During hot weather make sure you follow these simple rules - it could save your bulldog's life. Because this country doesn’t see an awful lot of extremely hot weather, our bulldogs are not accustomed to it. If it looks like the day is going to be very hot keep your bulldog inside:
Don’t take your dog outside during the day. Shut him in a room with a cool floor and draw the curtains to keep the sunlight out, if you do this early enough it will prevent the room from becoming warm as the sun comes into the room. Have an electric fan running in the room to keep the air circulating and make sure there is fresh water available at all times, put a dribble of apple cider vinegar in the water, it will help keep the phlegm levels down.
If he needs to go outside on very hot days go with him, don't let him lie out in the sun and bring him straight back in again when he's been to the toilet. Spray him with cold water if necessary to keep his skin cool.
If you are not home don’t let him have free access to the garden, he will sun bathe and you will not be there to see when he's been out for too long.
Don’t walk your dog in very hot weather, it can still be very hot at 8 or 9pm so wait until it's very late or walk very early in the morning - remember that tarmac also takes a while to cool off and even after the sun has gone down the roads can be very hot still.
Don’t force an overheating dog to drink water, offer water, but if refused don't force the issue. HE WILL DRINK IF HE WANTS TO - the worst thing you can do is force him to drink, he could vomit and choke. You can make some ice cubes with glucose powder in the water to feed to him so he takes in fluid without guzzling too much water at once.
Make sure you have in your cupboard a squeezy jiff lemon, use this first if your dog is overheating, squirt it into the back of the dog’s throat - it will break up the foam/phlegm in the throat.
Listen to your dog, panting is fine and is completely normal, this is the only way your dog can lose body heat, but listen for a roar - best described as sounding like an asthma attack. If your dog starts to roar IMMEDIATELY stand him in cold water, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet and standing him in cold water has the same effect as putting a cold flannel on your head when you are hot.
Stress can also cause a bulldog to become overheated, dogs that don’t like travelling can become overheated very quickly so be aware that it doesn’t necessary have to be hot for your bulldog to go into heat distress.
If your bulldog is already overheating see First Aid (page 81 of the BULLDOG BIBLE)
If your bulldog is overheating it is imperative that you act quickly. Initially stand him in a bath of cold water and pour water over his head, especially around his neck, you need to cool the blood going to the brain as in severe cases of overheating there is a risk of brain damage from hot blood going to the brain. (Don't turn the hose pipe on him, it may panic him and make him worse).
Place ice under his tail (just inside his bottom if you can), keep pouring cold water over him and keep calm, if you panic your dog will panic.
Your dog will go very pale as the circulation system struggles to cope.
Keep going with the water - don't take him out of the bath until the breathing has calmed down, talk calmly to your dog - you will be soaked, your bathroom will be soaked, but you will save his life!!!!!!!!!
Once the breathing is calmer, remove him from the bath but don't dry him, he will still be very pale (inside mouth, gums and inner eyes).
Let him wander but don't make a fuss of him, your fussing may make him anxious and it could start over again. Still don't force him to drink, but make up a rehydration mix and place it in a bowl for him to drink from if he wants to. You can make up your own rehydration mix:
This mixture will keep in the fridge for 24 hours, or make into ice cubes to use as needed.
If you cannot calm the dog in the bath go straight to the nearest vet!!!! Soak a towel in cold water and lay the dog on top of it for the journey, take packets of frozen veggies and lay them on the back of his neck and on each side of his body. Do not allow the vet to place him in an oxygen tent, these tend to bring on panic that worsens the situation, instead ask them to continue working to bring the body temperature down.
If you have air conditioning in the car blast it full cold at the dog, this cool air will help start the cooling process. Remember if you have air conditioning you must keep your car windows shut.
If you are away from home: Find a river, pond, cow trough or knock a door, 7UP will do the same as the lemon juice in an emergency. Get in the river with your dog if necessary (many bulldogs cannot swim) but don't take him out until the breathing is calmer, unless he is obviously passing out in which case risk a speeding ticket and get to the nearest vet.