No breed of dog is anything like the bulldog. They waddle. They drool. They snore. And we love them in every age and stage of their lives. French bulldogs, in particular, are wonderfully unique, and while their originality makes them all the more lovable, it also means they need special care.
In this aging French bulldog care guide, we’ll explore why bulldogs are so distinctive, the common ailments they may face with age, and how you can help prevent some of those conditions in the first place.
What Makes Aging French Bulldogs Unique
French bulldogs are unusual in many adorable ways, so they require specialized care. From their funny bat ears to their whimsical gait, they draw us in and win us over. They are among the most affectionate of creatures, known for their unwavering love and unbreakable loyalty to the humans in their “pack”. Between their curious stature and sweet personality, it is no wonder they have unique needs as they grow older. Because the French bulldog has a low, stalky, muscular build and a very short muzzle, they are prone to ailments different from other breeds. And, though we might not think of bulldogs as small animals, they are often fewer than 30 pounds and less than one foot tall, making them one of the shortest and brawny breeds. (1)
The Aging French Bulldog Care Guide
Common Ailments in Older French Bulldogs
To take the best possible care of your fun-loving bulldog, it will help to know the most common ailments to look for as he grows older.
- Skeletal Issues
Due to their short yet thick build, French bulldogs can face joint and bone issues as they age, including hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), and hemivertebra. Joint dysplasia can occur when a bulldog’s joints do not develop correctly, therefore causing joint dislocation. Similarly, patellar luxation is akin to a slipped knee-cap, in which the knee joint doesn’t align with the knee tendon. More serious than a simple joint displacement, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) occurs when the cushioning between a bulldog’s vertabrae bursts or swells. If IVDD is not treated or prevented, it can cause discomfort or, in the worst-case scenario, paralysis. If your senior Frenchie is starting to limp, or if he has stopped jumping or running, refrain from long walks and bring him to the vet. (2, 3)
Bulldogs of all ages may experience allergies. This includes aging bulldogs, whose immune systems may not be as strong as when they were young. Because French bulldogs are susceptible to allergies, you may notice an increase in the number of hot spots he has. Likewise, you might notice your pup itching, sneezing, and wheezing more. If your bulldog is struggling to breathe, be sure to bring him to the vet as soon as possible. (4)
- Brachycephalic Syndrome
Your bulldog probably has a cute, squishy muzzle. However, that irresistible adorableness is caused by a constricted face. Unfortunately, because their head, nose, and throat are so flattened, they can experience difficulty breathing. If your dog is becoming a noisier breather with age, it’s possible his larynx could be becoming paralyzed, a symptom of brachycephalic syndrome. Other signs of this disorder include snoring, sleeping on their back, gagging, blue gums, and intolerance to exercise. If you suspect your pup is experiencing symptoms of brachycephalic syndrome, his vet can diagnose him fairly quickly. (5)
- Sensitivity to Heat and Anesthesia
French bulldogs become increasingly intolerant to warm temperatures as they age. Unlike many other breeds, as a rule, bulldogs are sensitive to anesthesia as well. This is likely a result of their constricted airways. As a result, do not anesthetize your bulldog unless your vet thinks it is imperative and the possible benefits outweigh the risks. If your Frenchie lives in a hot climate, make sure he has access to cool air, fans, and water at all times. (1)
Prevention and Maintenance
While thinking about all the conditions your bulldog could face as he gets older may seem quite depressing or worrisome, knowing what to look for empowers you to be the best parent you can be to him. Here are some tips for addressing his aging needs:
- Pay Attention To Your Bulldog’s Body
Keep in mind the signs and symptoms of the conditions bulldogs are prone to. Take note of any and all changes in your aging Frenchie’s behavior and body. If he starts slowing down, struggling to breathe, itching uncontrollably, or expressing pain, he is reminding you to take him to the vet for a check-up.
- Medical Care
Making sure your French bulldog sees his vet regularly, as much as twice a year. The vet should check his skin, hips, throat, knees, and spine at every appointment. Many of the common bulldog conditions are easily treatable with early intervention.
Feeding your French bulldog the healthiest diet possible could help him stay healthier longer. TruDog’s FEED ME Premium Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food is a nutritious premium raw superfood that can help your beloved Frenchie maintain healthy gums, teeth, digestion, and immune system.
Providing your furbaby with supplement to help reduce inflammation, increase range of motion, increase joint cushioning, and reduce discomfort could help him cope better with skeletal issues, should he face them. TruDog’s FREE ME Joint and Flexibility Daily Supplement Soft Chews can help promote your bulldog’s joint comfort and health. Similarly, if your best friend is experiencing skin discomfort, TruDog’s Soothe Me might be just what he needs to feel more comfortable. These delicious chews can help provide your aging French bulldog with a healthy coat and healthy skin. Soothe Me also provides your pooch with fat-soluble nutrients to support intracellular health.
Treating Your Aging French Bulldog’s Conditions
Fortunately, there is great news when it comes to your sweet Frenchie’s health. If you catch any of the common bulldog ailments early on, it is possible to get him adequate treatment and help prevent more serious issues from developing. (1, 2, 5)
Elbow and hip dysplasia can make your bulldog uncomfortable, but they are not cause for alarm. Many dogs live full, joyful lives even with skeletal issues. Likewise, if your bulldog has allergies and is itching terribly, he probably needs a simple diagnosis and easily-administered treatment, which can usually address skin issues within days. Joint problems and allergies can be annoying, but they are treatable. (2, 3, 4)
If your elderly pup is diagnosed with intervertebral disk disease or Brachycephalic Syndrome, there are treatments, procedures, and medications available that help aging bulldogs feel more comfortable even after a serious diagnosis. (2, 5)
French bulldogs give us so much – loyalty, affection, playfulness. They remind us to have a sense of humor and remain lighthearted no matter what. Beyond it all, however, Frenchies are fiercely loyal; therefore, remaining by your pooch’s side no matter how old he gets might be the best way to show him how much you love him.