In this post, you will find the 21 most common French Bulldog Health problems.
To be honest, I was not a fan of this breed until my friend introduced me to her pet.
These dogs are energetic and friendly. And their small size doesn’t put them down in any way.
Sadly, our cute buddies are prone to health problems as well.
If you own a French Bulldog or have plans of getting one then keep reading this article to be abreast of their health problems.
Let’s get started!
The 21 Most Common French Bulldog Health Problems
The first health problem on my list that is common to French Bulldog is Allergies.
This condition is difficult to diagnose because the allergy could be caused by different factors.
Factors like food (e.g. wheat, dairy, or meat) and items in the dog’s surroundings (e.g. pollen, dust, fleas, and cleaning products).
Certain signs that show your Frenchie has allergies are:
- Watery eyes
- Uncontrolled itching
- Raw skin patches
- Consistent licking
You should call the attention of your vet when you notice any of these signs.
He may conduct an intradermal skin test or suggest an elimination diet to trace the cause of the allergy.
Furthermore, your vet may prescribe topical ointments, soothing shampoos, or antibiotics to relieve your Bulldog of the symptoms of the allergy.
You can also improve your pet’s condition by opting for only pet-friendly cleaning products.
Then store harmful substances like fertilizer and antifreeze away from your pet.
Another good idea to prevent French Bulldog allergies is to stick to homemade dog food and treats.
That way, you ensure that no harmful ingredient is added to your pet’s meal.
However, seek your Vet’s consent before giving your dog homemade foods.
Conjunctivitis or Pink eye is common in French Bulldogs.
It is easy to detect from:
- Swollen eyelids
- Redness of the eyes
- Discharge from the eyes
Major causes of pink eye include allergies, dry eye, or other irritants.
Conjunctivitis can also be an indication of a more serious illness like Canine distemper.
This condition is treated based on the underlying cause.
Usually, an antibiotic may be prescribed or an elimination diet (in the case of food allergies).
Anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended to relieve any inflammation in the eye.
Cleft Palate is another health problem that is common in French Bulldogs.
It is a birth defect where the tissues between the mouth and sinuses do not develop fully.
And this can be traced to the flat face of the dog.
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The signs of cleft palate include:
- Protruding teeth or gums
- A misshapen nostril
- Extreme sneezing
- Severe runny nose
- Strained breathing after minor activity
- Difficulty eating
Inform your vet when you notice these signs to rule out serious ailments like Pneumonia.
A cleft palate can be corrected with surgery if symptoms are severe.
Also, antibiotics, soft foods, and an E-collar will serve well as post-operative care.
The Cherry eye is a health problem in which the tear gland of the third eyelid pops out.
It is more common in puppies. Some cases arise from congenital weakness of the tear gland.
The easiest way to detect cherry eye is a large, red mass protruding from the eye.
When you notice this in your dog, inform your vet immediately for treatment.
Don’t leave Cherry Eye to heal on its own. It may damage your dog’s eye and impair his vision.
Fifth, on my list of common French Bulldog health problems, is heatstroke.
Heatstroke refers to the severe stress a dog suffers when the weather is very hot.
A Frenchie can develop this condition even in moderate temperatures.
To avoid heatstroke, your pet needs your help to stay cool. He can only tolerate little physical activity.
Also, don’t take him outside during peak temperatures. And never leave your pet in a hot car or on the sidewalk.
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Signs of heatstroke are:
- Uncontrolled panting and drooling
- Rapid heart rate discomfort
- Bloody vomit or diarrhoea
- Reddened gums
When the condition is severe, seizures, fainting, coma, and death may occur.
To tackle this problem, you should call your vet to direct you on how to lower your dog’s body temperature.
In case there are side effects like dehydration or organ failure, your pet may be hospitalized for further treatment.
Unfortunately, there is usually another heatstroke after the first experience. It is safe to always have water handy.
This is a minor version and can be a predisposing factor to heatstroke.
Frenchies have a hard time regulating their body temperatures hence they suffer heat stress.
As mentioned earlier, be careful not to leave your dog in the car on a hot day.
Also, provide shade when you are outdoors with your pet.
Signs of heat stress include:
- Panting excessively
- Display of discomfort
- Blue or bright red gums
Gladly, there are a few things you can do to relieve your buddy of heat stress
- Move your dog to a cool place
- Place him in the bathtub and run a cool (not cold) shower over his whole body.
Alternatively, you can use a garden hose to provide cool water.
- Add a pinch of salt in a bowl of water and let your dog drink as much he wants.
