13 Tips for Walking Your Frenchie in the Winter - TomKings Blog

13 Tips for Walking Your Frenchie in the Winter

Snow, freezing temperatures and everything else that comes with winter may pose a real challenge for all dog owners. No matter the cold, Frenchies still need their daily exercise just like in any other season! If you’re worried about your fur baby’s safety, read our 13 tips for walking your Frenchie in the winter to keep strolls safe and fun even during the coldest months!

Before walking your Frenchie

1. Give a bit more food

When it comes to Frenchies and winter cold, one should keep in mind that dogs still have some of the basic life functions of their ancestors, the wolves. That means that they can prepare their bodies for seasonal changes and tolerate lower temperatures really well! Frenchies are surprisingly good with cold weather thanks to their stocky body. 

Franklin, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Franklin, French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies

Similarly to humans, dogs instinctively eat a bit more once it starts getting colder in the fall in order to develop a thicker layer of fat and undercoat which will protect them from the cold. That’s why you’ll notice that your Frenchie seems to have a greater appetite during colder months. So, slightly increasing their food portions is more than recommended!

2. Check the weather outside

We have just mentioned that Frenchies do really well in the cold, even when it’s below freezing. You should definitely need to be careful though with extreme cold and weather conditions like harsh winds or heavy snowfall: if your puppy gets wet that could easily lead to a cold. Always check your weather app before heading out in order not to get caught up in a storm! 

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It’s important to consider your Frenchie’s age as well when planning a winter stroll. Younger and older pups tolerate lower temperature much less than adult dogs, so with them you’ll need to be extra careful and take some other precautions about which we’ll talk in a bit.

3. Dress up your Frenchie but only when necessary

A convenient way to protect your Frenchie from the cold is to dress them up in a warm coat before going out. However, there’s no need to reach for a piece of clothing as soon as the temperatures drop a bit! Your Frenchie needs to get used to the winter weather so that their system adjusts to the cold more easily. As we have mentioned, they have their own way of getting some extra layers under their skin! If they are dressed up constantly, they will have difficulties adjusting and will be much more susceptible to developing a cold.

Custom TomKings Frenchie Hoodie - TomKings Shop
Check out the Custom TomKings Frenchie Hoodie in the TomKings Shop 🙂

We think there are two cases when wearing a doggie coat is necessary: in heavy snowfall (or rain) or when it’s really freezing outside, meaning under 25 °F (-4 °C). In our experience, the best coats are waterproof with a soft thermal fabric on the inside. It’s worth keeping an extra piece on hand as you’ll probably need to wash them often! Sweaters and hoodies are less suited for the outdoors as when those get wet they will cool down your Frenchie even more. 

Like we’ve said, puppies and senior Frenchies are more sensitive when it comes to cold, so they need some extra protection as soon as it gets under 40 °F (7 °C). The same goes for dogs with some kind of medical problem. So, dressing them in a warm coat or sweater (in dry weather) is certainly recommended.

4. Use some kind of reflective gear

Dean, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Dean, French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies

As days get shorter, chances are you’ll need to walk your Frenchie in the dark more often. If you are unable to schedule your puppy’s daily walk during daylight hours, you’ll want to consider using some kind of reflective gear to be more visible. Moving vehicles in frosty conditions are even more dangerous, so taking this safety precaution is absolutely necessary. There are various products on the market from reflective leashes and coats to LED collars, you may even combine these for an increased visibility.

During walking your Frenchie

5. Consider the length of walking times

Now that you have everything prepared for your winter stroll with your Frenchie, you may be wondering how long is it actually safe for them to stay outside. Well, that again depends on the two main factors we have mentioned already: the weather conditions and the age of your dog. If it’s not raining or snowing and it’s not freezing cold either, meaning down to around 25 °F (-4 °C), it’s perfectly safe for an adult Frenchie to spend time outdoors even for an hour. 

