The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your French Bulldog
Currently one of the most popular breeds in the UK, the fantastic French bulldog is a wonderful companion. Their unmistakable appearance and endearing characters have made them a beloved pet for many proud owners. If you’re still on the fence about adopting your own Frenchie, keep the following traits in mind:
Affectionate and loyal
Well-tempered and adaptable
Compact and sturdy
Minimal exercise needs
Suitable for apartment living
Sounds like a perfect fit? Then read on to learn everything you need to know about caring for your French bulldog.
Let’s get the less positive (but no less important) stuff out of the way first.
Like most breeds of its kind, the French bulldog is prone to several unique health problems. According to the French Bulldog Club of England, you can look forward to a lifespan of over a decade. That’s a fair improvement over their English cousins, who are known to live two to four years shorter.
Regardless, there are still some things that you need to be aware of - particularly when it comes to their eyes, joints and breathing habits. Here are some potential issues to look out for:
Frenchies may experience allergic reactions to certain types of food. They can also have contact allergies and inhalant allergies. Skin problems are also common, albeit preventable with the right diet.
Due to the flat construction of their faces, French bulldogs can get obstructions in their airways. This tends to result in problems such as laboured breathing and potentially collapsed lungs. With severe cases, treatment typically involves surgery that widens the nostrils or shortens their palate.
Similarly, dogs with cleft palates (when the two sides of their palate are separate) are left with an open cut in their mouth or lip. If this presents a medical problem, surgery will likely be necessary. The same is true for elongated palates, which can otherwise cause blockages and breathing difficulties.
You’ve likely heard of this common genetic disorder before. It results in a misplaced femur, which can cause weakness or disability. Surgery will be required.
When one or more vertebrae are malformed, the spinal cord can experience painful amounts of pressure. This may lead to weakness or even paralysis. Once again, surgery is the only option.
Von Willebrand's Disease:
This blood disorder negatively affects the clotting process, making it challenging to stop bleeding when there’s a wound. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure here, but preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk of injury and avoid medications that may contribute to bleeding.
Choosing Your Frenchie
While the premise of dealing with these issues can be scary to think about, selecting a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder will help you avoid them. Ask for proof that testing was performed and check whether both the puppy’s parents passed health clearance. Getting the necessary vaccinations will also make a world of a difference.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that proper care will go a long way in stopping any other canine illnesses or diseases from surfacing. Diet is especially important here. Many issues can be cut out of the picture by feeding your dog the right food.
Raw food subscription service Bella & Duke has more information on the link between French Bulldog health problems and nutrition. They also offer pre-made natural meals for your Frenchie based on their needs. Plus, they’ll deliver it to your door at no additional cost.
A few more things to keep in mind here. French bulldogs are often prone to obesity and heat exhaustion. We know that a healthy diet (coupled with the right amount of exercise) will keep the former problem in check.
As for the latter, be sure that your Frenchie stays relatively cool. Signs of heat exhaustion include panting, lethargy, excessive drooling and discoloured gums. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make your way to the vet immediately. Don’t try putting them in a bath or pool - French bulldogs can’t swim.
That said, the breed in question isn’t too fond of a winter breeze, either. Remember to keep your Frenchie inside during cold weather and pick up a sweater or two to keep them warm when heading out.
When your new companion moves in, take the time to develop a routine care schedule. This will ensure that you’ve covered all of the necessary fundamentals for keeping your pup happy and healthy. Here are some considerations:
Watch them in the earlier months like you would a toddler. Close doors, pick up loose objects and block off rooms as needed. Don’t forget to ensure that your Frenchie can’t access any poisonous and hazardous household items, as well as foods. This includes medications, cleaning equipment, pesticides, garden products and avocados.
One of the great things about French bulldogs is that they have relatively low grooming needs. Be sure to keep them clean anyway and brush their coat as needed - once or twice per week will suffice. Given their proclivity for teeth problems, a thorough brushing should be performed at least every two days. Chewing toys will also help.
Their ears should be gently cleaned weekly. Check under those facial wrinkles for debris at the same time. Since they don’t naturally wear down their nails, you’ll have to trim them regularly.
Take a Walk:
While their exercise needs are lower than that of most breeds, French bulldogs still require a (short) daily and regular inside play. This is an ideal opportunity to bond with your pup and teach them a few tricks along the way. Frenchies require plenty of attention and will develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long, so make sure to stick around.
French bulldogs are known to play well with children. Just be sure that any younger kids know not to play rough. Given their mostly passive attitude, you won’t really have to worry about crazy running and screaming, but that should be kept to a minimum during the adjustment phase.
The same is true for relationships with other pets. French bulldogs are friendly creatures who enjoy socialising. Taking your pup to the odd meet-and-greet is a great way to teach them how to behave around other dogs in the future.
Another reason why French bulldogs are suitable for apartments is their low noise levels. They’re generally quiet dogs. But if they sense that something is amiss, they’ll be sure to let you know. Dogs don’t bark unless they have good reason to, so heed their warnings and check what’s going on if you hear them.
Although not typical for their breed, Frenchies can sometimes be overly vocal. Some routine training will eliminate the issue in due course. Just remember that they can also be quite stubborn, so patience is key. Training from an early age and motivating with food will help you succeed.
At this point, you should have a much better idea of what you can expect and how you can provide the best possible care for your French bulldog. Don’t forget about the importance of nutrition. The same bag of kibble will do your Frenchie no good, so consider sticking to a natural diet with raw meat, bones, vegetables and some fruits. Good luck!