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If you own a Frenchie , you want to keep them with you as long as possible. There are a few ways you can do to make your french bulldog live longer.
With their adorable faces and little chubby bodies, French Bulldogs have quickly become one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Their playful personality and natural charm make them a great family pet, but they also suffer from their fair share of medical issues.
French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed – large, broad head with a short muzzle. Selective breeding has exacerbated this, leading to the breed becoming a high risk for several medical issues. Most of these illnesses are related to their eyes, nose, mouth, lungs and joints.
How long do French bulldog Live ( Life Expectancy )
Unlike most other dog breeds, French Bulldogs very rarely reproduce naturally. This is because they have narrow hip joints, making mating quite difficult.
A healthy French Bulldog who is kept on a high-quality balanced diet and given regular exercise can live between 10 and 14 years.
French Bulldog pregnancies are almost always done through artificial insemination. Their narrow hips, coupled with their large heads make giving birth very risky for the mother, so vets always advise on a cesarean section. Because of this, congenital issues (present at birth) are common.
The most commonly diagnosed illness in this breed is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). Frenchies with this disorder have significant long-term breathing difficulties.
This is caused by their shortened and narrow nostrils reducing the amount of oxygen they can inhale with each breath.
Although Frenchies are capable of living a fairly long time, most do not. A 2013 study of 2,228 French Bulldogs under veterinary care in the UK reported 98 deaths, with an average age of just 3.6 years.
What do most French bulldogs die of?
The two most common causes of death in French Bulldogs is Cancer and neurological disorders such as seizures.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent these conditions, but there are things you can do to manage or limit the symptoms.
Keep walks short if your Frenchie is suffering from pain. Look into physical therapy in addition to pain management. Seizures can be triggered more frequently if your dog becomes excited or stressed. Keep homelife calm and on a regular routine.
During hot weather, heatstroke is also, unfortunately, a common cause. due to their short airways, they cannot lose enough body heat through panting and can suffer heat stroke very quickly.
Tracheal collapse is another common cause of death in Frenchies. This condition is usually connected to those dogs who already suffer from BOAS. Tracheal collapse is when the rings of cartilage that support the windpipe weaken, restricting airflow.
There are other serious medical complaints that may not be fatal for your Frenchie, but will lower their life expectancy and lower their quality of life as they become more severe.
Spinal disorders are a serious medical issue that will reduce your dog’s quality of lift and need regular management. Degenerative Myelopathy is a nerve disease that will cause restricted movement in the hind legs. As the disease progresses, they will also develop problems controlling their bowels.
Hip dysplasia can happen in any breed, but the compact body size and narrow hips make Frenchies more likely to develop the condition.
Hip Dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint rub together, causing deterioration. Eventually it will be bone rubbing on bone, which is painful for the dog and severely limits the movement in the joint.
IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) is another spinal disorder common in breeds with curly tails and short legs. It causes their spinal discs to be misshapen or move, causing severe pain, nerve damage and varying degrees of paralysis.
Arthritis is common in older dogs of any breed, but the Frenchie’s small body means they can develop this joint condition at an early age. They will need gentle daily exercise and careful pain management via medication and physical therapy.
How can I make my French bulldog live longer?
Get A Healthy Frenchie
You can help to improve your French Bulldog’s lifespan before you even get him.
The most important thing you must first consider is where you will get your Frenchie.
Rescue centres are seeing huge increases in the number of French Bulldogs they are caring for. Most are females who are no longer healthy enough to breed.
The rest are given to rescue centres due to medical reasons. Many owners are not prepared for the high vet bills a Frenchie is likely to incur. Only a small number of Frenchies end up in rescue centres because their owners have died or no longer able to care for them.
French Bulldogs tend to stay longer on average than other dogs due to their need for medical treatment or surgery before they are healthy enough to be rehomed. These surgeries are most commonly for breathing difficulties, neutering and skin conditions.
If you decide to get your Frenchie from a private breeder there are a few things you should look out for:
- Will they allow you to see the parents?
- Are they happy to show you the test results for hereditary conditions?
- Can you see where the mother and puppies are kept?
- How does the mother behave towards people?
- How does the mother behave towards the puppies?
- What are the conditions like?
- Are the puppies regularly handled?
- Are the puppies wormed, vaccinated and flea-treated?
A reputable and caring breeder will happily show you the mother, or both parents if they also own the father. They will also be happy to show you where the dogs are kept, the food they are fed and to show you any genetic testing results and registration papers.
The mother should be nurturing and attentive to her puppies. Female dogs who have been overbred and received little veterinary care will show anxiety-based behaviours and will show less interest in her puppies. A well-cared for breeding dog will be happy to greet strangers and will not show any aggression.
The puppies should receive their vaccinations regularly and the breeder should be willing to show you the vet records. They should also confirm which flea and worming treatments the puppies have received.
Their kennel, or home space if they are bred within the home, should be clean, warm and dry. They should have space to move about and access to an outdoor area to exercise daily. The puppies should also be used to human contact and be handled regularly.
Once you get your Frenchie home, you will need to be careful with his daily exercise. due to their restricted airways, Frenchies should not be allowed extended periods of high intensity exercise like running, as they can quickly suffer shortness of breath.
In summer, exercise should be done only in the morning and late evening when the weather is coolest, and in the shade wherever possible.
Carefully managing their exercise will also help prevent them developing hip dysplasia or other joint related conditions.
Most Frenchies cannot swim thanks to their short legs and round, barrel-shaped bodies. Unfortunately, Frenchies love water, so you will need to get them a life jacket if you plan on taking them on walks near water. Swimming is actually great physical therapy and allows them to exercise while keeping cool.
Swimming also prevents your Frenchie from becoming obese. They are prone to weight gain which can put pressure on their joints, so swimming will also help prevent the onset of joint related medical problems.
The last, but no less important thing to consider, is your Frenchie’s diet. As they are small and rounded, they gain weight easily.
To prevent this, they should be given food made from high-quality ingredients such as lean meat like Chicken or Turkey, plus a vitamin source such as leafy greens. Omega 3 and 6 from fish oil will keep their skin and coat in good condition.
Their food should be low in fats and contain no added sugars. If you are giving them natural treats, avoid foods with high sugar content like bananas. Although it is a natural sugar, it can still cause weight gain.
Since Frenchies have short necks, they can easily choke. It is a good idea to purchase a slow feeder bowl. These bowls have knobbly sections that force your dog to take smaller mouthfuls of food.
Not only does this prevent choking but it also reduces the likely of them inhaling air while they eat. This can cause painful digestive issues.
So now you know what to look out for and how to keep your Frenchie fit and healthy. Provided they have come from careful breeding, are given regular short walks or play time and are on a carefully managed diet, you Frenchie will live a long and happy life.