Summer Safety Information

Summer is once more coming in, and it’s time to remind our readers of some potential summer dangers for their Frenchies.

First, don’t allow your Frenchie to pant too much. Panting too hard can cause his palate, tongue and throat to swell and close off. That’s a deadly situation called brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). Read about one of our volunteer’s experience with this on the blog.

It doesn’t have to be a hot day, your dog doesn’t have to be overexercising or playing, though these are two ways your dog can start to pant too much. Just getting overexcited can set off a problem. Too much panting can literally kill your dog. If your dog is panting heavily for more than 5 minutes, remove him from where ever he is, take him somewhere cool and quiet and apply cool or tepid, not cold, cloths to his abdomen, or put him in the tub and run cool or tepid water on his abdomen. If this method doesn’t result in less or no panting within a few minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately.

To prevent overheating, you can buy “cool coats,” which are often made of chamois cloth. The coats cool your dog by evaporation–you wet the coat and put it on the dog. As you may know, dogs don’t perspire, they must cool themselves by panting. But as we’ve discussed, smoosh-faced dogs can get in trouble if they pant too much.

Mosquitoes emerge in spring and your vet has likely told you about the dangers of heartworm. We see so many heartworm cases, and it is just so shocking that people can foolishly economize by failing to use preventative. Heartworm preventative is not a luxury. It is a must-have.

Another area of concern is water. We’ve discussed many times that very few Frenchies can swim. We sell dog lifejackets on our shopping mall. Every summer we lose an FBRN grad or two to a swimming pool, pond or lake, and it is so sad for us and for our dogs’ families. Take your eyes off your dog for just a few minutes, and, like a toddler, a dog can be in the pool and drowned more quickly than you can imagine. Any time your Frenchie is near a pool, pond or lake, put the life jacket on. You could save yourself a lifetime of “if only’s.”

But drowning isn’t the only danger associated with water. Increasingly, reports of serious illness and death in people, dogs, and livestock are occurring as a consequence of drinking toxic water. Nutrients from fertilizers used on agricultural lands, suburban lawn and gardens, and other sources can combine with warm weather and naturally occurring algae to produce blue/green algae blooms (cyanotoxins) that can appear and disappear in a matter of hours in ordinarily safe ponds or lakes. Swimming in or drinking water from an area with a toxic algae bloom can be fatal. Here is a site that explains more about blue/green algae blooms and provides photos of what these blooms can look like.

As the weather heats up across the country, enjoy your summer armed with the knowledge and equipment your Frenchie needs to be cool and buoyant and safe.


French Bulldogs have short snouts. It makes them cute, but it also makes it impossible for them to cool the hot air coming into their bodies the way their long-snouted canine compatriots can. They also tend to have fleshy palates, narrow nostrils and narrow tracheas. All of these factors spell bad news during hot spells

Hot air kills Frenchies.

Don’t take a Frenchie with you on errands if you don’t have air-conditioning in your car. Don’t walk them in direct sunshine, don’t walk them in temps over 80 degrees (sometimes less: watch them), don’t let them play too hard, and if they even start to look overheated, get them to some cool/tepid (not cold) water ASAP. Pour it on their tummies, turn on a fan and lower their temperature.

Panting from overexertion and/or heat can cause Frenchies’ airways to swell and make breathing difficult, which leads to panic and more and harder panting and even more swelling. The problem can quickly escalate and they can die. Read about one of our volunteers’ experience with brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome here.

Though opinions vary, we’ve heard that a Frenchie with a tongue rolled out and either curled or very wide and flat is in danger. Don’t take chances with your frogdogs. Owning a Frenchie, or any flat-faced breed, means educating yourself on their special needs and unique problems.