Heat Stroke

All short-nosed breeds ('brachycephalic' breeds) like bulldogs and pugs must be carefully managed in very hot weather. It usually surprises novice dog owners how quickly a bulldog may succumb due to heatstroke. It is a severely underestimated cause of death in all dog breeds, not only bulldogs, but it is true that bulldogs are particularly susceptible to heatstroke.
So if the weather is hot, take great care. Excercise either early in the morning, and late at night. Bulldogs love sunbathing and they will often lie in the full sun with no ill effects, provided they are left quietly, on their own, and can decide for themselves when it is time to move into the shade when required. Never, ever leave your dog  in the car unatteneded in summer, NOT EVEN for a couple of minutes.

The first signs of heatstroke are: extremely rapid, heavy panting, and a blue-colored tongue. It may get to the point where your bulldog is making peculiar noises in his throat; sides convulsive and refuses to drink water or lick ice. This will progress into 'roaring', a term used to describe when the dog is really in distress and struggling to breathe. He may womit a white froth or foam, which you must clear from his throat with your fingers. At this point immediate action is required !

If your bulldog does not have the ability to vomit you must help him to clear his throat to ensure better air intake. In comparison to the size of the bulldog's head, their throats are small and it is possible for them to choke on their own phlegm. Wedging ice cubes between the teeth of the dog helps reduce the swelling in the throat, due to prolonged panting. You can reach in and pull this thick mucous out, or use lemon juice squeezed directly into the back of the mouth or pour a bit of soda containing acidic citrus to cut all the phlegm loose, causing the dog to vomit.

Once his throat has been cleared and air can now circulate up and down the trachea, his body temperate must be immediately reduced. The most efficient way to reduce the body temperature is to totally immerse the heat stroke victim in a cold bath, or, if that is not possible, to hose the dog with cold water. If you don't have enough ice-cold water at your disposal place a pack of ice cubes on top of your bulldog's head. If the dog is losing consciousness, placing ice-cubes against the rectum can also help. Once the dog seems to recover, dry him and place him in a cool place where he can relax. Give him small amounts of water to drink. Do not allow him to drink too much, as this will make him sick or cause him to choke on the froth produced.

In situations where heat may gradually build up, for example when travelling or during summer shows, it is wise to take preventive measures. If you use a crate in your car, make sure it is the wire type so that plenty of air can circulate and use as a cooler a plastic bottle that you have previously filled with water and put in the freezer overnight. Prepare plenty of ice-cooled towels (that you have soaked in water, rolled up and placed in the freezer overnight), ice-cubes, or sealable plastic containers filled with frozen water. They can be easily carried in cold containers or cool bags that you find on the market today.  At your canine product supplier you may also find those cloth collars filled with crystals that can be frozen that keep your dog cool. They stay cold for hours and can be easily placed around your Bulldog's neck, immediately reducing body temperature at a vital point, close to the brain. When using any type of ice collar, be sure the collar does not distress the dog further by being too tight aorund the neck or too bulky or too cold for too long a time. Based on the same principle are cooling mats that can be placed in the dog's crate or bed, keeping your dog cool for hours.

It is always a good idea to take a heatstroke victim to a vet, who will check him for shock, a dangerous condition that frequently follows severe heat stroke.
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