French BULLDOG CARE
INTRODUCTION | GROOMING | DIET/FEEDING | CRATE TRAINING
BEDDING/SUPPLIES | TRAINING | POTTY TRAINING | LEASH TRAINING | NAMING YOUR PUPPY
Handling Your French Bulldog:
First things first: When you pick up a French bulldog puppy make sure you always support his whole body! Start by putting one hand one hand on your French bulldog puppy's chest between the front legs and second one hand on his bottom between his back legs and then lift him gently to your chest. This allows you to support your new French bulldog puppy from both sides. NEVER PICK UP YOUR French BULLDOG PUPPY BY THE SHOULDERS OR ARM PIT AREA. This can cause a dislocating effect in the shoulder area and also restricts the airways and is not good for the spine.
Bringing your French Bulldog baby home:
- Introducing your French bulldog puppy to your family: When I bring a new puppy home I will spend the first few hours or so cuddling and baby talking to him. That makes a bond of security start to develop. This bond will give your new French bulldog puppy more confidence when being introduced to other family members. Remember: a Frenchie puppy is still a baby. Like all babies, he needs lots and lots of love, cuddling, but also lots of sleep; so if you have small children or many other animals, try to make sure your puppy is getting enough rest and isn't being to overwhelmed all at once.
- Moving to a new home, leaving his family and the only humans he has ever really known can be a little scary for the French Bulldog puppy, so try to make the move as easy as possible for your French Bulldog. As if he knows he has you to run back to (becoming a mother of father figure).
- Now your French bulldog puppy needs a name! I personally feel that in most cases it is best to interact with your French bulldog puppy before naming so that you can better pick the name that really fits him or her :) Naming your new French bulldog puppy is one of the joys of getting a new puppy. Heres a few things to in mind:
First - throughout his or her lifetime, you will use your French bulldog's name over 40,000 times. So try to pick a name you and your family will enjoy saying, that won't get old fast or be too embarrassing in public :)
Second - remember that Frenches understand brief commands so names with two syllables or lesser work better. You shouldn't expect your French bulldog puppy to be able to respond to you immediately if you name him a very long name.
Third - The name you pick for your French bulldog puppy should not sound like the rest of the commands. For example, if you name your French bulldog "Kit" it is close with the common command "sit". Having a name like that can be very confusing to your Frenchie). Forth what I like to do is think of names of things or memories that make me happy or that I associate with as a positive experience. For example, your favorite cocktail, your favorite holiday destination, vacation, favorite city in another country (name of a tropical island). Also consider a famous name from history or a character from a story you have read. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF BULLDOG NAMES FROM A-Z.
- Next try to establish a good routine for your Frenchie baby. Make it simple and relaxed at first so that your baby French bulldog feels secure in the new environment. Your French bulldog puppy will need a lot of loving guidance and direction from you during this transition so take advantage of this experience to bond with him. This will allow your French Bulldog to feel comfortable with you and develop his trust for you.
Follow the breeders routine for feeding your French bulldog puppy at least for the first 2 weeks. (The same times, same amount, same brand of food, same supplements). If your breeder did not feed an organic or mostly natural type of food than I do recommend switching your puppy's food after the two weeks is over but slow and gradual. *cancer is the leading cause of death in k-9 s so good food is worth your investments *CLICK HERE FOR DIET*. Feeding your new French Bulldog child in the same place for each meal will help in training, potty training and his security. Be sure your French Bulldog puppy has a nice safe CRATE of his own as a special area for his bed. Give your new French bulldog lots and lots of cuddling, talking, petting and attention.
Sometime during the first week, you should take your French bulldog puppy to your vet for a check up and allow him/her to get to know your French bulldog. Please make sure you find a vet that specializes in bulldog type breeders or at least in brachycephalic type dog breeds. Vets that do not truly understand and take personal interest in the French bulldog breed are likely to misdiagnose your puppy or suggest unneeded surgeries. Also when you do arrive at the vet's office PLEASE do not put your puppy on the floor/ground or allow anyone to touch him without washing hands first until your French bulldog puppy has had at least 3 sets of vaccinations & is over 12 -14 weeks of age.
Housing/Bedding for your French Bulldog:
French bulldogs thrive indoors around their family and in a temperature controlled environment. A French Bulldog can overheat much faster than none brachycephalic type dog breeds. So if it's much over 75-80 degrees (F) your French Bulldog should be in an air conditioned area. And be careful with slippery surfaces such as hard wood floors, tile or linoleum. French Bulldogs are born with joints that are naturally looser than, say, a lab or GS dog so slipping on the floors or in the bath tub can be hard on the joints. I always use a bath mat when bathing.
French Bulldog bedding can be a cotton rug or blanket in his crate. They are fairly cheap and easy to wash and dry. I like to use the artificial sheepskin dog rugs that are available at most pet stores and also wash and dry easily. If your French bulldog starts chewing on or eating hs bedding remove it immediately. Unfortunately some French bulldog puppies can't have these types of beddings until the are old enough to grow out of the puppy chewy stage (as it can be a choking hazard. Also avoid wicker dog beds, or types with any sharp points, as most French Bulldogs love to tear these to pieces and could choke on or swallow the pieces.
Crating your French bulldog puppy! I always recommend using a wire crate for your French bulldog puppy. I always start with the "life stages crate" (wire crate good ventilation) as you can adjust them easily as your Frenchie grows. The life stages crate folds flat for storage and is easy to travel with. French bulldogs actually love having their own private retreat to go to when they want to be left alone. Also it would not be safe to let your puppy have free run of your home when you are away. Just as you wouldn't leave a 2 year old human child loose in your home when you can't watch them. It is much easier to house train a French bulldog puppy if he/she sleeps in a crate. If you travel with your French bulldog, he/she is safer and happier riding in a crate and if you are staying overnight your French Bulldog will have its own place to sleep in.
