French Bulldog Health Issues: Myths & Facts - TomKings Blog

French Bulldog Health Issues: Myths & Facts

French Bulldogs are beloved for their charming personalities and distinctive looks. However, potential owners often worry about their health, influenced by various myths and misconceptions. In this article, we aim to clarify the truth about French Bulldog health issues, providing accurate information to help you make an informed decision about adopting this wonderful breed. Understanding these health aspects ensures that you can give your Frenchie the best possible care, contributing to a happy and healthy life.

Common French Bulldog Health Issues

Like any dog breed, Frenchies are prone to some health issues that potential owners should be aware of. Understanding these and knowing how to manage them can help ensure your Frenchie lives a happy, healthy life and even extend their lifespan. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most prevalent health concerns and provide expert tips on how to handle them.

Rollo, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies

Breathing Issues (Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome)

French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a short nose and flat face. This unique feature, while adorable, can lead to breathing issues, a condition known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). BOAS includes a range of respiratory issues caused by their narrow nostrils, elongated soft palate, and other anatomical abnormalities.

Expert Tips:

  • Weight Management: Keeping your Frenchie at a healthy weight and avoiding obesity can largely alleviate breathing difficulties.
  • Avoiding Heat: As a Frenchie parent, you have to make sure your pup avoids excessive heat and over-exercising. 
  • Surgical Options: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct anatomical issues and improve breathing.

Overheating

Due to their short snouts, French Bulldogs are prone to overheating, especially in hot weather. They have difficulty cooling themselves through panting, which can quickly lead to heatstroke if you’re not careful.

Expert Tips:

  • Limit Exercise: Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Provide Shade and Water: Always ensure they have access to cool, shaded areas and plenty of fresh water. You can also put a cooling vest on your Frenchie.
  • Watch for Signs: Be mindful of signs of overheating, such as heavy panting, red gums, and a lack of energy, and take steps to cool your Frenchie down immediately if you notice these signs.

Allergies and Skin Conditions

French Bulldogs can be susceptible to allergies and skin conditions, which can cause discomfort and irritation. They are particularly sensitive when it comes to some allergens in their food, the most common being chicken and grains. As a result, their skin can become itchy and irritated, and they may also have diarrhea.

Yara, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Yara, French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies (She is perfectly healthy)

Expert Tips:

  • Diet Management: Feed your Frenchie a high-quality diet and avoid known allergens. If they continue to have allergic symptoms after eliminating chicken and grains from their diet, switch to a premium hypoallergenic dry food and don’t give your Frenchie any other home-made food or treat.
  • Immune Boosting: Do an immune strengthening course with your Frenchie for 3 months, using a liquid or soft chew immune booster supplement.
  • Veterinary Care: Consult your vet for treatments, such allergy medications or medicated shampoos.

Diarrhea

Many French Bulldogs have sensitive stomachs, which can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea. Common reasons why your poor pup may have diarrhea involves eating leftovers, swallowing a small object, a sudden change in their diet, infections, or food intolerances.

Expert Tips:

  • Healthy and Consistent Diet: It may take some experimenting to find the best food for your Frenchie, which produces perfect stools. Once you manage to find it, keep their diet consistent and avoid sudden changes.
  • Hydration and Bland Diet: If your puppy has diarrhea, give water and feed them in small doses a few times a day with bland food such as rice or plain, boiled white-meat like chicken.
  • Veterinary Advice: If diarrhea persists, seek veterinary advice to rule out underlying health issues.

Eye Problems

The facial shape of Frenchies causes their eyes to be more exposed to their surroundings, making them prone to infections and injuries. The most common French Bulldogs eye problems might include:

  • Dry eye (when insufficient tears are produced)
  • Cherry eye (a large, red, almost cherry-like lump)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink or red eyes, blinking more than usual)

Expert Tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Gently clean the area around your Frenchie’s eyes with a wet cloth to remove any dirt and tear stains.
  • Protective Measures: Avoid exposing them to harsh environments where their eyes could be injured.
  • Veterinary Check-up: 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

Dental Problems

Because of their small mouth and shorter-than-normal skulls, French Bulldogs can have overcrowding teeth. This might lead to dental issues like tooth decay. 

Orion, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Orion, French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies (He is perfectly healthy)

Expert Tips:

  • Brushing: Brush their teeth regularly with dog-specific toothpaste.
  • Dental Chews: Regularly feed your baby with food that makes them chew (like raw carrots) or use a dental dog chew toy. These help avoid tartar buildup and maintain healthy teeth and gum. 
  • Regular Vet Visits: Routine dental check-ups are essential to maintain oral health. If you notice your Frenchie is drooling more than normal or has a hard time chewing, get them checked by a vet. 

Ear Infections

Because of its L shape, a dog’s ear canal is more prone to holding earwax and fluid, creating a warm, moist environment which makes bacteria grow. Frenchies tend to have an even narrower ear canal due to their small skull, putting them at more risk of an ear infection. The most common signs of a French Bulldog ear infection are head shaking, scratching, yellowish or black discharge, redness and odor.

