Summer temperatures can be fatal! PETA has issued a warning to keep your pets at home in hot weather, instead of leaving them in overheated cars. Even actor Jeremy Renner lost his Frenchie as a puppy of heat stroke.
Smush-faced dogs face breathing problems in the best of times. For any dog, their coat means they become 10-15 degrees warmer than humans. Hot sidewalks can also mean burns on paws, thus why we see booties on some dogs in cities all year long.
The first time I ordered a cooling jacket was six years ago. Elle was six months old. A black and white Frenchie, her dark coat and puppy status made me seek out relief for her. The coat was enormous and ill-fitting. People were extremely vocal in their disapproval in our small tree-lined Brooklyn neighborhood. I wound up keeping her in air-conditioning, feeding her ice, and giving her cold baths as well as iced treats.
Progress has been made in cooling jackets, with the growth of urban dog-ownership. Cooling jackets are no longer seen as only applying to large dogs on camping adventures. Last summer I was able to get her the best-fitting cooling jacket, complete with straps to go over her hind legs. Made by Aqua Cool Company (UK only; find one in USA here), the jacket even has a Frenchie on the cover of the case. It is full of gel packs. All one does is run it under water for a few minutes, and it stays cools for six to eight hours. That is the difference between carrying your panting dog to and fro and getting some human mental peace. It covers all the vital organs, keeping Elle cool. Although for me, this product didn’t keep well over time. When I pulled it out this summer, the gel packs had broken up and shrunk. Another Frenchie owner who had the same one told me she soaked it for 48 hours. Bottom line: it works but be prepared it may only last at full strength for one season. I would buy it again.
Another option is @gastonlefrenchie’s favorite Ruffwear Jetstream Vest. This bright orange and grey vest has been giving him new life so he can still go on adventures with his parents. This vest is snug and lasts for an hour before having to be rewetted. That length of time suits most dogs since you wouldn’t want them to be exposed to extreme summer heats for long periods of time.
Bandanas and cooling mats can also help. When London was suffering a heatwave, I folded the cooling mat in half and put it in the bottom of Elle’s carrier bag. Unfortunately it made it very heavy for me, so it wasn’t an on-going solution.
If you are living in less extreme heat, a bandana will provide heat relief while dogs are active. @munchikindotcom has some very nice designs. Traditionally there are not many color and design options when it comes to vests, so it’s a bonus to find a company with the modern dog-owner in mind.
Stay safe. Remember dogs suffer the heat more than you do, so if it’s too hot for you—it is definitely too hot for them.
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