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French Bulldog Information: Health

By Lauren Leonardi . July 02, 2012 | See Comments

French Bulldog Information: Health

Like most dogs that were originally bred to be fighting dogs, the French Bulldog is now a great companion to many pet parents. Learn more about this breed's health concerns here.

The French Bulldog received its name when English textile workers brought the dog to Normandy, France. This dog was originally bred as a fighting dog, but was later bred as a companion dog. As with many flat-face breeds with compacted airways, the French Bulldog is subject to breathing difficulties and heat intolerance. They can also suffer from spinal problems relating to their small, compact size. These usually playful, amiable dogs have a lifespan of about 9 to 11 years.

Primary Health Conditions of the French Bulldog

The French Bulldog, like the pug, is a brachycephalic breed, meaning that it has its characteristically shortened face.This shortened face and its compacted airways can lead to breathing problems, especially when the dog is hot or excited. Care should be taken not to overexert the dog, and walkers should allow the dog to rest after exercise. Spinal problems, in which the vertebral discs become worn and herniated, are also common in the French Bulldog, likely from being bred into an increasingly smaller animal. Surgery can sometimes be used to relieve pain or discomfort. As with many breeds, the French Bulldog can develop patellar luxation, or slippage of the knee, which is also treatable with surgery.

Secondary Health Conditions of the French Bulldog

The wrinkles on a French Bulldog’s face can be an opportune breeding place for yeasts and bacteria, and infections can occur. This skin should be regularly cleaned and kept dry. Eye problems of various sorts can occur in this breed, ranging from cherry eye—protrusion of the tear duct—to corneal ulcers, to retinal fold dysplasia—the defective development of the retina. Dogs should be acquired from breeders screened through the Canine Eye Registration Foundation. Additionally, some French Bulldogs may be prone to skin or other allergies, which can be treated with shampoos or antihistamines.

French Bulldog Exercise and Walking Needs

The French Bulldog has fairly low exercise requirements, although all dogs need at least a daily walk. The bulldog, as with most dogs, will have overall better health, including bone and joint health and proper weight management, with regular exercise. Because of its shortened face and propensity to breathing difficulties, French Bulldog owners should prevent overexertion, particularly in extreme heat or cold and should give the dog opportunity to rest and cool down after exercise. The owner should also keep the dog from getting wet to prevent infections in the folds of the face.

French Bulldog Nutritional Needs

The French Bulldog can be subject to allergies, so gradual changes to the dog’s diet may be needed if reactions occur. As with any dog, the French Bulldog should be fed a high quality food with without an abundance of grain fillers. As the dog ages, its activity levels may drop, especially if it is a dog with joint conditions, so feeding should be scaled back accordingly to prevent weight issues.

More on French Bulldogs

How to Feed a French Bulldog
How to Get My French Bulldog to Stop Growling?
Grooming a French Bulldog for the Show Ring
Facts About French Bulldogs
UKC Recognized Breeds

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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