French bulldogs were the second most popular dog in 2021 and if you have your own Frenchie, you definitely know why! They are smart, sweet, low energy, and the perfect companion for people of any age whether you live in a tiny apartment or a large suburban home.
However, despite their popularity, they do have some health challenges that you should be aware of. If you have a new French bulldog puppy, make sure you understand specific French bulldog traits and be aware of any situations when you should call your vet.
Read on for more.
1. Your Frenchie Is Having Difficulty Walking
If you notice them having difficulty walking, crying in pain, not wanting to jump, and not eating or drinking, they may have intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. IVDD is very common in French Bulldogs and occurs when they have a slipped disc in the neck or back.
When their discs slip, they hit their spinal cord, causing bruising and swelling. If left untreated, IVDD can cause myelomalacia, which is a chain reaction of damage to a dog’s spinal cord, tail, and front legs. French bulldogs are more likely than other breeds to develop, myelomalacia, so if you notice your Frenchie having any sort of difficulty walking or doing other things, you should seek vet care quickly.
2. Their Ears Are Red and Itchy
Although their ears are large and not folded over, the ear canals on French bulldogs are narrow. This means that ear infections are more common. You might notice them itching their ears constantly or see redness or liquid oozing from them. These are all signs of ear inflammation, also called otitis externa.
If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet. Ear infections are easily treatable, but they should not be ignored. Regular cleaning and preventive actions can help minimize the negative impacts of ear infections.
3. They Have Eye Issues
Frenchies are prone to eye issues, such as conjunctivitis (or pinkeye), distichiasis, and entropion.
Distichiasis is caused by extra hairs growing inside your dog’s eyelid. These hairs rub the surface of the eye, causing corneal ulcers and eye pain. Luckily, the prognosis is good once this is treated and the hairs causing issues can be permanently removed.
Entropion occurs with the eyelids roll inward, which causes the dog’s eyelashes to rub against the cornea. Frenchies are at a higher risk for this condition and if left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Finally, Frenchies are more at risk of eye injuries because their eyes protrude. If you notice any eye issues with your Frenchie, make a vet appointment before any of the conditions get worse.
4. They Have Stomach Issues
French bulldogs are genetically predisposed to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD impacts a dog’s ability to absorb nutrients because it thickens the intestinal lining. When the intestinal lining is overrun by lymphocytes and plasmacytes, the stomach lining becomes thickened.
If you notice chronic vomiting or diarrhea or sudden flare-ups, your dog may have IBD. Your vet will be able to perform diagnostics tests.
5. They Have Difficulty Breathing
Because they have a short nose, Frenchies are more likely to develop respiratory distress syndrome (also called brachycephalic syndrome). This occurs when the dog’s soft palate hangs down too far into the airway. When this happens, along with the narrow trachea and narrow nostrils, Frenchies have trouble breathing.
If you notice excessive snorting, coughing, loud breathing, gums that appear blue, or fainting, you need to get your dog to a vet to have this corrected. Watch out for this especially when it is hot out, as excessive heat can cause heatstroke.
6. They Have Allergies
Allergies are common in dogs but present differently than they do in humans. Instead of watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, and scratchy throats, dogs with allergies become uncontrollably itchy on their bodies.
Paws and pads, their belly, and skin folds are typically the areas that are most irritated. If you notice bronzing on their paws, excessive paw picking, rubbing their face around, and regular ear infections, your dog may have allergies.
Fortunately, allergies in dogs are easily treatable with medications, shots, and ointments.
7. They Get Stung By a Bee
Just as humans can be stung by bees, so can dogs. When dogs get stung, it’s usually on their snout, nose, or head. If you know that they were stung, monitor them and if there is any swelling, make sure it does not impact their breathing.
If you notice that they are having difficulty breathing or are not acting normally after a bee sting, call your vet.
8. They Have a Reaction to a Vaccine
It’s always a possibility that a dog may have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. This is common with the rabies vaccine, which your dog receives either annually or every three years. It’s normal for them to be a bit tired and sore after vaccinations, but if they are showing signs of an allergic reaction, such as vomiting, diarrhea, hives, or respiratory distress, call your vet.
9. Their Skin Folds Are Irritated
The folds on your Frenchie are one of the things that make them cute but also make them prone to skin infections. Lip-fold pyoderma is common in dogs with many skin folds, like Frenchies. The skin folds along their jaws are often moist, which provides the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow.
If you notice that the area is red, smelly, and seems irritated, make a vet appointment for your pet. You can treat this condition with antibiotics and if it becomes severe, the excess skin folds can potentially be removed through surgery.
10. They Encounter a Poisonous Toad
Dogs are curious and they often pick up or lick things–toads are no exception. There are two types of toads that are extremely toxic to dogs, and if you suspect that your dog has come into contact with their secretions, then you need to seek veterinary care immediately.
Cane toads and Colorado River toads are the most dangerous. They are only in certain areas of the country, though, so not all dog owners need to be concerned about them.
Be Informed About Your New French Bulldog Puppy
If you have a new French bulldog puppy, make sure you understand their common health issues. If you know what to expect, you’ll know what to do if they begin to exhibit symptoms of any of the issues discussed here.
As soon as you bring your puppy home, establish veterinary care so you have a go-to provider if your Frenchie has any issues.
If you’re ready for a furry friend, check out the puppies that are available and contact us to find your next family member!