Spring is here and summer is right around the corner so I wanted to remind everyone about keeping a close eye on their bulldogs in the heat. I know some of our members are still shivering in the cold, but it won't be long before temperatures increase, creating a potentially dangerous environment for your bulldog!
We are all aware that bulldogs do not do well in the heat but I think few of us understand how quickly things can happen.
As many of you know, I lost my 6 year old bulldog, Bentley, last summer. Although we did not have an autopsy performed, his death was likely due to heat. It wasn't a terribly hot day in Arizona, only around 83 degrees, no humidity and my husband let Bentley out into the backyard. For reasons I will never know, Bentley never came back to the door as he had at least 10,000 times before. We found him laying in a pile of leaves on our patio. Roughly 40 minutes from the time he was let out, Bentley was pronounced dead at the emergency vet's office.
It was only 83 degrees. There was no humidity. There was plenty of shade. It was only about 20 minutes. He had gone out and come back in SO many times before - without any trouble. He was perfectly healthy. Then he was gone.
Please, please don't let it happen to you. I always considered myself a knowledgeable and responsible dog owner and fully understand the dangers heat pose to bulldogs but I did not know it could happen that quickly, with so little warning.
If you let your bulldog out in the summer, go out with them, watch them, go inside only when they are finished. If you are outside with your dog, bring water, bring a cool rag, make sure they stay in the shade. Do not walk your bulldog in the heat, they absorb heat through their pads. Do not let your bulldog sunbathe unattended, even for a short period of time.
Remember, if your bulldog does overheat, you MUST act quickly!
These are the signs to look for:
* Your bulldog will begin to "heave" as he pants
* He will begin to "roar" - best described as sounding like severe asthma
* He will begin to look tired and distressed
* His tongue will be very floppy and very red or purple in color
* His body temperature will rise
* His airway will swell and his throat become full of white foam (caused through the excessive panting)
* He will quickly become exhausted and will fighting for breath
* THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION!
If you notice your bulldog is getting too hot, here's what to do:
* Lower his body temperature: Always ensure that you have ice to hand during the summer months. Pour cold water over your dog, especially around his head, rub ice around his head and under his tail (around his rectum). If possible stand him in a cold bath and keep going with the ice until the breathing is less labored.
* Clear the airway: Squirt some lemon juice (from one of those plastic lemon shaped bottles) into the back of his throat, he will hate you for it, but the lemon juice will quickly break up the excess foam and clear the throat. Do not allow him to drink a lot of water as this can cause him to vomit.
* Keep him calm: Once you have reduced his panic keep him in a quiet place and keep a close eye on him.
* If this doesn’t work then you need to get to a vet as quickly as possible - put a cold damp towel under him for the journey
See the website Bulldogs and Heat Don't Mix
for more information.
Please don't let what happened to Bentley happen to your bully.