
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!
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.
What is 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, as a dog’s normal body temperature is between 101°F – 102.5°F.
Sustained hypothermia can be fatal, and I 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.
They just aren’t the best at regulating their body temperatures. Even if your friends with other dogs aren’t worried at all or it never affected your dogs in the past, it’s something you should keep in mind.
Look out for these signs of hypothermia
Of course, symptoms vary depending on the severity of hypothermia.
Mild symptoms of hypothermia
- Lack of mental alertness
Severe symptoms of hypothermia
Go to a veterinarian immediately if you notice these severe symptoms of hypothermia
- 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
- 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 blood flow (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, I recommend taking them to a vet ASAP.