Heat is probably the number one danger to the Bulldog and all of the other flat-faced
breeds. A dog’s primary cooling mechanism is the ability to pant and dissipate body heat.
Short nosed dogs have a reduced ability to cool by panting, coupled with the fact that many
of them have a reduced breathing capacity caused by any one or all of the following:
- pinched nostrils, elongated soft palette, small trachea or extraneous tissue in the throat.
Additionally the Bulldog is a very heavy boned, dense bodied dog. When this mass becomes
overheated it is very difficult to reduce that temperature. Dogs, in general, are far more
susceptible to heat stroke than people. In view of these facts the best way to treat
overheating is to never let it happen! Prevention is by far a safer and more effective way
to combat enemy #1, heat.
Heat stroke is not just the enemy of short nosed breeds. Every summer dogs of all
breeds are overcome in cars, herding dogs collapse, dogs playing in the sun can get heat
stroke and hunting or field dogs suffer from too much heat, humidity and/or excitement.
Heat Plus Excitement
Heat combined with excitement or stress is the biggest danger to our dogs. When our
dogs become excited they begin to pant. When they become warm they begin to pant.
Since the Bulldog cooling system is inefficient you can quickly exceed its’ capacity and then
the dog is in trouble.
How hot does it have to be for the dog to be in danger? The temperature can be down in
the 70’s and our dogs can be in danger. Temperature, humidity and the dog’s total
breathing capacity are all factored in the dangerous heat equation. The amount of air
circulation, whether the dog is in the shade or the sun, how stressed he is all make a
difference in the effect of heat plus excitement.
How will I know when my Bulldog is danger?
Some danger signs are:
• Unusually sluggish or unresponsive
• Pale or dark red gums, may be very dry
• In the final stages the dog will suffer convulsions and unconsciousness
• If you observe any of these symptoms it is imperative that you take action
• Get your dog into the shade and apply cold water or hose gently with a continuous
stream of cool water.
• Submerge in a tub of cool water if possible. If possible apply ice packs or cold towels.
• Erratic breathing
• Glazed eyes
If your dog is conscious allow him to drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Do not
force him to drink. Get veterinary attention immediately. You may save his life!
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