French Bulldog Breathing Problems – Ultimate Guide 2022

Most dogs may have a terrifying experience in relation to their health. One of these is the breathing issue that is basically a common condition for many dog breeds. Among those which can experience these breathing concerns are the Boston Terriers, Pugs, Shi Tzu, and our beloved French bulldog. But, do not worry as we can do something about these French bulldog breathing problems.

As we go along, we will share to you some basic information that you need to know about the breathing issues face by the Frenchies. Aside from that, we also have here some tips on how to diagnose and treat this health issue of the French bulldog. So, if you want to give excellent care, attention, and love for your Frenchie, check our guide and tips below!

What do you need to know about the French Bulldog breathing problems?

Generally, the Frenchies have flat-face which considers them to be a brachycephalic dog. This condition may basically cause various health concerns like French bulldog breathing problems. The facial anatomy of the French bulldogs basically has short bones having the same level of tissues in their face similar to the normal dog’s muzzle. This means that the inside mouth of the Frenchies has more tissue compared to the muzzle that has space.

french bulldog breathing problems

Moreover, dogs having brachycephalic anatomy have narrow nostrils which also causes French bulldog breathing problems. As you will notice, the Frenchies’ nostrils are generally visible. Due to this, the French bulldogs may experience hard breathing and they cannot able to get sufficient air as well. Basically, the Brachycephalic Syndrome is an abnormality within the upper airway which is very common with the flat-faced dog breed like the Frenchies.

Usually, the main reason for the French bulldog breathing problems is their genetic makeup that produces difficulties on their respiration. Their small nostrils may generally hinder with their breathing. Additionally, the small nostrils are a factor to make the nasal passages obstructed. Due to this, the Frenchies generally exert more effort to get a good breath of air.

The French bulldog breathing problems subject the dog from the inability to oxygenate. If this is the case, the Frenchies cannot cool down making them overheat easily. With this, this dog cannot able to run too far and they cannot absorb the weather during the hot season. Aside from that, the irritation on their respiratory system can generally get worse.

The Symptoms of French Bulldog Breathing Problems

Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome or BAOS is one of the common French bulldog breathing problems. Due to this, the Frenchies breathing may be affected by different breathing concerns like the breathing attack. Moreover, there are varieties of breathing attack that can be quite little or a big annoyance for the Frenchies. There are also other French bulldog breathing problems that are really detrimental to the health of canines.

Here are some of the common signs of French bulldog breathing problems:

  • Apnea
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Labored respiration
  • Mouth breathing
  • Noisy and rapid respiration
  • Snoring, sometimes consistent
  • Snorting
  • Spluttering
  • Vomiting

What is reverse breathing?

There are actually times that the French bulldog breathes or sneeze while sucking the air in and not pushing them. Sometimes, this scenario is partnered with shaking of the head, fluids coming down from the nose, and some coughing. This condition is actually known as the reverse breathing or reverse sneezing. But, there is actually no strong reason for the occurrence of this condition in dogs.

Generally, this reverse breathing or reverse sneezing may have a little bit effect on the French bulldog breathing problems. In every change of season, most Frenchies struggle a lot with allergies like other dog breeds. Moreover, the Frenchies may get excited for sometimes, and during this time, they may have had a little muscle contraction within the throat thus causing them to reverse sneeze.

Additionally, alteration in temperature can also be a factor of the reverse sneezing for the Frenchies. Another triggering factor for reverse breathing is the nasal mites coming from other dogs within the area. In case your French bulldog experiences unprogressive reverse breathing, it is not a thing to worry about. But, if the occurrence of the reverse sneezing is already frequent, it is highly recommendable to consult the veterinarian.

Through this consultation, you might able to know if it is an indication of any underlying respiratory or hypersensitivity issue that needs immediate attention and care. Moreover, if it really brings worry to you, consider doing the following methods in stopping the reverse breathing of canine.

