French bulldogs, with their charming personalities and distinctive bat-like ears, have become popular companions for pet owners around the world. In fact, their popularity surpassed the Labrador retriever’s position as the top dog in America in 2022, an honor Labs had held for 31 years.

With the Frenchie’s surge in popularity, pet owners need to be aware of these lovable dogs’ unique care requirements. In this guide, our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team explains the essential aspects of caring for French bulldogs’ essential care needs, including obesity prevention, skin health, respiratory issues, and physical activity restrictions.

Obesity prevention in French bulldogs

French bulldogs are prone to obesity, which can lead to or worsen various health problems such as airway issues and back injuries. To keep your Frenchie at a healthy weight, feed them a balanced, high-quality diet. French bulldogs may also benefit from a quality omega-3 supplement that supports their skin and coat, bolstering the skin’s natural ability to resist bacterial and yeast overgrowth. Additionally, essential fatty acids can reduce inflammation and support healthy joints, making these nutrients important for your Frenchie’s health and wellbeing.

To prevent obesity, calculate calories, measure portions to avoid overfeeding, and resist the urge to give in to those adorable eyes begging for treats. Regular exercise is crucial, but tailor the intensity to your Frenchie’s individual needs, considering their susceptibility to respiratory issues and back injuries.

Skin health for French bulldogs

Frenchies have adorable wrinkled skin, but these folds are prone to irritation and infection. Regularly clean and dry your Frenchie’s skinfolds, paying extra attention to their facial wrinkles and around their tail fold. To prevent food or drool from becoming trapped in your dog’s facial folds, wipe their face with a damp cloth or medicated wipe after they eat. Cleaning around your Frenchie’s eyes is also essential for preventing skin infections, as the excess moisture from eye drainage creates an ideal environment for yeast and bacteria growth.

When bathing your Frenchie, use a mild, hypoallergenic dog shampoo to prevent skin allergies, and consult our veterinarian if you notice any redness, swelling, or foul odor. Special medicated shampoo may be necessary to help keep your dog’s skin allergies at bay.

If your Frenchie has allergies, they will require more frequent skin care to help reduce inflammation and irritation. In addition to regular bathing, frequent ear cleaning should be provided. Depending on your dog’s ear and skin health, they may need to have their ears cleaned with a medicated cleanser every week or two. 

Respiratory issues in French bulldogs

French bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses and flat faces, which can cause respiratory challenges. This breed can also experience brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), a condition in which several upper airway abnormalities are present. Depending on the severity of a French bulldog’s anatomical issues, surgery may be necessary so the affected dog can have an acceptable quality of life.

Each Frenchie has unique respiratory limitations, so you should take precautions to prevent your dog from experiencing respiratory distress and other health problems. Avoid strenuous activities during hot weather, as they can struggle to regulate their body temperature. Additionally, to reduce pressure on your dog’s neck, use a harness rather than a collar, and help minimize breathing difficulties. Regular veterinary checkups are also crucial to monitor your Frenchie’s respiratory health.

Physical activity restrictions for French bulldogs

Exercise is essential for your Frenchie’s mental and physical health, however, because the breed’s brachycephalic facial structure poses respiratory challenges, you need to approach your dog’s activity level carefully. Short walks and light play sessions are ideal, especially during the day’s cooler times. Be cautious with intense physical activities to prevent overexertion. Swimming can be an excellent low-impact exercise for French bulldogs, providing both physical activity and body cooling.

French bulldogs are also prone to back injuries, especially if they are overweight and not getting enough exercise. Avoid letting your Frenchie jump from a high surface, and train them to use steps to climb onto furniture. Ensure your dog’s weight is managed and provide plenty of exercise that helps build muscle to protect their back and joints.

Caring for a French bulldog requires attention to their unique needs, from maintaining a healthy weight to managing respiratory challenges. By following these tips on obesity prevention, skin health, respiratory issues, and physical activity restrictions, you’ll be well-equipped to provide your Frenchie with the care they need for a happy and healthy life. 

Don’t let skin issues, respiratory problems, or joint pain stop your Frenchie from being their fun-loving, charming self. Schedule regular preventive care for your pet with our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team.