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French Bulldog Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

French Bulldog

Start your French Bulldog off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.


Jump down to this list of
French Bulldog Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy French Bulldog puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
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You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your French Bulldog are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your French Bulldog will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but don't have the time to make it? I have a solution for you... [read more]

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My advice on the pros and cons of pet health insurance. The best pet insurance company I've found is... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your French Bulldog puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female French Bulldog be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male French Bulldog? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your French Bulldog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

French Bulldog

Complete list of French Bulldog health problems

The French Bulldog has a lovely personality, but unfortunately breeders have made his physical structure grossly deformed in two ways:

His dwarfed legs and long back are chondrodysplastic and his short pushed-in face is brachycephalic.

These deformities are associated with a host of health problems.

Respiratory problems

Every French Bulldog suffers from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of respiratory problems.

Many French Bulldogs snort and snuffle as they struggle to pull in air through a windpipe and nostrils that are malformed.

In hot weather, Frenchies should be kept in an air conditioned home and supervised during outside activity so they don't suffer heatstroke.

Bone and joint diseases

The French Bulldog Club conducted a health survey in which 1 out of every 4 French Bulldogs had one or more bone or joint problems – especially intervertebral disk disease and hemivertebrae.

Let's talk about intervertebral disk disease and hemivertebrae in French Bulldogs.

Hemivertebrae is an orthopedic disease in which at least one of the bones in your French Bulldog's backbone is deformed into an abnormal shape called hemi.

Your Frenchie has some of these deformed vertebrae in his tail – that's why it's bent into that curly/kinky shape that looks "cute" but is actually deformed. Fortunately, hemivertebrae don't harm the tail, but if they also occur in the backbone....

A single deformed vertebra in the backbone can still be okay. But multiple hemivertebrae in the backbone (or a single one in the wrong place) can compress the spinal cord. At 3-6 months old, an affected puppy will start experiencing discomfort when you press on his back, or even loss of sensation (weak hind legs).

Mild symptoms can be relieved by acupuncture, but most puppies with severe symptoms are put to sleep before a year of age, because major surgery would typically put the puppy through a lot of pain for nothing.

Hemivertebrae occur in French Bulldogs more than any other breed. In my opinion, any anatomical structure that compromises a dog's health in this way should be changed by breeders – most certainly not "preserved."

Additional orthopedic worries in French Bulldogs:

The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of nearly 1600 French Bulldogs and found 30% dysplastic. That's appalling. In this size dog, the hip dysplasia rate should be down around 4%. A more serious hip disease that occurs in Frenchies is Legg-Calve-Pethes.

Another 5% of French Bulldogs have elbow dysplasia.

Another 5% have been diagnosed with luxating patella (the knee pops out of its socket). If the knee pops out frequently, or if it pops out and won't go back into its socket.... your Frenchie will need surgery. It costs around $1000. Per leg.

Eye diseases

Eye diseases in Frenchies include corneal ulcers, retinal dysplasia, cherry eye, entropion, and eyelash abnormalities. At 6-24 months old, cataracts can appear and can progress to blindness.

Frenchies are prone to a number of serious eye diseases. The scariest one is inherited cataracts, which can appear at 6 to 24 months old and often progresses to blindness.

A French Bulldog with large, prominent eyes is vulnerable to corneal scratches and ulcers. Other ocular diseases in Frenchies are retinal dysplasia, cherry eye, and eyelid/eyelash abnormalities.

Heart disease

Heart disease is a current concern in French Bulldogs, especially dilated cardiomyopathy and pulmonic stenosis.

Skin diseases

Skin diseases occur regularly in the loose folds of skin that provide a hiding place for bacteria and fungi. Frenchies are very susceptible to chronic allergies and itchy skin.

Young French Bulldogs are prone to demodectic mange, which may be mild or severe.

Neurological diseases

The French Bulldog is vulnerable to epilepsy, and a devastating disease of the central nervous system called degenerative myelopathy, which can progress to total rear-end paralysis.

Blood-clotting diseases

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's, factor II deficiency, hemophilia A, and the more serious hemophilia B.

Miscellaneous

Colitis (inflamed digestive tract) and inherited deafness also occur with some regularity in French Bulldogs.

Virtually all French Bulldog puppies are born by C-section, birth defects are common, and the puppy mortality rate is high. Clearly Mother Nature is trying to tell us something here.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your French Bulldog in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.