French Bulldogs are gaining popularity around the world with their adorable features, funny piggy sounds and playful personalities. Frenchies are a breed of their own, unlike any other dogs. Therefore, they have special needs and Frenchie owners need to know how to take good care of their precious pup.
Here’s the 10 best tips on how to care for a French Bulldog!
Tip#1: Avoid stairs and jumping
French bulldogs have a very sensitive back. To prevent injury, pick them up to go up and down the stairs and use baby gates to block access to your home’s staircases. It is also wise to teach them how to use a ramp to go up and down the couch and bed.
You should be extra careful with jumping, slippery surfaces and exercising for too long if you have a growing puppy under 1 year old. Their growth plates aren't closed yet and jumping on open growth plates can cause long term damage.
Tip#2: Use a harness for walks-not a collar!
We do not recommend walking your French Bulldog with a leash attached to the collar since it could lead to a neck, back, eye or breathing injury. The collar should serve only to put your dog’s tags. A well-fitted and comfortable harness is the best walking gear for their iconic potato shape. You can also use a bungee leash if your frenchie has a tendency to pull to absorb the shocks from jerking or pulling.
Tip#3: Avoid the heat
Flat-faced dog breeds such as French bulldogs are more sensitive to heat because they have brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). Their shortened facial bones and nasal structure can cause compacted airway and problematic breathing, which gets worse in hot temperatures.
While every dog can suffer from high temperature, overheating can be especially life threatening for Frenchies. Avoid the heat as much as possible and help them stay cool by having a pool party, providing a cooling mat, using a cooling bandana or giving them frozen treats.
Tip#4: Keep them warm in colder temperature
Frenchies are also more sensitive to cold because of their short fur and compact nasal structure. In the winter you’ll always find your Frenchie either bathing in the sunlight, on a carpet, next to a fireplace or snuggling next to you.
When the weather is cold outside they should be wearing a coat or a sweater to protect them from the cold, snow and rain. Weather appropriate doggy boots can be useful to protect your pup’s paws from the cold, rain, snow, salt or hot pavement. If they tend to get cold inside they can wear a hoodie or a cute sweater. They get colder at night when they are sleeping, so make sure they stay warm by providing extra cuddles or an adorable doggy pajama!
Tip#5: Have your Frenchie wear a life jacket
French Bulldogs are very top-heavy, most of them cannot swim and they sink like a stone! They should wear a life jacket whenever they get near water such as the ocean, a river, a lake or a pool. It could save their lives! You want to use a high quality dog life jacket that supports their heavy heads such as this one:
Tip#6: Clean their wrinkles and folds regularly
To clean French Bulldog wrinkles and folds, gently clean their face wrinkles with unscented baby wipes at least once a week. Using a different wipe, clean under their tail in the tail pocket if they have one.
You will probably have to clean their private parts, as most Frenchies cannot reach to clean themselves because of their potato shape. Some Frenchies also need to be wiped after pooping, especially puppies! Gently dry the areas after cleaning with a clean cloth.
For more information, read our blog article How to clean French Bulldog wrinkles and folds.
Tip#7: Protect their ears from water
When you give your Frenchie a bath, put cotton balls in their ears to prevent water from entering. Moisture in those big bat ears could easily lead to an infection. You also need to clean their ears regularly with a dog ear cleaning solution and give them baths at least once every 3 months using a sensitive skin dog shampoo.
Tip#8: Feed them with high quality food
Food allergies and sensitivities are very common in French Bulldogs. Symptoms of a food allergy are itchy skin, obsessive licking, redness of the skin, biting and licking of the paws, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, weight loss, etc. The most common ingredients in dog food that can cause allergies are dairy products, chicken, lamb, beef, wheat, soy, corn and eggs.
Your goal is to feed your Frenchie with a high quality diet and find the right one for your dog. If your French bulldog tends to gulp down his food and eats too fast, try a slow feeder bowl.
Tip#9: Train them using positive training
Patience is your best friend when training a French Bulldog, as they can be very stubborn! They have what we call “selective hearing". Train them often using positive training with high value treats. Focus on basic commands such as come, sit, lay down, stay and leave it. Since Frenchies can be harder to potty train, start potty training at a young age and always reward your puppy for going potty outside.
Tip#10: Get pet insurance
Frenchies are more prone to certain health issues. Get pet insurance when they are a puppy to cover some of those vet bills or open a savings account for emergencies. Getting your puppy from a reputable breeder can also prevent having to deal with certain health issues.
Bonus tip: Give them lots of love and attention!
French bulldogs love spending time with their Hooman! They love us unconditionally and are always seeking our attention. Give them all the love they deserve and they will love you until the end of time!
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Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, just a Frenchie mom. The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.