How Can You Tell if Your French Bulldog is Not Feeling Well?

How Can You Tell if Your French Bulldog is Not Feeling Well?

French Bulldogs are playful, affectionate, and charming. They get along well with their human families and other animals. These qualities as well as their adaptable quiet nature makes them a popular choice with residents of cities everywhere. 

Unfortunately, Frenchies are prone to various health problems. According to a study conducted by Royal Veterinary College in London, 72.4% of the French bulldogs surveyed had at least one disorder. The study also found that male Frenchies are slightly more susceptible to health issues than females.

These health issues usually begin when the dog is only two to three years old or even younger depending on the genes. Let’s take a look at some of these health issues. 

Most Common French Bulldog Health Problems

Frenchies as a breed have their fair share of health issues. In fact, over the course of their lifetime, Frenchies will most likely suffer from one or more of the common health problems associated with the breed. Some of these issues emerge as early as 2 or 3 years and can significantly impact your pet’s quality of life.

1. Ear Infections

Frenchies have very narrow ear canals. This makes them very vulnerable to ear infections. They're also prone to allergies which can also give them these infections. When this happens, their ear glands swell up to combat the infections and produce more wax than usual.

This would result in an overproduction of ear tissue and makes the ear canal even narrower, and inflamed. In serious cases, the eardrum could rupture and cause your Frenchie a lot of pain. Watch out for redness inside the ear and excessive ear scratching as warnings of this problem.

2. Conjunctivitis

Because of the genetic makeup of Frenchies, they are more susceptible to conjunctivitis. This is because they’re a short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed. 

Conjunctivitis is usually caused by viral and bacterial infections or allergic reactions to substances. Look out for pink or red eyes in your Frenchie. Other symptoms include blinking more than usual, pus, mucus, or discharge leaking from their eyes.

3. Diarrhea

Stomach upsets are very common in French Bulldogs, so it’s important that you monitor their diet. Viruses, parasites, or e. coli can cause inconsistent bouts of diarrhea in Frenchies as they’re very sensitive.

If their stool is runny, wet, tarry, or has blood in it, your Frenchie may have a serious digestion problem. Other tell-tale symptoms are loss of weight, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.

4. Skin Problems – Skin Fold Dermatitis

French Bulldogs have folded facial skin around their nose and muzzle. This can lead to dermatitis. It can also occur in other parts of their bodies that are folded, such as their necks, armpits, and crotches.

Symptoms of this health problem include biting, itching, and scratching the area. The affected skin area may also be red and have sores. You can prevent dermatitis from occurring by keeping their skin folds dry.

5. Breathing Problems – URT Infection

Since Frenchies are a short-nosed breed, they’re very prone to upper respiratory tract infections. Every bulldog is likely to suffer from these infections at least once in their lives. They’re also very infectious and will occur if your Frenchie spends more time with other dogs. Watch out for symptoms like coughing, nasal congestion, and lethargy.

6. Skin Problems – Pyoderma (bacterial skin infection)

Another common skin problem in French Bulldogs is bacterial skin infections. This happens when your dog has a scratch or cut that becomes infected. Also watch out for itching, pus, red skin, and loss of hair in your Frenchie.

7. Chronic Allergies

Allergies are one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose. They can be as a result of various factors. Food allergies in French Bulldogs are usually reactions to ingredients like dairy, wheat, and different types of meat. Environmental allergies may also be due to substances like cleaning products, mold, pollen, dust, and fleas.

Symptoms of allergies in Frenchies include excessive itching, sneezing, watery eyes, raw patches, and vomiting. To combat environmental allergies use hypoallergenic clothing made especially for French Bulldogs.

All of our Frenchie dog clothing are made with 100 percent organic cotton without harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation or worsen your French Bulldogs' allergies. Our soft organic cotton Frenchie pajamas and dog hoodies provide a protective barrier between your dog’s skin and the outer elements that may contain irritants.

8. Breathing Problems – Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Again, Frenchies are at a high risk of BOAS as a result of their squashed faces and short snouts. This can lead to sleeping difficulties, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, and heat intolerance. This problem tends to occur during exercise and in warmer temperatures.

9. Mobility Issues in French Bulldogs

There are various conditions that can affect a French Bulldog’s mobility. Some include injuries, congenital conditions, and degenerative disease. Medical conditions like luxating patellas and hip dysplasia can also be caused by old injuries. 

10. Heat Stroke

Being small and having a short nose and flat face makes French Bulldogs very prone to developing heat stroke, even in moderate temperatures. It’s known as brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). 

Symptoms of heatstroke in Frenchies include reddened gums, confusion, excessive panting and drooling, rapid heart rate, and bloody vomit or diarrhea. In severe cases, heatstroke may also lead to seizures, fainting, coma, and death.

If you suspect that your Frenchie has a heat stroke, contact your vet immediately. Your Frenchie requires emergency treatment and you need to know how to safely lower his body temperature.

Other conditions affecting French Bulldogs include spinal disc issues, IVDD, and Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).

How to Tell if Your French Bulldog is Sick

Even after taking proper care of your Frenchie, they can still get sick. Don’t we all? Sometimes the symptoms may be difficult to detect. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the early signs. Some of the signs that may indicate that your Frenchie is sick include:


Coughing is pretty common amongst humans. However, if your Frenchie begins to cough, it's a major red flag. It often indicates heartworms, as well as other ailments. Whichever way, take your Frenchie to the vet immediately.

Discharge or Eye Buildup 

This could be indicative of infection or eye irritation. Check to see if the eye is turning red. Also, examine the color of the discharge. If it's green or yellow, your Frenchie may need antibiotic eye drops.


If you notice constant watery stool (particularly if you see a trace of blood), don’t wait any longer and take your Frenchie to the vet for a stool exam.


Some dogs vomit their food particularly if they have difficulty breathing. Frenchies that drink a lot of water can even vomit stomach acid that looks like foamy water. 

However, if your pet throws up very often and vomits everything he eats, then take him to your vet as soon as possible. He may be dehydrated, ingested something bad, or have some underlying conditions.

Not Eating and Drinking 

When we feel sick, we tend to lose our appetites. The same goes for your Frenchie. It's a very strong indication that something isn’t right.

They may have caught a virus or could be in pain. In such cases, don't take any chances and contact your vet immediately.

We Have the Information You Need

Do you need to know more about french bulldogs? If you love learning more about french bulldogs, go ahead and sign up for our Frenchie Blog. There's a lot to learn about them even if you're still thinking about getting one. Find out about their personality, traits, and training tips on our blog.

5 Responses


May 28, 2024

My frenchie is almost 6 months old. Recently when I feed her she inhales her food. So I have been slowly feeding her a little at a time. She tends to vomit every so often. The kibble is still whole in her vomit. Any suggestions

Ariel sligh
Ariel sligh

October 24, 2023

My niece Frenchie is about 7 weeks old. She was outside playing and she ate some poop. She’s been acting strange ever since. Crying and breathing funny. Please help.


October 24, 2023

My boy frenchie is acting lethargic and he was shaking for about 5 mins like he was scared of something I am bringing him to the vet in the morning


October 03, 2022

Ian, my Frenchie has just started acting the same way even had an x ray but nothing seemed to be wrong… what was the outcome of your situation?

ian oldham
ian oldham

June 23, 2022

My frenchy has suddenly started shaking and occasionally yelps when I go near her .I have taken her to the vets and they say ot maybe a sprain to her back leg .They have given her pain killers but after a week she still isn’t very mobile and still seems off .How long does it roughly take for frenchy to get over a sprain. Thank you

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