Expert Tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your Frenchie’s ears regularly with a plain cotton swab and wet wipe.
  • Drying: Ensure their ears are thoroughly dried after baths and swimming.
  • Veterinary Care: If you notice signs of infection, such as redness, discharge or a foul odor, consult your vet.

Ultimate Guide
to Raising a Frenchie

Joint Issues (Hip Dysplasia and Patellar Luxation)

Because of their compact build, joint problems can affect French Bulldogs such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. These conditions may lead to pain and mobility issues.

Expert Tips:

  • Weight Management: Keeping your Frenchie at a healthy weight reduces stress on their joints.
  • Controlled Exercise: Provide moderate exercise to maintain joint health without overexerting them.
  • Limit Jumping: It’s essential to limit their jumping from high spaces to avoid potential injuries. Using ramps up to beds and sofas are also highly recommended.
  • Veterinary Support: If you notice any change in your Frenchie’s gait, consult your vet for treatments, which may include supplements, physical therapy, or surgery in more severe cases.

Understanding these common French Bulldog health issues and taking proactive steps can help ensure your Frenchie remains happy and healthy. Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and careful monitoring are key to managing these health concerns effectively.

Debunking Myths About French Bulldog Health

When it comes to French Bulldogs, many myths and misconceptions can create unnecessary worry for potential owners. Let’s address some of the most common myths and set the record straight.

Tristian, available Fluffy French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Tristian, Fluffy French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies

Myth #1: All French Bulldogs suffer from genetic diseases

One prevalent myth is that all French Bulldogs suffer from genetic diseases. This misconception has arisen due to unethical breeders and irresponsible breeding practices. When breeders prioritize profit over the health of the dogs, it can lead to puppies with various genetic issues.

Fact: Ethical breeding practices make all the difference

Ethical French Bulldog breeders conduct genetic tests on their dogs before breeding. By carefully selecting breeding pairs free from known genetic issues, they can significantly reduce the risk of genetic diseases in their puppies. It is crucial to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

Available puppies

Available Puppies

Orion, the outstanding

Ezra, the eager

Aldo, the alpha

Athena, the admirable

Lenona, the gem

Gloria, the lively

Myth #2: French Bulldogs are always unhealthy

Another common myth is that French Bulldogs are inherently unhealthy. While it is true that Frenchies are prone to certain health issues discussed above, this does not mean that every Frenchie will experience these problems.

Fact: Responsible breeding and pet ownership results in healthy pups

The health of a French Bulldog can be significantly influenced by the breeder’s practices. Reputable breeders ensure that their dogs receive the best possible care from birth, including health screenings and appropriate veterinary care.

As a pet owner, you also play a vital role in your Frenchie’s health. Providing a balanced diet, ensuring regular exercise, and scheduling routine wellness vet visits can help maintain your French Bulldog’s health and prevent many common issues.

Myth #3: Frequent and costly vet visits are given

Many potential owners worry that owning a French Bulldog will require frequent and expensive vet visits. While Frenchies may need regular health check-ups, the idea that they will always require costly veterinary care is a misconception.

Fact: Having pet insurance can save you money and worry

Even if you get your puppy from a reliable breeder, accidents and unexpected health issues can happen. Pet insurance can be a valuable tool to help manage the costs of veterinary care and ensure your Frenchie receives the necessary treatment without causing financial strain. Being prepared for all scenarios is part of responsible pet ownership.

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

Myths or Facts: Specific Health Issues by Color

In addition to the myths mentioned above, there are also several misconceptions surrounding the health of exotic French Bulldogs with exotic colors like blue, merle, big rope and fluffy. We regularly receive questions about these variations when talking to potential Frenchie parents, and we can say with confidence that our 13-year experience has shown no connection between a puppy’s color and health. Below we’ll address some of the most common myths and the facts behind them.

Blue French Bulldog Health Issues

Myth: Blue Frenchies and other exotic colors with a dilute gene like lilac and Isabella are at risk for Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) and other skin issues.

Fact: Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) is a condition that affects dogs with dilute-colored coats, leading to hair thinning or loss and flaky skin. This occurs because the hair follicles in these dogs can be structurally weak due to the diluted pigment, causing them to break easily and lead to alopecia (hair loss). While CDA is an existing problem, it is more prevalent in other breeds like blue Dobermans, and is much more rarer in French Bulldogs. Blue, lilac and Isabella Frenchies are just as healthy as any other French Bulldog, provided they come from a reputable breeder who prioritizes health.

The parent of two exotic TomKings Frenchies, Debbie has shared her experiences with her blue Frenchie, Zoey and Isabella Frenchie, Bella:

Merle French Bulldog Health Issues

Myth: Merle Frenchies are more prone to deafness and blindness due to the merle gene, especially dogs with blue eyes.

Fact: This is only true for “Double Merle” Frenchies, which result from breeding two merle parents. Ethical and educated breeders avoid breeding two merle dogs to prevent these issues. Merle Frenchies, when bred responsibly, do not have a higher risk of deafness or blindness, so it’s crucial to choose a breeder who understands the genetics and breeds with care.

