WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF A FRENCH BULLDOG?
The French Bulldog is, unfortunately, a rather fragile dog breed. Due to its physical peculiarities, such as the characteristic squashed muzzle, this dog breed is prone to a few common health problems. Discover more about the health and life expectancy of your French Bulldog below.
The Average Lifespan of a French Bulldog
The average life expectancy of a French Bulldog is between 9 and 12 years. This is actually rather short for a dog this size; small dogs normally live much longer than large or giant breed dogs. Unfortunately, due to selective breeding, the French Bulldog is quite fragile health-wise. And, as is true for all dogs, this breed is not immune to accidents or diseases either.
The Problem with “Hyper-Types”
Selective breeding has caused some breeds to develop exaggerated physical characteristics, a phenomenon known as “hyper-types”. This is particularly the case with brachycephalic dog breeds such as the Boxer, the Pug, and the English Bulldog, recognisable for their squashed muzzles. (Brachycephaly is the scientific word for a skull that is shorter than usual, in other words, “flat-faced”.) Unfortunately, this particular physical peculiarity is accompanied by respiratory issues. It is quite common to hear Bulldogs snore when they sleep or huff after the slightest physical exertion. The situation is such that these brachycephalic breeds have been banned from air travel following a few traumatic incidents. This is something to be aware of before proceeding with an adoption. It’s important to choose your breeder carefully and be aware of the potential problems associated with the breed.
How Can I Increase My French Bulldog's Life Expectancy?
There are a few precautions you can take that will help improve your dog’s quality of life and thus extend and protect their lifespan.
Choose a High-Quality Diet
The good health of your dog is dependent on the contents of their food bowl. As such, it’s important to provide your French Bulldog with a high-quality diet, adapted to their needs. Dogs are obligate carnivores, who need meat to survive, so opt for dog food that contains at least 25 to 28% animal protein. If possible, avoid the industrial dog food found in most supermarkets. Remember that your French Bulldog's dietary needs will change over time: a puppy’s food requirements will be different than an older dog, for example. Stick to the recommended daily quantity of dog food and go lightly on the treats! You can also use dog food supplements to target specific health problems in your dog. If in doubt, consult your vet or an animal nutrition specialist
Limit Physical Activity
The French Bulldog is known for being something of a homebody. Frenchies are also quite sensitive to high and low temperatures. As such, although your pooch does need some exercise, you need to be especially careful not to let your pup overdo it when the temperature rises; brachycephalic dogs do not tolerate heat very well. Likewise, do not put your Frenchie outside to sleep. Create a sleeping area for your French Bulldog in a cool corner of your house.
Prioritise Dog Training
Proper dog training indirectly contributes to your Frenchie’s health and longevity. By properly training and socialising your dog, you help to protect them from accidents. Coming to you when they’re called and walking calmly to heel are essential learnings that allow you to keep control of your French Bulldog and keep them safe at all times.
Get Serious about Vet Check-Ups
Finally, take your dog for a veterinary check-up at least once a year. Adhere to your dog's vaccination schedule and keep their antiparasitic treatments up to date to protect them from fleas and ticks. Regularly brush your French Bulldog’s coat and clean their teeth, ears, and eyes.
What are the Most Common Health Problems for French Bulldogs?
Unfortunately, the French Bulldog’s health is not as robust as some other dog breeds. This little doggy is affected by several common health problems:
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: This is the result of the French Bulldog’s characteristically short snout. Your Frenchie may snore, have difficulty breathing, and often find themselves out of breath. These breathing problems are caused by the abnormal length of the palate, which then compresses the larynx. There is nothing you can do to prevent or cure this, except take good care of your dog and avoid high temperatures and intense workouts.
Pyloric Stenosis: This disease is also associated with brachycephalic breeds. It is characterised by an obstruction of the pylorus, the passage from the stomach to the small intestine. In dogs with pyloric stenosis, the pylorus is narrowed and unable to empty. Treatment is based on medication, good nutrition, and corrective surgery.
Herniated Disc: This is characterised by the upwards displacement of an intervertebral disc. It is a painful condition, which causes difficulty moving and can lead to paralysis. Treatment is usually surgical.
Gliomas: A glioma is a type of tumour, unfortunately, common for French Bulldogs dogs. It affects the central nervous system. The prognosis is often very bleak.
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