  1. Lightly massage the throat of your French bulldog. This will generally aid in clearing out the airways and basically stop the attack of sneezing.
  2. Cooldown the Frenchies and place them into a more relaxing area.
  3. Softly push down the tongue of the French bulldog to make them open their mouth wider and allow the entrance of more air into the lungs. Moreover, this will also clear up any hindrance in producing the attack.
  4. Block the nose of your Frenchies for a moment or with just a couple of seconds. This will basically encourage swallowing and getting rid of the cause of nasal passage problems.

French Bulldog Rapid Breathing

Unlike other dog breeds that generally have longer noses, French bulldogs seem to breathe fast. Basically, it is usually effortless for the Frenchies to start breathing rapidly. Besides, the anatomical features of this dog breed are built not to breathe as easy as the other breeds. Most likely, their mouths are always open in order for them to breathe air more easily.

The breathing pattern of the French bulldog tends to be labored and quite rapid even they are generally standing. But, in the case of the Frenchies laying down and comfortably resting, their breathing is not as fast and their mouth is entirely shut. And, in case, they run or move around, their breathing starts to get faster. This time, the mouth of the Frenchies will be open wider with their tongue hanging out and a little movement of their chest.

french bulldog breathing problems

French bulldogs really love jumping and running around. But, as their pet owner, it is your responsibility to monitor them closely especially when it comes to their breathing. Closely monitor if the breathing is becoming fast or rapid.

If you are going to let your Frenchie undergo some exercising activity, make it a quick and short session allowing time for the French bulldog to regain its breath. Moreover, also keep in mind the recommended amount of exercise of the Frenchies per day. This should be around 1 hour and divided into two or three walks session. Generally, this may help them to avoid any French bulldog breathing problems.

Other Respiratory or Breathing Problems of French Bulldog

The Brachycephalic Syndrome is the most common issues among the flat-faced dog breeds such as the French bulldog. This may generally expose them to numbers of respiratory distress. Here are some of the other respiratory issues that your Frenchies may experience:

Stenotic Nares

This is actually characterized by the naturally-structured narrow or small nostrils of the French bulldog. Typically, this may lead to restriction of the airflow inside the lungs of the Frenchies.

Aspiration Pneumonia

A quite serious French bulldog breathing problem is the Aspiration Pneumonia in which the foreign matter usually hosts the unnecessary bacteria which will eventually lead to a nasty infection. Basically, this problem comes from the excess amount of the obtrusive tissues in the upper airway of the French bulldog respiratory system.

Swollen Tonsils

Basically, the swollen tonsils may be caused by the progressive inflammation of the sensitive tissue located within the throat. This is also troublesome French bulldog breathing problems making them breathe harder.

How to Diagnose French Bulldog Breathing Problems?

Generally, seeing your Frenchies suffering from breathing difficulties may cause panic and worry for pet owners. Luckily, there are things that you can do right away once you notice those symptoms of French bulldog breathing problems. Consider these ways below to immediately resolve your French bulldog breathing problems:

Watch out for French bulldog breathing problems

1. Listen to the breathe of your Frenchies

When the Frenchies is not stress and under normal conditions or cool weather, you may usually hear noisy breathing. At this stage, it may not actually bother your Frenchies. But, the moment you close your eyes and there are noisy breathing like rasping or honking sounds, this probably means that your dog suffers from French bulldog breathing problems.

2. Check your dog while having exercise

Basically, doing this may help a lot in diagnosing the French bulldog breathing problems. If he usually lags between walking or reluctant to undergo an exercise, he has breathing trouble. Moreover, you may observe the heavy panting of the Frenchies having a tongue that lolling out.

french bulldog breathing problems

Generally, exercise for dogs may exaggerate the French bulldog breathing problems as it adds up more demand on their body. Suffering from breathing difficulties may require their body more oxygen which they cannot able to supply because they cannot draw more air inside.

3. Look the inner part of the dog’s mouth

Struggling with breathing and do not have sufficient oxygen may usually make the mouth membrane and tongue of the Frenchies appear blue or purple. Keep in mind that a dog’s healthy membranes must have a pink color. Sometimes, you may also notice that your Frenchies may drool. This is generally due to the fact that he is having a hard time on his breathing and does want to take some time for swallowing.

