French Bulldog breathing


Hi there!

I'm currently looking after a friend's French Bulldog and I've noticed that he really struggles to breathe - all the time - but especially when we're out on walks. Is this painful for him? Is there any way that I can make sure he's comfortable? I'm just worried about the poor little guy.

Thank you so much!

2 answers

Hi Lily, 

          French Bulldogs are classed as a brachycephalic breed, defined by a short-muzzle with a flattened face. It is the result of a genetic mutation which alters the way that the bones in their skulls grow. As a result, the shape of their skull is wide and short. Due to this, they are prone to breathing issues and do struggle more than a long muzzled, non brachycephalic breed. It is definitely always best to have them seen over by a vet if you are concerned as they are  qualified professionals who are able to assess his breathing. Would this be something you would be able to do or recommend to your friend? Having an individual examination will produce specific advice for the French Bulldog mentioned. There are also procedures available to improve airflow in the upper respiratory system, which will improve the animals quality of life should they be suffering (BOAS surgery).

In regards to your worries, I think it's great that you are paying such close attention and have sought out advice! I would recommend walking in cooler parts of the day as thermoregulation can be impaired with this breed. Also limit your exercise in terms of length and exertion as to not overdo it. This will make them more comfortable and have an easier time breathing than strenuous high energy walks. Also it can be beneficial to prop their heads up slightly if they're lounging or sleeping, by placing a small pillow or blanket under them! 

Kinds regards and don't be afraid to seek professional advice if you believe he may be suffering or deteriorating! Acting fast is key!



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French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, which means they have a shorter snout than most other breeds of dog. This can cause them to have breathing difficulties, especially during physical activities like walking or running. This condition is called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and can cause discomfort and distress for affected dogs.

While it may not necessarily be painful, it can be uncomfortable for your friend's French Bulldog to breathe when he is struggling with BOAS. As a caregiver, there are several things you can do to help him feel more comfortable:

  1. Keep your friend's French Bulldog cool: heat exacerbates BOAS symptoms. Make sure your friend's French Bulldog has access to shade and water, especially during hot weather.

  2. Avoid strenuous exercise: limit the amount of exercise you do with your friend's French Bulldog and keep it low-impact, such as short walks around the block.

  3. Use a harness instead of a collar: collars can put pressure on your friend's French Bulldog's throat, making it more difficult to breathe. A harness will distribute pressure more evenly and make breathing easier.

  4. Monitor your friend's French Bulldog closely: watch for signs of distress, such as excessive panting or wheezing. If you notice any of these signs, take a break and give your friend's French Bulldog time to rest.

  5. Consult a veterinarian: if your friend's French Bulldog is having significant difficulty breathing or if you're concerned about his comfort level, consult a veterinarian. They can evaluate the severity of his BOAS and recommend treatments or management strategies that can help him breathe easier.

Overall, it's important to be mindful of your friend's French Bulldog's breathing difficulties and take steps to help him feel comfortable. With the right care and attention, you can help ensure that he is as happy and healthy as possible.

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