Stormi & Louis, from TomKings Puppies in the Minnesota snow 🙂

However, if wet weather is present you should definitely keep the walk shorter, for up to 30 minutes. In extremely cold weather as well as with younger or older pups that time should be further reduced to a maximum of 10 minutes, which is just enough for a quick bathroom break. Taking multiple shorter walks could be the best solution for your Frenchie in that case, equipped with a warm winter coat.

6. Watch your Frenchie and notice warning signs

The golden rule when walking your Frenchie is to always watch their body language, as there are some signs they will show when they feel too cold. If they are reluctant to go out or you notice shivering, stopping or moving slower, curling up to keep warm, lifting their paws or whining once you’re outside, that means they can’t tolerate the low temperatures any more so it’s time to head home. If there’s still a long way back you may even need to carry them!

7. Consider the route you’re taking

In the winter, it’s always a good idea to stick to safer routes when walking your Frenchie to avoid dangers that the dark or the icy roads may pose. So, cleared and well-lit sidewalks are always the best choice! If you’re planning a longer walk, you’ll want to keep your puppy out of deep snow to protect their sensitive belly from getting wet and chilled. Playing and jumping in the snow is definitely fun, but for shorter periods of time and close to your home.

Jeremy, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Jeremy, French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies

8. Avoid ice and salted areas as much as possible

We’ve just mentioned that you should always opt for cleared sidewalks and paths when walking your Frenchie, however, you should also try to avoid areas that are heavily salted. Ice-melting chemicals definitely make roads for humans safer, but are a source of potential danger for pets if they ingest it. Needless to say, slippery ice could also be hazardous, not only because it may cause injury if your Frenchie slips but it could also hide frozen ponds that can easily break. 

You may be wondering if you need to protect your Frenchie’s paws from the cold or the salt with doggie boots. In our experience, very few dogs tolerate these on their paws as they get irritated when they don’t make direct contact with the ground. Paws have a function to help them run and stop, but with the boots on they lose these senses. Dog paws are covered with a thick layer of fatty tissue and keratinized skin which protects them even on a frozen ground, so wearing boots is unnecessary really. Alternatively, you can apply some paw balm if you live in an area where sidewalks salted on a daily basis.

Blue brindle French bulldog - TomKings Puppies

9. Keep your Frenchie on tight leash

If you’re walking near heavily salted roads or icy areas, you should always secure your Frenchie close to you with a tight leash. That will give you a better control over them to avoid licking toxic salt or potentially slipping and getting injured. You should also keep your Frenchie and their tongue away from all kinds of metal objects in low temperatures!

 10. Don’t let your Frenchie eat snow

However cute and funny they might look, never encourage your Frenchie to eat snow. We’ve already mentioned that salt and all ice-melting chemicals can be toxic for dogs, and you never know if there’s any hiding in the snow. Consuming larger amounts of snow may also lower your Frenchie’s body temperature and cause hypothermia. Make sure that your puppy eats and drinks enough before going out, and bring some fresh water if you’re planning a longer walk.

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After walking your Frenchie

11. Wash your Frenchie’s paws

Once you’re back from your winter walk, the first thing you should always do is to wash your Frenchie’s paws with lukewarm water and dry them with a towel. This will make sure that there’s no damaging salt left on them that they could lick.

 12. Apply paw balm if necessary

If you live in an area where roads and sidewalks are salted regularly, you can not only apply some paw balm before walking your Frenchie, but afterwards too having washed and dried their paws first. That will prevent those sweet paws from drying out or even getting cracked.

13. Wrap your Frenchie in a cozy blanket

After you get home and you see that your puppy is still showing signs of being cold, you should wrap them up in a soft blanket or put a warm sweater on them to increase their body temperature a bit. If you have a TomKings Frenchie, our warm and stylish custom Frenchie hoodie will even look great on your pup!

French Bulldog - TomKings Puppies
Tom with the mommy and with her puppies 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about Frenchies, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences!

The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.

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