French Bulldog Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick 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 different 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.
Every French Bulldog suffers from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of respiratory and eye problems.
Many French Bulldogs snort and snuffle as they struggle to pull in air through nostrils and windpipe that aren't shaped normally. In hot weather, Frenchies should be kept in an air conditioned home and supervised during outside activity so they don't suffer heatstroke.
One of every three French Bulldogs has malformed hip or knee joints that predispose them to early arthritis, or malformed vertebrae that cause pain or paralysis.
Frenchies are prone to a number of serious eye diseases, like cataracts that cause blindness. Their prominent eyes are easily scratched, which can lead to corneal ulcers.
Heart disease is a major concern in French Bulldogs.
Chronic allergies cause terribly itchy skin and scratching that can lead to skin infections (hot spots).
Other serious health issues in French Bulldogs are epilepsy, colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), and blood-clotting diseases.
(See more health problems below.)
Preventing health problems
Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your French Bulldog have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, hip dysplasia, luxating patella (loose knees), and heart disease, your French Bulldog has less risk of developing those conditions.
Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your French Bulldog, 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 puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy French Bulldog puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your French Bulldog lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your French Bulldog
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your French Bulldog puppy really need? Does your adult French Bulldog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Complete list of French Bulldog health problems
The French Bulldog Club conducted a health survey in which 1 out of every 4 French Bulldogs had bone or joint problems, especially intervertebral disk disease and hemivertebrae.
Let's talk about 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 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" for the sake of appearance.
Other orthopedic issues occurring regularly in French Bulldogs are luxating patella and hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of nearly 1600 French Bulldogs and found 30% dysplastic. That's appalling.
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.
Heart disease is a pretty big concern in French Bulldogs.
Skin diseases occur regularly in Frenchies, especially allergies (which cause itchy skin and often lead to pyoderma) and demodectic mange in French Bulldog puppies.
Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's, factor II deficiency, hemophilia A, and the more serious hemophilia B.
Other health issues in French Bulldogs are epilepsy, colitis, and inherited deafness in puppies with a lot of white on their head.
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.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.