Another TomKings parent, Sandi has shared her experiences with her merle Frenchie, Marni in this video:

Big Rope French Bulldog Health Issues

Myth: Big Rope Frenchies have serious respiratory issues due to the heavy rope-like folds around their noses.

Fact: While this is a relatively new variation of the breed, so far none of the parents of our Big Rope Frenchies have reported any breathing issues in their puppies. Responsible breeding practices and proper care by their owner ensure that these unique Frenchies are just as healthy as their traditional counterparts. Some TomKings parents of big rope Frenchies have shared the following:

“He’s the only one not snoring right now actually. It was a lot when he was little. He’d get out off breath quickly. But I gave him some time to grow, and seemed to work itself out.” (Alanna, Thor’s mom)

Thor at TomKings Farm 🙂

“Some frenchies I meet on the street snort a lot. Bob so far doesn’t snort at all. He sometimes snores, but only in some positions usually when he puts his neck on something f.ex. on the edge of his bed or on his front legs. After longer play outside or after running he does pant a bit. Nothing excessive though or different than other snub-nosed dogs. But we do avoid taking him on long walks during the hottest part of the day. So longer walks only in the morning and evening. Short ones during the day. Ever since we established a routine where he gets more quality sleep during the day he seems to be more energetic, playful, has more zoomies and overall seems happier 🙂 The vet said he has nice nostrils and seems to be bred well :)” (Agnes, Bob’s mom)

Alistair, available French Bulldog puppy at TomKings Puppies
Bob at TomKings Farm 🙂

Fluffy French Bulldog Health Issues

Myth: Fluffy Frenchies are not purebred French Bulldogs, and breeding them is unethical.

Fact: Fluffy Frenchies are indeed purebred French Bulldogs. Their long coat results from the LH – long hair gene, also known as the Fibroblast Growth Factor, which is naturally present in the breed although rare. This gene does not impact the overall health of a Frenchie, responsible breeding ensures that fluffies are as healthy as short-coated French Bulldogs.

By debunking these myths, we hope to provide clarity for potential Frenchie parents. Exotic color Frenchies can lead happy and healthy lives, just like their more traditionally colored counterparts with the right care and attention from reputable breeders.

Fluffy Frenchie
101 Ebook

Real Owner Experiences on Frenchie Health Issues

When considering buying a French Bulldog puppy, learning from other Frenchie parents can help you feel confident in your decision to adopt and care for a Frenchie. Our TomKings Frenchie Family Facebook group is a friendly and helpful community where Frenchie parents share their experiences and offer support. Here’s a recent post that was shared by a TomKings parent, Sandi:

“I belong to another FB group for Frenchies and I have to say…the predominant threads are all about the horrible health problems, breeder issues and overall unhealthy pups they have. Ever part of me wants to scream – Did you RESEARCH both breed and breeder?! My heart breaks as I read all the issues and I become more and more grateful that I found Tomkings. That I listened to my heart that getting a pup from 1/2 way around the world was the right thing to do. The stories are heartbreaking in that group – and they non-existent in our Tomkings Family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for our beautiful, healthy babies and thank you for always being there to guide us through this wonderful Journey.”

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

Are You Considering Adopting a French Bulldog Puppy?

French Bulldogs are a wonderful breed, known for their affectionate nature, playful personalities, and adorable appearance. They make excellent companions, thriving in both small apartments and larger homes due to their adaptable and sociable nature. Frenchies are also great with children and other pets, making them a perfect addition to many families.

However, when adopting a French Bulldog puppy, it’s crucial to be cautious about where you get them from. The health and well-being of your future Frenchie greatly depend on the breeder’s practices. By choosing a responsible breeder, you can ensure that your French Bulldog puppy starts life on the right paw, giving you peace of mind and a healthy, happy companion for years to come.

The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for more than 13 years on their farms. 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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Available
puppies

Kylie, the angel

Blue fawn Fluffy

, French Bulldog,

Girl,

04.01.2024.

Adoption fee: 7.500 USD

Hudson, the hero

Blue and tan Fluffy

, French Bulldog,

Boy,

04.01.2024.

Adoption fee: 8.000 USD

Everest, the adventurous

Blue merle and tan

, French Bulldog,

Boy,

04.14.2024.

Adoption fee: 6.900 USD

Vincent, the great

Blue merle and tan

, French Bulldog,

Boy,

04.14.2024.

Adoption fee: 6.900 USD

Hendrix, the rockstar

Blue and tan

, French Bulldog,

Boy,

04.08.2024.

Adoption fee: 6.000 USD

Jerry, the warrior

Blue trindle

, French Bulldog,

Boy,

04.02.2024.

Adoption fee: 9.000 USD

Which adorable Frenchie will you choose? Difficult question, right? To help you out, we will gladly provide you with some extra photos or videos of our available Frenchies, you just need to ask! Send us an enquiry with the name of the puppy that catches your attention and we will tell you all about him or her. We also look forward to answering any questions you may have! 

If you can’t find your dream Frenchie amongst our available Frenchie puppies, sign up to our New Puppy Notifier to get notified when new puppies are available:

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