Hiking With Your Frenchie

Hiking With Your Frenchie

Most Frenchie owners would be hesitant to take their bulldog on a hike. Frenchies have breathing issues, hard time regulating body temperatures and can suffer a heat stroke easily. We are bringing you the best tips to make hikes safer. Hikes with your dog can be an incredible experience for both of you.

Benefits of hiking with your French Bulldog

  • Bonding - Hiking provides quality time between you and your French Bulldog.
  • Alpha - During a hike your Frenchie will be looking often for your guidance on where to go next. This strengthen the way your dog will view you and perceive you as the Alpha.
  • Ideal weight - Hiking is beneficial in maintaining ideal body weight for you and your pup in a natural and fun way.
Benefits of hiking with your French Bulldog

Leader of the Pack | Cesar 911

Reduce aggression - Hiking in the great outdoors can help reduce dominance and aggression. See how Cesar helps an aggressive Boston Terrier dog mom lead a mass pack walk in the great outdoors.

Can a brachycephalic breed go hiking?

Yes, generally they can with the following exceptions:

  • Age - a frenchie puppy will have a harder time hiking than a full grown Frenchie dog.
  • Health - a Frenchie with a known medical condition such as diabetes, heart murmur, seizure history may not be suited for hiking. Please ask your vet prior to taking your dog.
  • Physical condition - a French Bulldog that has back, knee, or hip problems may not be suited for hiking. Please confirm with your vet whether your dog is able to go.
  • BOAS -  Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome can be mild or severe and affects those with shorter snouts such as mastiffs, bulldogs, pugs etc. In severe BOAS cases the vet will strongly discourage any hiking with your dog and encourage surgery to correct the issue.

How to physically prepare your Frenchie for trail hiking?

Slowly add minutes to your daily walks for several weeks. Add 3 minutes daily which will add up to 21 minutes weekly. By the end of the third week your Frenchie should be able to walk around an hour.

You can continue to walk an hour a day for a few days or a few weeks until you feel comfortable and confident your dog can handle a short trail. Remember to add food and water to your Frenchie's daily intake since he/she will be more active.

Lean muscular fit Frenchie

How to know your Frenchie's hiking limit?

Many dogs will keep going whether they are exhausted or not. It is normal for all dogs to pant and breath heavier during a hike, However, there are warning signs your dog may have pushed over their own limit:

  • Excessive panting - accompanied by heavy breathing or wheezing means your dog had enough. If drooling is not present your Frenchie might be dehydrated.
  • Ears all the way back -with enlarged eyes and hard time breathing, distressed look.
  • Walking differently - walking slower, getting wobbly or limping. Showing any lameness might be a clear indication your dog is strained.
  • Foaming from the mouth -indication that a heat stoke is imminent. Immediately find a shade cool off your dog with water. Squeeze lemon in the windpipe if saliva is like a meringue egg whites or stiff mousse. To avoid suffocation the lathery saliva froth can be melted by the acidity of the lemon juice.

It is important to mention that every dog is different so you should get you know your own dog’s warning signs.

What is the ideal hiking place for a Frenchie?

The ideal hiking trail will have lots of trees, shade and possibly water streams. Avoid trails that are desert like with little to no shade and unbearable heat.

It is best to find a trail that is pet friendly and also will be Frenchie breed friendly as mentioned above.

merle frenchies dogs hiking wooded trail forest backpacking frenchiestore tips

Wooded, forest like hiking is the best for Frenchies.

What to do with your Frenchies' poop when hiking?

We talk about everything here even when it comes to number two. Take your Frenchie potty time prior to the hike to minimize the chances of it happening along the trails.

If it does happen during the hike be prepared and bring a freezer Ziplock bag. Seal the poo bag inside and strap that bag to the outside of your backpack. Always clean after your dog and be consciences about others and our environment.

What to bring when hiking with your French Bulldog?

  • Water
  • Lemon - as discussed above for emergency.
  • First aid kit for you and your pup.
  • Poop bags and ziplock bags as mentioned prior.
  • Pet Harness - with breakaway buckles are a must to prevent the dog from getting caught on tree branches or anything along the trail. Also to prevent any injuries if/ when meeting other dogs during a hike that might be aggressive. Tip: Always carry with you sour apple spray for dogs as well.
  • Cooling off bandana - to help regulate your Frenchie's temperature. place when wet under the harness on your dog's chest and neck.
  • Dog tag ID - make sure your dog has proper identification.
  • Dog shoes - because the hot ground or debris can hurt your dogs paws.
  • Dog carrier - in case your dog needs to be carried for the rest of the hike.
  • Umbrella - in case you need artificial shade.
  • Hand portable fan - in case your dog gets overheated. Use the cooling bandana and a hand held portable fan for a slight effect of air conditioning.
  • Snacks - cooling snacks preferred. Details below.

Merle Frenchie wearing Frenchiestore cooling bandana and health harness

Merle Frenchie wearing Frenchiestore cooling bandana and health harness

Cooling snacks for your French Bulldog:

You can carry snacks in a cooler that will hydrate you and your pup during your hike. Ice cubes are always highly recommended to bring in your cooler.

Not only the ice cubes will keep your actual snacks frozen it will also be a great addition to your water or just to chew on.

Dog safe ice cream 3 ways - Let's go bananas!

You can replace the bananas with almost any other fruit, this is just an illustration of the different methods of making quick and easy dog ice cream snack.

    For the au natural pet parent - Frozen bites of fruit is a pawfect snack for you and your dog. You can freeze bananas, blueberries, mango pineapple and much more. Make sure to cut them into small bite size.

    Keep in mind certain fruits are higher in sugar such as bananas and apples and be mindful of the amount given to your dog.

    bannanas frozen as a dog treats frenchie bulldog frenchiestore

    For the pet parent that wants to take the extra step -Cut the fruit to small bite sizes spread peanut butter or nonfat yogurt in between pieces and freeze.

    ice cream safe for dogs great for summer bananas frozen

    For the fancier pet parent - in a food processor mix 2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt, 1 cup creamy peanut butter and 2 whole ripe bananas. Freeze in a popsicle mold.

    Pro tip - you can use a dog treat stick instead of the popsicle mold to have a zero waste on the go snack.

    frozen banana dog safe ice cream

    Other frozen treats your pet will adore:

    • Frozen broth cubes
    • Frozen Tuna
    • Frozen baby food
    • Frozen cheese or anything else that freezes well and dog safe.

    Only give your dog foods that your Frenchie is familiar with and that never had any allergic reaction to.  Always consult with your vet if you are unsure about certain foods.

    We hope with the above tips you are able to enjoy quality time together with your Frenchie, bond and build a strong relationship. We hope you stay cool and safe especially during the summer months. As always let us know if you have a suggestion, tip or a question below.

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