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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our Bulldog George is 9 months old. Our vet has stressed to us that it is imperative to prevent him from becoming overheated, and to treat him promptly if it does occur. He is not a terribly athletic dog, so we usually go for short walks (20 minutes or so) and have brief play sessions in the house and back yard. Since we live in the upper Midwest, hot weather has not been an issue we've had to deal with yet.

I figured that if we felt the weather was hot for us, it was probably too hot for him. But last week, spring temperatures arrived. We went for our 20 minute walk when it was about 70-75 degrees and George seemed to do fine, but after we got home he panted for over an hour. He didn't seem to be in any other distress, just kept panting.

Does this mean that our short walk was too much for him? What are the early signs that he is overheating?
 

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My mother in law used to breed english bulldogs. Yes 20 mins is a lot! Her bulldog gets maybe 15 mins max of playing with my malamute maggie. He can't handle any more than that!
 

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No experience with bulldogs, but my oldest dog does not tolerate walks or heat as well as she used to. I began taking her on shorter walks more frequently (no more than 5-10 minutes) and only when the weather was cool. When we return I apply a cool wet rag to key areas on her body, (under arms, inside legs and the back of her neck as well as her paws). They also have those cooling collars for dogs now.

There are also some eastern holistic theories on cooling foods, such as eating fish, lowering grains, like corn, to reduce overheating. No science to back it up, but it's an interesting avenue to pursue as you go into the summer months. I know some owners who's dogs have EIC and some of them find cooling foods helpful. (just be careful to make sure the "cooling foods" are safe for dogs, if you do choose to try it out).
 

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Also don't go running with an english bulldog. My sis in laws stupid ex husband did and the bulldog died over night.
My bulldogs go running all the time, and they are all still alive. Heck my puppy would chase birds all day long if I would let her, but my weim girl plays too rough with her when they are outside. It's a stereotype that bulldogs can't run, jump, play, and have fun like a "normal" dog, bulldogs are dogs too.
 

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Sorry if this doesn't seem clear to you. I didn't say anything about them not playing and running around. Hey I have seen some at dog parks. Buddy runs all the time with maggie and plays. I am talking about going on a run with an english bulldog. That is just silly. Mostly in 80 degrees at 7 miles! I take maggie on runs, I know she can make it because she is conditioned to, but I will never take an EB, just because of the overheating factor.

To OP: I would make sure there is plenty of water. We tend to keep a kiddy pool outside for the dogs to dip in. Buddy tends to want to stay away from the heat. My weirdo malamute will sunbathe. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I don't think I could probably run 7 miles in 80 degree weather! So no worries about that. :)

George definitely does bounce around the backyard playing, and enjoys wrestling with our other dog. The kiddie pool suggestion sounds fun - maybe we will try that this summer and see if he likes it. My main concern was how I know when he's reaching the limit of how much exercise he can tolerate. I think he would probably keep trying to keep up with us until he dropped, so I just want to make sure I don't push him too far.
 

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if you are worried about overheating your EB learn to take his temp. With EBs some can have elonganated soft palates which can cause more stress and overheating on a EB. Also they can have stenotic nares and this will also cause an overheating problem to your breed of dog. I would have your vet check and clear your dog from either one of these conditions. One more side note, keep him trim. By doing so will help your dog from getting overheated.
 

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I'd like to repeat that in simpler terms:
All dogs cool off by panting. Most dogs are good athletes, and they don't get tired when they exercise as much as they get too hot. Imagine if you were in humid, 110 degree weather (Texas Spring :) )and you started jogging. After a mile, you might feel a little tired and stop. Then, the overheating would catch up to you and you'd realize that you need an iced tea, a cool shower, and some a/c :) ... And, after about 30 min., you'd finally cool off.

That's what an average dog goes through when the temperature starts going above 60 degrees. My Lab seems to be able to run forever when there's snow on the ground, but he's ready for a nap after 30 min. of running when the temperature is above 50- 60. After 30 min. of panting with water in a cool house, he seems to cool off.

