Frenchies and other bulldog breeds are more exposed to eye problems as their shorter snouts cannot protect them as much from scratches and things that can get into them. Because their eyes are so vulnerable, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that your puppy might face and know how to act when there are warning signs. If you notice anything unusual about your Frenchie’s eyes, so they are red and waterier than normal, they are squinting and rubbing them, or there’s even some discharge coming out, it’s time to visit your vet! In this article, we address some of the most common French Bulldog eye problems.
Watery eyes in French bulldogs
Some dogs simply produce more tear than others. If that’s the case with your Frenchie, you are probably familiar with the brown tear stains that appear under your puppy’s eyes. The constant tearing colors the fur, especially in between the wrinkles, which is even more noticeable in white or light-colored Frenchies. Apart from being an aesthetic issue, these stains may lead to health issues as well: since bacteria thrive in wet conditions, your puppy will be more likely to catch an eye infection.
The good news is that this can be prevented by regularly cleaning your Frenchie’s tear stains, at least once a week. You can use sanitizing wipes as well, but our main recommendation is applying some boric acid eye wash (2% solution) on a cotton pad. It is completely safe for the eyes and is the best way for a thorough sanitization of the area under them. If you’d like to see how to do that properly, watch our video in which Tom, our breeding expert demonstrates how you can clean you puppy’s tear stains. Our TomKings Family members have also shared their experiences in our Facebook group, read their experiences here.
Inflamed eyes in French bulldogs
You can recognize inflamed eyes by being red, which may be due to a number of reasons. For example, if your Frenchie has a runny nose as well, and is also sneezing and coughing a lot, then they most probably caught a cold for which your vet will need to prescribe antibiotics.
The most common reason why your puppy’s eyes might be inflamed is because something got into them. Sometimes it is obvious, for example when you’re giving your baby a bath and a bit of shampoo gets into their eyes. In such cases, you should put some eye drops into them which contain antibiotics, our recommendation is Tobradex which you can purchase at the vet and human pharmacy as well.
However, in cases where you’re not sure why your Frenchie’s eyes might be inflamed, it is very important to get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible. That’s because if the cornea is damaged, an eye drop may do even more harm, so it’s essential that your vet has a look with a microscope to see if it needs to be treated first. If there’s no damage, then it’s safe to use an eye drop.
You may also notice that your Frenchie’s eye produces some white, yellow or green discharge while being inflamed, which usually goes hand in hand with your puppy constantly squinting and rubbing their eye. The solution again is an eye drop with antibiotics, and a visit to the vet!
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Cherry eye in French bulldogs
French bulldogs have loose skin, which pulls down their face and makes their mucous membrane visible. The mucous membrane is red because it is full of blood vessels, so it is perfectly normal. There is a minor issue called cherry eye, which is very common in all bulldog breeds. It occurs when there’s a prolapse of the third gland in their eyelid and it is usually very easy to spot: you’ll see a small red and swollen cherry-like ball in the corner of your Frenchie’s eye.
It doesn’t tend to cause any pain and if you spot it right away, usually it can be treated very well by massaging and popping it back to its place. If that doesn’t help, it’s highly recommended to take your puppy to the vet before they start rubbing it, as they can easily damage the gland. Your vet can take care of the issue by performing a quick routine surgery, which consists of attaching it back to its place using an invisible suture which is also absorbable, so it won’t need to be removed. You will just need to use some antibiotic eye drops afterwards and it will heal quickly.
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There are also surgeries where they cut and remove the cherry eye. This method is not recommended as the third eyelid plays an essential part in producing tears, and without it your Frenchie may have constant dry eyes.
Dry eyes in French bulldogs
When a Frenchie has dry eyes, they are not producing enough tears to keep their eye balls moist. There may be several reasons for that, like medications, removal of cherry eye, or even sleeping with their eyes open. This can lead to your puppy’s eyes getting inflamed and even producing some yellow or green discharge. It can be painful for your baby, so you’ll need to treat it as soon as possible.
Our recommendation for dry eyes is getting artificial tears from the pharmacy, what’s important is that they shouldn’t contain any preservative. You have to put 1-2 drops in both eyes twice a day, or even more if you have the time (at the weekends for example). You should also go back to the vet in one or two months to check how much tear your Frenchie has and if it’s in the normal range, you can leave the drops.
Corneal ulcer in French bulldogs
Corneal ulcers are probably the most serious and painful eye problems in Frenchies. They usually occur due to some kind of trauma or injury to the cornea, chemical burn from shampoo, but can also be caused by untreated dry eyes. The symptoms include your puppy rubbing their eye to relieve the pain, keeping it closed, or there may even be some discharge coming out of it.
It’s very important to address the problem right away, as it may even lead to blindness if not treated properly. Your vet will prescribe antibiotic eye drops for your baby which you’ll need to put in their eye multiple times a day.
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.