This will supply some lost minerals.
- You can also apply a cold pack to your dog’s head.
- Try massaging the legs to improve your dog’s circulation.
Where the above remedies prove abortive, inform your vet right away.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD affects most short-legged dog breeds.
It is a disorder of the shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrates of the spine.
As your Frenchie ages, he becomes more vulnerable to this disease.
Traumatic injuries from a fall or running on stairs can also lead to IVDD.
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And the condition can get worse with any physical movement if left untreated.
Though it is not easy to detect, the following signs may betray IVDD in your pet:
- Difficulty in lifting the head
- Lack of interest in food
- Unwillingness to jump and vocalization when picked up
Call your vet when you notice any of these signs.
If the disease is discovered early, strict bed rest and anti-inflammatory medications can help the body heal.
Late discovery may require surgery, followed by physical therapy or acupuncture.
You are probably familiar with Hip dysplasia. It is a disorder in which the ball and socket joint of the hip is not formed correctly.
And it is also a common health problem in French Bulldogs.
Signs of Hip Dysplasia include:
- Hip pain/sensitivity
- Difficulty standing up
- Uncoordinated movement
- Reduced activity
- Inability to climb or jump
While this condition is hereditary, it can also be caused by obesity, injury, extreme growth
This means that a healthy diet can help prevent this condition in dogs.
Additionally, regular checkups can help identify the disease early and solutions will be sought.
Hip Dysplasia is treated with surgery. Physical therapy and weight control can also help to relieve your dog of the condition.
If the condition is not treated, it can result in severe pain and the development of hip arthritis.
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Another health problem that is common in French bulldogs is deafness, especially the ones with white coats.
Most affected dogs inherited it while the others develop it as they age.
Using the BAER test, you can confirm if a dog is deaf before adopting it.
Signs of deafness include:
- When the dog does not wake to a loud noise
- A dog does not react to sounds eg squeaky toys
- It doesn’t respond to its name.
If your dog develops deafness, you can seek professional help.
Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome (BRS)
BRS is a health disorder that combines an elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules.
French Bulldogs suffer this problem because they are Brachycephalic, that is, short-headed or flat-faced.
This is also the reason why your Frenchie snorts and snores.
Where the condition is very bad, your pet may not breathe properly.
Other signs of BRS include:
- Noisy breathing
- Exercise intolerance
One good way to manage this problem is by helping your buddy maintain a healthy weight.
Another common health problem in French Bulldogs is Stenotic nares.
It refers to narrow nostrils. Dogs with this condition have difficulty breathing through the nose. Snorting and snoring are also common.
The degree of narrowness in the nostrils differs in affected dogs.
Because of Stenotic nares, a dog may not be able to exercise, stand the heat, or breathe well.
Affected dogs are usually born with the condition. And It is treated with surgery.
Tracheal collapse is another common health problem in French Bulldogs.
It is a chronic, progressive disease of the trachea.
And Cushing’s disease is the root cause of the disorder.
Also, affected dogs may have the condition from birth or develop it over time.
Signs of tracheal collapse include:
- Honking cough
- Inability to exercise for long
- Breathing with effort
- Bluish tinge to the gums
You can treat this problem with medication e.g. Antibiotics, Bronchodilators, and Cough suppressants.
Where medication fails, you can send your dog in for surgery.
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Elongated Soft Palate
Just as the name sounds, an elongated soft palate is when the soft tissue located at the back of the roof of the mouth grows too long for the head.
It can block the entrance of the windpipe thereby making breathing difficult. And this is a common health problem in French Bulldogs.
Sometimes it can be a birth defect.
Signs of Elongated Soft Palate are:
- Noisy breathing
- Blue gums
- Difficulty Exercising
This health problem is corrected with surgery.
Here’s one of the common French Bulldog health problems.
Laryngeal collapse happens when the laryngeal cartilage becomes less rigid.
As a result, the larynx, or voice box collapses. The larynx serves as a passage for airflow to the lungs and protects it while swallowing.
Laryngeal collapse makes it difficult for the dog to breathe in.
It usually occurs as a complication of long-standing Brachycephalic syndrome.
And it is treated with surgery.
This is another health problem that is common to French bulldogs because of their flat face.
Entropion is an abnormality of the eye and it is hereditary.
Here, the eyelid “rolls” inward, causing its hair to brush against the cornea.
Signs of Entropion include:
- Redness of the eye.
- Inflammation of the inner eye
- Excess tears
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Tackling Entropion early is ideal to prevent more serious conditions like, corneal ulcers, corneal erosions, or corneal scarring (which can damage your dog’s vision).