4. Check on the behavior of your French Bulldog

Collapsing or fainting is the usual result of Frenchies’ overtiring due to insufficient oxygen level. Basically, during hot weather, the French bulldog may look uncomfortable and really tired. This is because it makes it hard for them to breathe.

Ask for the diagnosis of the veterinarian

Once you really don’t know what to do in case you notice any symptoms of the French bulldog breathing problems, immediately call the attention of the veterinarian.  

1. Go to the vet with your Frenchies

At the vet’s clinic, he will generally observe for the breathing pattern of your French bulldog. Aside from this, the chest movements will also be checked and monitored. Additionally, he will check for physical markings that hinder the dog’s breathing such as the small and narrow nostrils or a large tongue.

Another step that the veterinarian will have to take is listening to your dog’s chest, lungs, and heart using a stethoscope. This will generally aid in ruling out any symptoms of chest infections and heart murmurs that may result in lungs fluid buildup on the canine. Perhaps, these conditions may both cause French bulldog breathing problems.

  • Normally, the dog breathes by moving their chest in and out and the abdomen is actually steady. Once the vet observes that the breathing of your Frenchies is through the abdominal muscles, this basically means that he is suffering from French bulldog breathing problems.
  • Generally, the vet will include the checking of the dog’s lungs and heart because it may affect the safety of the anesthesia during surgery.
2. Let the vet examine the throat of your dog

In case you allow the vet to check on the throat of your Frenchies, he may basically examine the dog’s back throat. Doing this process will necessitate anesthesia to sedate your French bulldog. Once the dog is already sedated, it is time for the vet to pull out his tongue forward to inspect the area. And while on the sleeping stage, the vet will insert an endotracheal tube so that the dog’s airway may keep open.

However, using anesthesia may be associated with some risk. This is due to the fact that the dog may not able to protect their airway. Due to this, some vet may also put an intratracheal tube into the dog’s windpipe.

3. Try to go for further testing

In case the vet sees another underlying condition that causes the symptoms of the French bulldog breathing problems, he may require another testing. Further testing needed are the following:

  • Chest x-rays – can rule out canine pneumonia, cancer, and lungworm
  • MRI, CT scan and other advanced imaging techniques – can visualize the anatomy of the Frenchies most likely the soft palate, tonsils, and windpipe. Due to this, it is very essential for the veterinarian to have an idea on the length of the dog’s palate, tongue and tonsils. Knowing this information may help them to come up with appropriate corrective surgery.
4. Follow the recommended treatment

Most likely, the veterinarian will recommend corrective surgery in trimming and remodelling the nostril and the soft palate of the French bulldog suffering from breathing problems. Doing this can basically improve the shape of the dog’s back throat thus allowing more air to enter into the nostrils. Moreover, removing the tonsils may also be recommended by a specialist surgeon.

How to Treat French Bulldog Breathing Problems?

Basically, treating French bulldog breathing problems highly depend on the frequency of the problem. There are simple, easy, and immediate ways as part of the treatment for this Frenchies health concern. You can basically reduce down their weight if they are overweight so that respiratory distress may lessen.

Moreover, cooling them and avoiding the summer heat may also be good since the French bulldogs are not heat-tolerant. But, once the French bulldog breathing problems get worse, the treatment should also need to be more complex. It generally requires the assistance of the veterinarian and involves medical or surgical treatments.  

Immediate Treatment – Identification of the Signs of Breathing Problems

1. Focus on the noises cause by breathing

Generally, most pet owners tend to ignore most of the snorts and snores produce by the French bulldog which they don’t know are already symptoms of the French bulldog breathing problems. Check for those symptoms that we have mentioned earlier so that you can be aware of your Frenchies health status.

2. Check for the signs of oxygen deficiency

Actually, there may be worse case scenarios in which the Frenchies may not able to get the sufficient oxygen that they need in order to oxygenate the blood. This will generally show in their gums and tongue which will eventually turn blue. In case you notice these changes in their appearance, it is highly recommendable to immediately bring them to the vet. The veterinarian may provide them with emergency oxygen.