A bulldog has a push-in nose and his panting isn't very efficient for cooling off. But like any youngster, he'll run around before he gets hot. By the time he starts to feel hot, he's already overheated, and what may take a Lab 30 min. of panting to cool off, could take an hour for a bulldog. Because his cooling methods aren't good, he can overheat much faster that many other dogs ... so you have to condition him, keep him lean, and watch him carefully to keep his activity below overheating threshold. And, you'll have to watch to see what his threshold is. - Too much info ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I understand why Bulldogs have a lower tolerance for heat than most other dogs. My question is really, how do I know when he's reaching his "threshhold"? What are the signs I should look for that he has had enough exercise? When he is just panting a bit, when he is panting heavily, when he starts to slow down like he is getting tired? Maybe I am overthinking it, but I just don't want to learn where his limit is by experiencing him getting dangerously overheated.
 

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You'll need to build him up slowly and take your walks in the cooler periods of the day (Morning before 9:00 and evening after 6:pm) keep water with you and make sure you have rubbing alcohol on hand to pour on his belly and paws just in case he does overheat. If that's your boy in your avatar he doesn't seem to have as short of a nose as many so he should adjust to the warmer weather soon if your careful with conditioning him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the tips! The dog in my avatar is my other dog (as a puppy) who is a mixed breed. George (the bulldog) has a pretty short nose.
 

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You can't tell when he has gone too far - by the time he shows those behaviors, he's gone too far, and will need much more time to cool him down. You'll have to experiment with general amount of exercise.

However... I have a Lab - a very different situation, and this is what I tell people in Texas in 110 degree weather to consider:
Panting: 3 possible tongue shapes - concave (normal), flat and wide (hot), convex (dangerous - stop and cool the dog immediately).
Tail: Up is OK, not up is getting hot, drooping - time to end the exercise, when drooping begins, but not urgent yet.

I have never seen a convex tongue, because I'm getting overheated before that happens... And, I usually time our exercise so that my dog's tail starts to droop during the last 5 - 10 minutes.

I don't think you can use these same signals with a Bulldog.
 

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If you have access to a pool like in your yard or a small lake or pond you can bring them there for a swim. I would suggest a doggie life jacket to help him stay afloat. Not sure if bulldogs are good swimmers. You can also jump right on it and swim next to your dog also when the weather is hot.
 

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We are new bully parents (adopted a 1.5 year old from a rescue) and are also trying to figure out the exercise and what is too much. We have bought Boris a pet cooling mat which he lays on when we return from our walks. Found it on Amazon. We also walk with ice water. The morning walk is 20-30 minutes but we do enjoy walking longer in the evening. So how do you figure out when he's had too much. Tried to bring a wagon for him to sit in when he gets tired but he's afraid of it. We would love to walk for 30-40 minutes in the evening (and only if its cool enough). Also bought him a life jacket because he do enjoy going to the water and want to make sure he's safe.
 

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Also don't go running with an english bulldog. My sis in laws stupid ex husband did and the bulldog died over night.
My bully runs all the time... theres videos shared here actually of him running around at the dog park. We usually spend about 1-2 hours there every few days.

As long as the dog knows it's own boundaries it isn't bad to let them run. Just make sure to bring water with you EVERYWHERE and if the dog gets slow and looks like it needs a break - let it have one. You can even pour the water down the dogs back to help it cool off since bullys don't cool off in the same way as dogs with snouts. Panting excessively can also cause irritation in their throat make it even HARDER for them to breath.. So yes, keeping your bulldog cool is HUGE.
I find that if Toby has been panting for a while after a walk, a quick splash in the tub (if he won't drink) seems to get him feeling better quickly.
 

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I've got a Boston, so I can help you with signs. Basically, watch his color - if he starts turning red (tongue, gums, lips), get him inside and cooled off. Excessive drooling. Vomiting, diarrhea, obviously collapse or seizure. My rule with my girl is that if I see her going from pink to red, we're done and it's time for a break. How much she's good with varies based on temperature and humidity, but if she starts turning colors, it's over.
 

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There is one that I see a lot at the dog park. He is beautiful, good show line dog. His owners have one of those ice coats things, and they also hose his chest, back, and belly frequently. He has a blast, running with the other dogs.

I would love to own one some day, my JRT breeder just got one, and I'm supper jelly!
 
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