Skip to content

French Bulldog Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues

French Bulldogs are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to specific health issues due to their genetics and physical characteristics. As a brachycephalic breed, Frenchies have short noses and flat faces, which can lead to respiratory problems. Additionally, their compact bodies and screw tails may contribute to spinal and joint issues. Understanding these health concerns is crucial for prospective owners to ensure they can provide the best care for their French Bulldog.

10 Most Common Health Problems & Issues in French Bulldogs

1. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a group of respiratory issues resulting from the breed’s short nose and flat face. It comprises various anatomical abnormalities, such as stenotic nares, elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules, leading to difficulty breathing and poor airflow.

  • Symptoms: Snoring, noisy breathing, exercise intolerance and in severe cases, cyanosis (blue tongue or gums)
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition due to selective breeding for short muzzles and flat faces
  • Treatment: In mild cases, weight management and avoiding heat or excessive exercise can help manage the symptoms. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to correct the airway abnormalities.
2. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition in which the hip joint fails to develop correctly, leading to arthritis and pain. French Bulldogs are predisposed to hip dysplasia due to their stocky build.

  • Symptoms: Limping, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, decreased activity and stiffness
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, environmental factors and obesity
  • Treatment: Treatment options include weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
3. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

IVDD occurs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column bulge or rupture, causing pressure on the spinal cord. This condition can result in pain, nerve damage and even paralysis.

  • Symptoms: Pain, reluctance to move, wobbly gait, weakness or paralysis of limbs and loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, trauma and age-related degeneration
  • Treatment: Mild cases may be treated with rest, pain management and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe cases may require surgery to remove the pressure on the spinal cord.
4. Allergies

French Bulldogs are prone to various types of allergies, including environmental, food and contact allergies. Allergies can cause skin irritation, itching and gastrointestinal issues.

  • Symptoms: Itching, redness, hives, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive licking or scratching
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition and exposure to allergens
  • Treatment: Identifying the allergen and avoiding exposure is essential. Treatment options include antihistamines, corticosteroids and immunotherapy. In cases of food allergies, a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended.
5. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a condition where the gland of the third eyelid becomes prolapsed, resulting in a red, swollen mass in the corner of the eye. This condition can cause irritation, inflammation and dry eyes.

  • Symptoms: Red, swollen mass in the corner of the eye and excessive tearing or discharge
  • Causes: Weakness in the connective tissue that holds the gland in place
  • Treatment: Treatment involves surgical repositioning of the gland or, in some cases, removal of the gland. Topical medications may be prescribed to manage inflammation and infection.
6. Ear Infections

French Bulldogs’ large, erect ears create an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive, leading to ear infections. Regular cleaning and monitoring can help prevent these infections.

  • Symptoms: Scratching at the ears, head shaking, foul odor and discharge from the ear
  • Causes: Bacteria, yeast, allergies, or foreign bodies
  • Treatment: Treatment typically involves cleaning the ears and administering topical medications to clear the infection. In recurrent cases, your veterinarian may recommend a change in diet, allergy testing, or long-term management strategies.
7. Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap (patella) dislocates or moves out of its normal position. This condition is common in small dog breeds, including French Bulldogs and can lead to arthritis and pain.

  • Symptoms: Limping, skipping, or hopping on one leg and pain when the kneecap is manipulated
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, trauma, or developmental abnormalities
  • Treatment: In mild cases, weight management and anti-inflammatory medications may be sufficient. More severe cases may require surgical intervention to stabilize the joint and prevent further dislocation.
8. Obesity

Obesity is a common issue among French Bulldogs due to their low exercise requirements and love for food. Obesity can exacerbate existing health issues and lead to additional problems such as diabetes, heart disease and joint issues.

  • Symptoms: Excess body fat, difficulty moving or exercising and breathing problems
  • Causes: Overfeeding, lack of exercise and genetic factors
  • Treatment: Weight management through a balanced diet and regular, controlled exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight for your Frenchie.
9. Skin Fold Dermatitis

The skin folds on a French Bulldog’s face can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to skin fold dermatitis – a painful skin infection. Regular cleaning and drying of these areas can help prevent this condition.

  • Symptoms: Redness, swelling, foul odor and discharge from the skin folds
  • Causes: Trapped moisture, bacteria, or yeast in the skin folds
  • Treatment: Cleaning and drying the affected areas, along with topical medications to treat the infection, are essential in managing skin fold dermatitis. In severe cases, surgery to remove excess skin folds may be necessary.
10. Heatstroke

Due to their brachycephalic nature, French Bulldogs are at high risk for heatstroke. They have difficulty cooling themselves through panting and can easily overheat in warm weather or during exercise.

  • Symptoms: Excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and collapse
  • Causes: Overexposure to heat, excessive exercise and obesity
  • Treatment: Heatstroke is an emergency requiring immediate intervention. Move your dog to a cool area, apply cool water or wet towels to their body and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Precautions & Preventative Measures

To minimize the risk of health issues in your French Bulldog, consider the following precautions:

  • Regular veterinarian check-ups: Schedule routine visits to monitor your Frenchie’s health and catch potential issues early.
  • Proper diet and exercise: Ensure a balanced diet and regular exercise to prevent obesity and maintain overall health.
  • Grooming and dental care: Regular grooming and dental care can prevent infections and maintain your Frenchie’s overall wellbeing.
  • Monitoring for early signs of health issues: Familiarize yourself with common health concerns and monitor your Frenchie for symptoms to ensure prompt treatment.
  • Considering breed-specific preventative measures: Consult your veterinarian about vaccinations, parasite control and other preventative care tailored to your Frenchie’s needs.

What do French Bulldogs Usually Die From?

French Bulldogs typically face health risks associated with their brachycephalic nature, such as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome and heatstroke, which can be life-threatening if not properly managed. Additionally, they may suffer from cardiac issues, various forms of cancer, neurological disorders like Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and severe infections. These conditions, if left untreated or inadequately managed, can contribute to the mortality of French Bulldogs.

French Bulldog Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues in French Bulldogs