3. Know more about the French bulldog breathing problems

To be able to learn and execute basic treatment, it is actually essential to initially learn the French bulldog breathing problems. Generally, most of the problems are caused by the small size of the bone cavity of the nose but have the same size of soft tissues around the tongue and soft palate. Aside from that, like what we’ve discussed earlier, the Frenchies have narrow and small nostrils. Additionally, their tongue is not able to shrink back while having a shortened nose which means that the large tongue should fit into the smaller space inside their mouth.

Home Treatment – Caring for French Bulldog Breathing Problems

1. Get your Frenchies out of the heat

During the hot weather, keep in mind that the French bulldog may struggle a lot, especially in terms of breathing compared with the other dog breeds. That’s why it is very important to keep them cool and prevent them from exercising under the heat of the day. Moreover, when your Frenchies is in the outdoor, make sure that there are shades around them and that they are not under the direct sun. Additionally, try to keep them inside, most likely in an air-conditioned area, if you are already aware that the day will be hot.

2. Allow them to break during their exercise activity

In case you are going out for some walks with your Frenchies, allow them to stop and rest frequently. If ever you noticed that the breathing is more exaggerated and highly distressed, better to stop right away and cool down your Frenchies. Basically, offer them some water to drink and some water that can be poured on their body. However, make sure that the water is not an ice-cold one so that the dog may not experience any shock.

3. Hydrate the dog often

As you walk with your French bulldog outside, consider bringing with you plenty of water, especially if the weather outside is warm. Always allow your dog to stop more often and let them drink so that they may cool down.

4. Use harness when walking your Frenchies

Simple but very helpful home treatment for French bulldog breathing problems is the use of harness around your Frenchies chest instead of the collar within their neck. This will generally help in preventing the pressure within the windpipe so that mild symptom of the French bulldog breathing problems may be alleviated.

french bulldog breathing problems

Generally, a dog collar restricts the breathing of the dog particularly if the Frenchies will be pulled on its leash. Through this, the harness may be a lot of help because it does not have any contact on the throat of the French bulldog. Just ensure that the harness properly fits your Frenchies and strictly follow the manual or the instruction on the packaging so that it may be too tight or too loose.

Surgical Treatment

Actually, surgery is not always an option for French bulldog breathing problems especially if they have elongated palates, pinched nostrils, or swollen saccules. Basically, the problem may call for this kind of treatment depending on the issues, age of the dog, and the severity of the condition. And, its flat facial anatomy permits the French bulldog to be susceptible to problems with anesthesia. So, this means that the veterinarian will have to make a complete examination after the diagnosis of the problem to assess the dog’s health prior to coming up with a concrete treatment plan.

1. Understand more the breathing of your Frenchies

Having a brachycephalic airway syndrome, the change of pressure basically sucks the soft palate against the windpipe’s entrance as the dog breathes in. This will generally block the air off causing the Frenchies to choke and gasp for some air to breathe.

Moreover, the laryngeal saccules may also impact the French bulldog’s breathing. These saccules look like the tonsil and are situated inside the voice box or larynx of the dog. Additionally, the hypoplastic trachea also affects the French bulldog breathing problem.

2. Consult the veterinarian

Generally, the veterinarian can diagnose the French bulldog breathing problems and can discuss it clearly to you. Hearing about it may help you figure out if you will let your Frenchies undergo specific surgery. Moreover, with the help of the veterinarian, assess how bad the breathing of the dog is. Basically, there are French bulldogs that are having a hard time breathing and only requires the corrective surgery to improve this problem.

It is very much essential that you have a discussion with your veterinarian regarding this matter especially if surgery is involved. However, there are some French bulldog breathing problems that cannot be changed by surgery. These breathing issues for canines include the hypoplastic trachea and large tongue.

3. Undergoing on the nostril surgery

With the help of the general anesthesia, the veterinarian will cut the triangle of flesh located on the outside border of the dog’s nostrils. Doing this will basically result in a larger gap in order to allow the air to pass through. Generally, this will result in the widening of the French bulldog’s nostrils allowing the dog to breathe easily using its nose. 

