One of the first things any prospective Frenchie owner needs to know is that they do NOT do well in extreme temperatures – especially heat! Frenchies are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have been bred to have a normal lower jaw proportional to their body size, but they have a compressed upper jaw. While these smooshy faces are adorable, their health has been compromised to an extent to achieve their distinctive look. Have a look at the comparison between the skull of a normal snouted dog and a brachy dog.
BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS ARE THE MOST LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR HEAT STROKE.
The upper airways of the brachycephalic dog compromises their ability to easily take in air. Under normal conditions the compromise is not great enough to cause a problem. It is vitally important than an owner not to let the dog become grossly overweight or get too hot in the summer months.
The brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter and therefore often a victim of heat stress. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. When a dog pants, saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.
In a brachy pup, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.
One thing you can do to help your pup stay cool in the summer months is invest in a cooling jacket. This is basically like wearing an ice pak as they play outdoors. Two come to mind if you are willing to pay the $30-$50 for them - Chillybuddy cooling jacket and Cool K-9 Evaporative Cooling Vest
Something is better than nothing, so for $6-$10 you can purchase a cooling bandana. Obviously this will not provide the same relief and protection from the heat, but at least it is something. With the bandana, you will need to be vigiliant in keeping it cool and providing an extra way for your dog to cool off. Our girls like a plastic kids waiding pool.
Frenchies love to run and play and clown around. They do not know when to stop to catch their breath. It is our responsibility as their owners to make sure they are protected.