Entropion is treated with surgery.
Distichiasis is also a problem of the eye that is common in French Bulldogs. It is hereditary as well.
In this condition, an eyelash grows from an abnormal location on the eyelid or grows in an abnormal direction.
Signs of distichiasis
- Continuous rubbing of the eyes
- Inflammation and discharge from the eyes
- Eye pain
- Corneal ulcers
- Uncontrolled tearing
- Consistent blinking or squinting
- Always shutting the eyes
Let your vet know when you observe any of these signs in your dog.
Leaving Dstichiasis untreated can complicate things. Your dog may experience irritation, pain, corneal ulcers, bacterial infections, and even blindness.
Distichiasis is corrected with surgery.
Cataracts, which is another health problem common in Frenchies, refer to a condition where the lens of the eye is clouded.
This cloudiness ranges from complete to partial opacity.
Cataracts are a progressive disorder and can lead to blindness when left untreated.
There are cases where cataracts are caused by diabetes. Such cases progress quicker.
Other causes of cataracts include old age, electric shock, inflammation of the uvea, low levels of calcium in the blood, etc.
Signs of cataracts:
- Vision impairment
- Difficulty seeing in areas not well lit
- Loss of vision
Cataracts are corrected with surgery.
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Hemivertebrae is a birth defect of the spine, where the vertebrae of the spine are deformed, leading to a twisting wedge where the spine should be straight.
This creates a “corkscrew” tail appearance in affected dogs.
The major effect of this condition is that nerve impulses may not be able to transmit their signals to the Spinal cord.
Usually, hemivertebrae don’t manifest any symptoms.
Where it’s a severe case, you may notice:
- Weak hind limbs
- Poor control over urinary and bowel movements
Hemivertebrae can be diagnosed with a simple x-ray or more sophisticated imaging.
It is treated with surgery.
This is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that occurs in older dogs.
It happens as a result of the degeneration of the white matter within the spinal cord.
This white matter is responsible for passing movement signals from the brain to the limbs.
Affected dogs start to lose coordination in the hind legs and later, they may not be able to stand.
The weakness eventually spreads to the front limbs and the dog also loses control over its bladder and bowel movements.
Degenerative myelopathy is diagnosed when other causes of weakness like tumours have been ruled out.
There is no treatment for this disease yet. However, these tips can improve the quality of your dog’s life:
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- Get harnesses and carts for easy mobility
- Nursing care
- Treat urinary infections
- Pressure sore prevention
- Physical rehabilitation
Another common health problem in French Bulldog is Patellar luxation, a genetic disorder where the kneecap is not properly positioned in the femur.
When the dislocation happens, the dog will feel it, afterward, he may not.
Signs of patellar luxation:
- Abnormal hindlimb movement or lameness
- Irregular skipping
- Sudden lameness
Patellar luxation is treated with surgery.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Lastly, on my list of common French Bulldog Health Problems is Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD).
This is a congenital, chronic bleeding disorder that is caused by a deficiency of an adhesive glycoprotein in the blood.
The protein is needed for normal blood clotting.
Signs of Von Willebrand’s Disease:
- Bleeding gums
- Blood in the faeces and urine
- Excessive bruising of the skin
- Extended bleeding after surgery or trauma
- Failure of blood to clot well
Affected dogs usually require blood transfusion and surgery.
Apart from the health problems above, French bulldogs also suffer thyroid problems, skin problems, and heart problems.
I couldn’t explain all of them in my list.
Before adopting a French Bulldog, request for proof of family history (at least 5 generations behind) that shows there are no genetic health problems in their blood.
Not every breeder can be trusted these days, with this proof you can be sure that you’re adopting a Frenchie without a preventable genetic disease.
Furthermore, you should consider investing in Pet Insurance. This will help you bear the medical costs of keeping your dog healthy.
READ ALSO: Canine Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments
And as you already know, this cost can be overwhelming. Examples of Pet insurance companies are:
- Healthy Paws
- Pets Best
- Petplan U.S.A.
- AKC Pet Healthcare
- ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
As much as we would want our Frenchies to remain healthy, it is not always so. Their brachycephalic nature makes them susceptible to different diseases.
Your best bet is to adopt from an excellent breeder and get pet insurance.
This is where we’ll draw the drapes in our discussion on the 21 most common French Bulldog Health Problems.
I hope it was worth your time. Please share this post with other dog lovers on your list.
And if you have any questions or suggestions, you can drop them in the comments section.
I’ll be waiting to hear from you.