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From VetChef vets and nutritionists

French Bulldogs

It may be called the French Bulldog but some of this breed's ancestry stems from the UK. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th Century, the livelihood of lacemakers in Nottingham was threatened and many of them emigrated to Northern France. They took with them their beloved Toy Bulldogs. After some decades of breeding with other short-faced dogs, the French Bulldog emerged. It was during the 19th Century that the breed returned to Britain and was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1902.

Some other breeds may be considered more glamorous but, this short, substantially built little powerhouse is one of the best dogs for a family with children. They love human company and can become totally loyal to their pet parent. The Frenchie loves to play but when he's done with that, you will most likely find him asleep on the sofa.

As with all dogs there are some health issues associated with the French Bulldog.

Breathing Difficulties

Being a brachycephalic breed, (brachy meaning short and cephalic meaning head), the French Bulldog has a higher risk of developing breathing difficulties. These dogs have been bred to have a shorter nose and often a shorter skull. With the Frenchie the nostrils are also often very thin and narrow with a lot of tissue at the back. This can lead to problems with breathing which can be exacerbated by exercise and heat. So, if you are looking for a companion that doesn't need too much exercise, the Frenchie is a great choice. However, this means it is vital for your dog to maintain an ideal weight. Check your dog regularly from the top and the side. Viewed from above your Frenchie should have a bit of a tuck to his waist, and with gentle pressure you should be able to feel the ribs. To maintain an ideal weight feed your Frenchie a diet to include fresh fruit and vegetables. The FREE My VetChef app can help you with this, creating bespoke recipes tailored to meet your Frenchie's individual nutritional requirements. Click here to get started.

Neurological Conditions

Some French Bulldogs can develop spinal issues. If you notice your Frenchie having difficulty getting up, walking with a strange gait or you think there is some loss of feeling in the back legs, check with your veterinarian. Further investigations may be needed but maintaining an ideal weight with a healthy diet may help to prevent some of these conditions. VetChef can give you advice on an appropriate diet.

Arterial Hypertension and Sleep Apnoea

All brachycephalic dogs are at risk of arterial hypertension and sleep apnoea, and the French Bulldog is no exception. Their compact facial structure affects their airways and although their snoring may sound cute, it is one of the main signs of sleep apnoea. Check with your veterinarian as surgery, to widen the nostrils and improve the airways may be an option. Again, carrying too much weight can make this condition worse and could lead to arterial hypertension. Both these conditions can be associated with a chronic magnesium deficiency, so it is important to get your dog to a veterinarian for a check. However, you as a pet parent can take action to help your Frenchie, by ensuring he has a balanced and nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit.

Chronic Colitis

Granulomatous colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease found mostly in French Bulldogs and Boxers but occasionally in other mastiff breeds. Signs include:

· weight loss

· anaemia

· bloody diarrhoea

· debilitation

A fresh food diet to include vegetables and fruit with probiotics will help to improve your Frenchie's digestive system.

Eye Problems

Frenchies have eyes which bulge out and their short snout offers little protection. So, this breed is susceptible to a variety of eye problems.

Cherry eye is one of the most common problems for Frenchies. If you see a red, irritated area of fleshy tissue at the inside corner of one or both eyes, your dog may have this condition. This is not an emergency situation, although it can lead to more serious complications. So, get your primary veterinarian to check it out as soon as possible.

Dry eye involves inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissue. The eye is dry because your dog isn't making enough tears. You may notice a discharge and excessive blinking. More often involving middle aged and older dogs, this condition requires a veterinary consultation and treatment may include drops or ointment, possibly on a lifetime basis.

A Corneal ulcer is a serious problem and could result in blindness or loss of an eye. This condition could be caused by trauma to the eye, or untreated infections, or chemical burns from shampoo or soap. So, be very careful when bathing. If you suspect this condition, you must get your Frenchie to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you'd like a range of bespoke recipes specifically tailored to meet your Frenchie's nutritional requirements, sign up for a FREE account at My VetChef.

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