English Bulldogs are the gentlest and friendliest of dog breeds, although they do have their own brand of stubbornness at times; they are very loyal to their owners. Because of their temperament, they easily get along with other animals and make great pets for children. As a puppy, the English bulldog can be highly energetic; however this mellows as they grow older. Being a non-sporting dog, they do not like to exercise mostly due to their airway obstruction, making them pant and breathe harder than other dogs. This adorable dog breed, lie other short-faced dogs is quite prone to overheating and heat stroke which is one of their primary health concerns. Despite this, owners should still make sure that their dogs get enough exercise as they can be prone to being overweight which can cause other health concerns on their joints, heart and lungs.
English Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat, although they have their own cooling system like most dogs, panting which cools them is very difficult for short/stout faced dogs with an under bite, whether it is a puppy or fully grown English bulldogs. Breathing is very hard for this breed since they have small tracheas, some abnormally smaller than most. Because of their facial structure it is also very common for them to have clogged or pinched nasal passages, making breathing a labor. All these issues combined can make them overheat and experience hyperthermia, ten times faster than other dog breeds.
Symptoms of Overheating in English Bulldogs
Reading the signs of overheating can become easy if you know your English bulldog well enough to know that he is not acting normally. Watch out for signs of extreme lethargy, irregular breathing, vomiting and sometimes even convulsions can be signs of heatstroke for both adult and puppy bulldogs. Check his eyes and gums for signs of overheating. Look your pet straight in the eyes and try to get his attention to focus on you, or use a favorite toy to see if he has problems focusing his eyes. Check his gums for capillary response time (CRT) by pressing your fingers in his gums, release it and count how many seconds it takes for it to get back from white to pink, the normal rate is less than 2 seconds. Checking for CRT must be done with caution, especially if you have an irritable pet.
What to Do
If you fear that your pet is experiencing heatstroke or overheating, there are a few steps you can take while waiting to get to the vet. English Bulldogs don’t do well in hot or warm areas so move them immediately to a cool, possible air-conditioned room. Give him water, if it is a puppy, you may need to resort to bottle feeding. Get a wet towel and dab it on his nose and his entire body, or have him lie down on a cooling mattress or a bag of ice.
When it comes to overheating in English Bulldogs, prevention is better than cure. Do not leave them out in the sun too long, give them light to moderate exercise and keep them well hydrated at all times and you can guarantee that you’ll have one cool customer who will love you more than ever.