4. Bring up the option of soft palate resection

In case the Frenchies is given anesthesia, the surgeon identifies the amount of the additional tissues that are present in the back throat. During the soft palate resection, the vet cuts back the soft palate. Generally, the goal is to remove sufficient tissue in order that there would be no flapping tissue present within the turbulence of the windpipe opening.

5. Try resection of the laryngeal saccules

Another option to address the French bulldog breathing problems is to remove the laryngeal saccules. The resection of the laryngeal saccules works by removing two obstructions present at the space within the back throat. This will result in the opening of more space to pass air.

The cost of surgery for French bulldog breathing problems

Generally, the price of letting your Frenchies to undergo surgery highly depends on some various procedures to take into account. The Stenotic nares resection has a price range of $200 to $1000. Meanwhile, prepare about $500 to $1500 or more than that if you want to have a soft palate resection for your dog. This may also increase depending on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the dog.

But, whatever the cost, the veterinarian chooses to operate so that French bulldog breathing problems may improve. Perhaps, this treatment must be the last option to be chosen upon. You must initially do everything and exert every effort to help in the reduction of your Frenchies respiratory distress. Consider everything to cut down the stressors for your dog, from maintaining their weight and cool down their temperature to changing their collars to a dog harness.

Moreover, try using nose cream to help the Frenchies alleviate the dryness or sensitivity within the nose. Surgery can generally be of great help but remember that it also comes with some risks. Yet, just for the sake of your beloved Frenchies, the recovery from those surgical treatments will be quite quick.

How to Avoid the Breathing Problems of French Bulldog?

Basically, the breathing problem is a common health concern for the French bulldog. So, once you decided to buy a Frenchie, prepare yourself not only with the financial cost but also for the emotional aspect of dealing with them. Managing the mild cases entails simple and basic ways of intervention. But, if the case is severe and more serious, generally, you need the help of the veterinarian.

Meanwhile, all of those interventions may not be done if you have the eagerness to avoid the occurrence of such a breathing problem for your Frenchies. And, remember, without taking the necessary precautions, the French bulldog breathing problems may get worse.

Do not let your Frenchies to over-exercise

An excessive amount of exercise may lead to difficulty of breathing in canine because they will not take in enough amount of air that they need. To avoid this, only allow them to have a short exercise of about 10 to 15-minute walk in every single day. Moreover, be very alert about the symptoms that your Frenchies will have to show. An early morning walk or evening walk is the best option if you want to give your Frenchies some sort of exercise.

However, also take note that the exercise requirement of an adult French bulldog and a puppy are generally different. For pups, it is not essential to give them over strenuous walk as it could be detrimental to the health of your Frenchie pup. Perhaps, as a rule of thumb, walk the French bulldog puppy for a time span of two minutes which varies for every month of age. This means that six minutes walk is highly suitable for a three-month-old Frenchie pup.

As they walk, it is very important that you always monitor and keep an eye for the signs of fatigue. If there is any or if the puppy seems too tired, immediately stop the walking session.

Always keep the French bulldog out of the heat

French bulldogs are generally susceptible to heatstroke due to their facial anatomy. They cannot able to get in enough amount of oxygen to cool them down and refresh for a while. Basically, they are having trouble regulating their own body temperature effectively. That’s why it is very much important not to allow your Frenchies to exert too much on physical activities.

Final Thoughts

The French bulldog breathing problems are generally the most important consideration to take into account when you want to own a Frenchie. They basically demand much of your attention and alertness at the same time to monitor the symptoms of the health issues that they are prone to. Depending on the severity of their condition, the treatment generally varies. You can even take a basic home intervention to offer them immediate care once you notice the symptoms of breathing problems that they face.

Moreover, for a severe case, you must basically need the help of the veterinarian and even surgeons to attend this. However, opting for this kind of treatment should basically be the last resort. Perhaps, regardless of the mode of intervention that you choose to address the breathing problems of your Frenchies, it is actually important to treat them and care for them. French bulldogs must be treated properly and must be provided with the best care that they deserve.