5 Frenchie Mom Summer Tips + Must Haves
Updated: Jun 28, 2021
Hi there everyone! It's Ella here. This article is going to be written by my momma, since she's good with the serious stuff, so I'm turning this over to her today. She will also be posting this on her blog!
It's that time of year again - BBQ's, ice cream, poolside fun has commenced! And on the other side, it's sweltering outside, no amount of A/C is cutting it, and you're feeling...well, ready to melt, and your frenchie isn't having it either. Unfortunately, this is a scenario most Frenchie parents know all too well, and being how easily they overheat (and for any pups, tbh, if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them, so please be very mindful of that and be careful in the high temps!), my main concern and priority is keeping Ella safe and happy in the summer - and still being able to let her enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Ella and I do a lot of hiking and outdoor adventures in all weather (within the safe temps for her, of course!) so she loves to be outside and spent as much time as she can out with me.
In the 5 years since I brought her home, I've literally worried over, researched and scoured the internet for every aspect of this topic (and, okay, every topic related to her) and products to help me keep her safe. Think cooling vests, gear, hats, mats, bug repellent, best ways to transport water...you name it, I've googled it. Thankfully, what was once a fairly empty category has expanded in the last five years and there are SO many better (and safe!) options now that I feel okay using for her. There are also so many terrific tips I've learned from the legitimately amazing dog moms I've gotten to know (if you're reading this, you know who you are!) so below, I've compiled the best (and most helpful!) ones. Ready? Here goes!
(side note: nothing will stop me from worrying about her overheating, and you can never be too careful! But these things do put my mind at ease and make it easier! Please note that none of this is medical advice, either, so of course check with your vet before making any changes or if you feel like something is off!).
1. Know your dog
I can't stress this enough. Watch your pup carefully, and learn their warning signs. There are general cues to keep an eye out for most of all and this guide is an amazing resource for all of the more commonly known things on summer safety, but every dog also has specific 'things' that change as their temperature does. For instance, Ella's eyes get somewhat red, both inside, and around her eyelids, and the veins in her ears start to show as she gets warmer. I always know those mean I need to get her inside and to a cooler location. Also - I know this is a weird one, but - I keep an infared thermometer at home for Ella and use at on her gums if I get concerned. It may not be 100% accurate, but I know what her usual temp registers at, so if there's a noticeable change it's still helpful for gaging if there's something off!
2. Provide safe, fun alternatives
On days when we can't go for a walk, setting up a shallow pool or a sprinkler has been a huge go for us! She loves the pool most of all, and I fill it up just enough to reach her belly area. We love this pool, and this sprinkler from Outward Hound is definitely Ella's top pick! Side note: If you have Frenchies, please watch them extra carefully around water! They are top heavy and cannot swim without a life vest. I keep the water in the pool low enough that no matter what Ella does, she wouldn't have any ability to be under the water for any period of time. You can't be too careful!
Another fun idea - putting up a tent or umbrella is never a bad idea for some extra shade, and Ella loves to run in and out of a tent if it's outside. The tents and teepees from P.L.A.Y are our favorites ever, and they're literally dog-sized.
3. Walk them at dawn/dusk
Most of the time (ironically, not today!), it gets cooler in the summer at early morning time/dusk, so save your longer walks for those hours! Ella and I love to hang outside after about 7PM since it's usually much more pleasant. Even if we're just chilling in the grass, it's a lot cooler.
4. Keep them cool, but not too cold (!)
Something I never knew until I got Ella and spoke with SO many other frenchie moms was that if you need to cool your dog down quickly even if it's an emergency, ice is not the way to go. It is actually too cold and submerging them in ice or cold water can literally shock their system and be deadly. So scary! If they are too hot, give them cool, not cold water, put it on their neck, back and chest and get them to a cooler location until you can get them (as quickly as possible) to a vet.
5. Office Fans, office fans, office fans!
This isn't so much a tip per say as just one of those funny things, and I don't know exactly why, but Ella has been obsessed with office fans for the longest time! Ours is her 'friend' when I feel like the AC isn't doing it for her and even when it is, she still loves to hang in front of it and feel the cold air blowing. It works though - so well that I always put it on for her when we come in from outside! 10/10 - she would definitely recommend.
Even with all of these, there are going to still be a lot of days that its probably...just too, too hot! On those, I'd probably stay inside and will be keeping Ella with me! Now, for the products we love:
Bark Industry Cooling Vest
This vest was actually a recent purchase and we love it/use it so much we ended up working with the company (side note, I just have to say - they are the nicest people and I am so thrilled that Ella gets to be a part of their amazing brand! She has a code, too - ELLA10!)! There is a huge reason that they sell out so quickly - it is so efficient, easy to use and works like a charm for keeping her from getting too worked up if we're walking outside over 70F or even on hot days when she's just hanging on the patio with me. I also love that it doubles as a harness so I don't have to layer her in gear and make her even warmer, and it fits her snug as a bug (she's a size S). Plus, the tie dye print...it doesn't really get any cuter!
Frenchie Bulldog Cooling Bandanas
If you know Ella at all, you know how much we love Frenchie (legit the only harnesses we trust - and Ella has a code for them too! Ella10), and we use these almost as much for even being inside on hot days! They're great for just throwing on, easy to clean and they come in almost all of the adorable designs that FB releases. Pro tip: wet them and pop them in the freezer for a minute for extra long cooling time ;). Or one of the bandanas on while sitting in front of a fan works wonders too! I keep one in my purse for her no matter where we go.
Also as an aside, both the reversible harnesses from FB & the strap ones are amazing for summer because they're MUCH more breathable than other designs out there. E stays so much more comfortable in the mesh/neoprene combo than any we used to have!
Gnocci and Goma cooling snoods
While they aren't quite as practical as the bandanas and the vest, we also use these snoods from G&G and they are really awesome for long trips and such. They are made with safe gel ice packs on the inside, so once cold they will stay for hours. The only con is Ella isn't as crazy about the somewhat heavier design as the bandanas, per say, but as everything else from the brand, they are high quality, easy to use and super cute with their prints!
*Not as highly recommended - cooling mats*
While I love the idea of the cooling mats, safety is my biggest thing with Ella and I'm not a huge fan of them in practice (again, just our experience). Like I had said above, most of the mats (not saying all, but a lot of them) are made with gel or gel based beads, and a good majority of the beads themselves are easily swallowed if chewed and not non toxic. I'm grateful Ella is not a huge chewer, but even so I didn't feel that the benefits outweighed the risks. Plus, the ones we've found seem to defrost easily and feel wet and soggy as they do so, and Ella hates laying on anything damp, so that wasn't my first choice!
Got any cooling tips or gear that you'd love to share? feel free to leave it in the comments below or DM me on Insta!