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The Most Common Health Problems in Frenchies

With their playful and cuddly disposition, the French Bulldog is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular small dog breeds. If you’ve ever owned a Frenchie, you know why! They are affectionate, cute little dogs with plenty of funny quirks, adaptable to most environments, and get along well with other animals and children. They also don’t need as many walks as bigger dogs!

However, Frenchies, as a breed, have a lot of health problems. Most French Bulldogs will suffer from one or more of the most common health problems associated with the breed. These health problems usually emerge as early as 2 or 3 years and can lead to unexpected veterinary expenses. As well as significantly impact a pet’s quality of life.

Are French Bulldogs the Right Breed for Me?

French Bulldog puppy health needs

As the breed grows in popularity, it’s worth knowing what these problems are and how common they are – whether you are looking into buying a French Bulldog or have already adopted one into your home.

Before you bring Frenchie dogs into your home, you should know that these health problems are purely caused by their genetic makeup. Unfortunately, humans have bred them to have more ‘desirable’ features like smaller snouts and ears. That’s right – the most lovable features of Frenchies are also the cause of their chronic health problems.

French Bulldog Lifespan

A healthy Frenchie dog can live 10 to 14 years. There are several factors that impact your dog’s lifespan. Breeding, genetics, lifestyle, and overall health all affect how long a French Bulldog with live.

Most Common French Bulldog Health Problems

To summarize, 72.4% of French Bulldogs studied had at least one of the health issues listed below. These include skin problems (17.9%), ear infections (14%), diarrhea (7.5%), and conjunctivitis (3.2%). These figures are taken from the study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (the UK, 2018), which examined 2,228 French Bulldogs.

1. Ear Infections

French Bulldogs have very narrow ear canals and very large and open ears. For this reason, Frenchies are very vulnerable to ear infections. The breed’s large and upright ears make it easy for debris and bacteria to find their way into the ear. This, along with a susceptibility to allergies, can cause ear infections. Ear glands swell up to resist infections and produce more wax than usual. This leads to an overproduction of ear tissue, making the canal narrower and inflamed. In severe cases, the eardrum can rupture, causing your puppy a lot of pain!

Look out for excessive ear scratching and redness inside the ear as warnings of this problem.

2. Diarrhea

Captain Chaplain Frenchie Wheelchair

Stomach upsets are very common in Frenchies, so monitoring their diet is necessary. Consistent bouts of diarrhea can be caused by parasites, viruses, or E. coli, all of which French Bulldogs are very sensitive to.

Take note of their stools if they are wet, runny, or tarry, smell foul, or if you see blood in the stools. These are all signs of a severe digestion problem. Other tell-tale signs are your dog losing weight, losing its appetite, vomiting, or having a fever.

3. Conjunctivitis

Again, due to the genetic makeup of French Bulldogs, they are at a high risk of suffering from conjunctivitis. This is because they are a short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed. It’s usually caused by bacterial and viral infections or allergic reactions to substances. Watch out for your Frenchie having pink or red eyes if they start blinking more than usual or have mucus, pus, or discharge leaking from their eyes.

4. Skin Problems – Skin Fold Dermatitis

Due to French Bulldogs folded facial skin around their muzzle and nose, this can lead to dermatitis. It can also occur in other areas of their bodies that are folded, like armpits, necks, and crotches. Signs of this problem include itching, biting, and scratching of the area and redness and sores on the affected skin. Keeping skin folds dry and clean can prevent dermatitis from occurring.

5. Skin Problems – Pyoderma (bacterial skin infection)

Another common skin problem is bacterial skin infections. This occurs when your dog has a cut or scratch that becomes infected. Again, look out for itching, red skin, pus, and hair loss around the cut. It’s another health problem that comes from having skin folds.

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French Bulldog wheelchair
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6. Breathing Problems – URT Infection

As a short-nosed breed, French Bulldogs are very at-risk of upper respiratory tract infections. These will usually happen to every bulldog at least once in their lives and are infectious, so they will occur if your dog spends more time with other canines. URT symptoms are similar to a human cold: nasal congestion, coughing, and lethargy.

7. Breathing Problems – Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Sadly, many French Bulldogs are also at a high risk of BOAS due to their flat faces and short snouts. The short structure of the French Bulldog’s face also means a shorter airway in the nose and throat too.

This can lead to shortness of breath, trouble breathing, sleeping difficulties, and heat intolerance. You’ll notice this problem occurring during exercise and in warmer temperatures.

8. Mobility Issues in French Bulldogs

As French Bulldogs increase in popularity, their risk for mobility problems increases. Frenchies can develop a range of mobility conditions, from congenital disorders to injuries and degenerative diseases. Many of which can impact a Frenchie’s ability to walk or stand on it’s own.

Conditions such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas can be caused by genetics or caused by old injuries. French Bulldogs are prone to back, spine, and neck issues that can cause paralysis and hind leg weakness. Other conditions affecting Frenchies include IVDD, spinal disc issues, and Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common cause of French Bulldog paralysis. Frenchies with IVDD may experience sudden paralysis and cannot stand or walk with their back legs. If your French Bulldog loses the ability to walk, is in pain, or shows signs of paralysis, they need to see their veterinarian immediately.

For French Bulldogs with mobility issues, using fortetropin, a natural ingredient, can help to build and maintain strong muscles, which can help provide better support for aching hip, knee, or vertebral spine joints. By providing good muscular support to these important joints it can help to maintain better mobility and quality of life for our Frenchies.” Dr. Albert Ahn, Veterinary Advisor MYOS Pet.

French Bulldog Wheelchairs

With the breed’s tendency towards paralysis and mobility problems, a French Bulldog wheelchair can extend a dog’s life and help them maintain an active lifestyle. The Walkin’ Wheels is the perfect wheelchair for a French Bulldog. Due to their short stature, most Frenchie’s will fit in a small wheelchair. As a rule, the small Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair fits dogs weighing up to 25 lbs.; however, it will also fit (and safely support) a larger French Bulldog. Frenchie dogs weighing over 35 lbs. may need a Medium frame Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair.

Benefits of a French Bulldog Wheelchair

  • Provide balanced support in the hind legs, ideal for paralyzed Frenchies or those with weak rear legs
  • Reduce weight on aching joints, especially hips and knees
  • Incorporate the wheelchair into rehabilitation therapy to help rebuild strength
  • Prevent atrophy and loss of muscle tone
  • Dog wheelchairs promote activity and help your French Bulldog exercise
  • Help dogs to get outside to pee and poop

A French Bulldog wheelchair is a great way to help your pup stay active. Whether your Frenchie is losing strength in its back legs or has become paralyzed, a dog wheelchair gives it the freedom (and support) it needs to keep running and playing!

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Guest Author:
Beatrix Potter

Beatrix works as a dog expert and proof-reader at writing services. Beatrix is a proud owner of French bulldog named Ponch.

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