Supplies for your French Bulldog (Recommended puppy supplies):
A food dish and a water dish with straight sides and flat bottom. Preferably stainless steel.
Collar and lead - your French bulldog's first lead should be a lightweight one, you'll need a strong leather or nylon lead as your French bulldog grows. A harness can be confusing for a French bulldog puppy when they are just learning to follow your tugs. A collar tugs on one area in one direction, whereas a harness tugs their entire chest and back area making it hard for your French bulldog pup to tell what you want him to do. We recommend using a collar while training your French bulldog puppy but after he is well trained a harness is fine (NO CHOKE COLLARS).
DOG NAIL CLIPPERS - (clippers or grinder): We recommend using a Dremmel tool to grind down your French bulldog puppy's nails and making them smooth and rounded (available at most Wal-Marts or hardware stores).
DOG BRUSH- You can use just about any brush on a French bulldog, but the best ones have flexible rubber bristles. Find one that fits comfortably in your hand.
WATER JUG- If you travel with your French bulldog, you'll need a large insulated water jug so you'll have lots of cool water available for your Frenchie. A small water bowl that hooks to the inside of your French bulldog's crate is nice also.
A spray bottle filled with cool water. Lightly spray your French bulldog's face and body if you notice your Frenchie panting or breathing heavily. A must for long walks and road trips.
TOYS - Dog toys: Never give your French bulldog a rawhide toy! Frenchies can tear the rawhide off and choke on it. Most French bulldog puppies LOVE kong toys! Many French bulldog puppies love chasing a ball. Whatever toy you choose just be sure that it is too big to get lodged in your French bulldog puppy's throat. And if you get toys with eyes or buttons on them be sure to tear them off, as your French bulldog puppy can choke on these.
LEASH & COLLAR - lightweight nylon
ORGANIC or NATURAL FOOD
French Bulldog Feeding/Diet:
- Your French Bulldog puppies diet at this age of development is VERY important. French bulldogs grow and develop (hips, joints, immune systems, etc.) up until 18-24 months of age so these are very important stages and the care you take of your Frenchie now can help him develop into the healthiest adult dog possible! If your French bulldog breeder did not feed an organic or mostly natural type of dog food I do recommend switching your puppy's food after the two first two weeks in your home but slow and gradual. *Cancer is the leading cause of death in K-9s, so good food is worth your investments*.
It is best to feed a 2-8 month old puppy 2 or 3 times a day. Avoid making your French Bulldog's food accessible at all the times. I recommend to softening hard kibble with warm water or yogurt until your puppy reaches 6 months of age. Its best to feed your puppy in his crate first thing in the morning and again around 4-6 pm. This way you will have lots of time to taking him out side to go potty before you put him down for the night. I also recommend removing your French bulldog puppy's water after 7pm.
You can begin feeding your French bulldog adult food at about 12-18 months. If you have your French bulldog spayed or neutered, or if because of old age he becomes less active, you will want to switch to a "light" or "low fat" version of your French bulldog's food to avoid obesity. If you notice your French Bulldog puppy is putting on too much weight, you may want to restrict his/her food consumption. Obesity can be a serious health threat to your Frenchie; please see FRENCH BULLDOGS WEIGHT.
Shrinkabulls suggests choosing a quality organic or natural lower protein (around 24%) dog food. I use Fromm 4 Star myself at this time. There are many other good food brands CLICK HERE. But we stress that any of these dog food brands can change their ingredients and ways of processing for the better or worse at any time. So educate yourself on the different brands and check the labels periodically for any changes. Basically the less "junk" in it the better. Avoid food with many of preservatives and fillers as cancer is so common in dogs. And never feed a French bulldog anything with soybeans or soybean oils as these are very difficult for French bulldogs to digest.
Adding yogurt and/or cottage cheese contributes to bone growth and digestive system health of your French bulldog and most French bulldogs love the taste. (1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon per feeding). Maybe 2 when your French Bulldog is an adult.
We suggest supplementing your French bulldog's diet with vitamin C (Ester C) for good immune system support and joint development and strength. You can get this with 120% or higher Vit C all natural orange juice (not from concentrate) or real oranges (2-3 times per week). Or (Ester C) Vit C tablets. Vit C in this natural form is more readily absorbed by the body. Add it to your French bulldog's food masked with yogurt or serve it separately based on your French Bulldog's preference. Also Cod liver oil (1-2 teaspoons a day) are great for the coat and skin (no soybean oil!). Hard boiled eggs (1/2 to 1 per day) are great too, SEE DIET NUTRITION FOR MORE.
Training your French Bulldog:
French bulldogs are very smart & typically easy to train. Some can be a little stubborn at times lol. The good news is French bulldogs are very motivated by praise from you as your Frenchie will crave your attention. Use that to your advantage when training. Just make sure you give your Frenchie time, give lots of praise and be patient and consistent.
Key to good training is an understanding of how a dog thinks. Below is a bit of 'dog psychology' which applies to any canine.
All dogs, including French bulldogs, are thought to be descendants of the wolf. Yes, the resemblance to your French bulldog is nil, but remember this important fact: like all dogs, your French bulldog is a pack animal. At first this description may sound a little savage and unpalatable. But this pack instinct is precisely why dogs wedge themselves so perfectly into our families. They want to belong - to please. When a dog joins a family, even a family of one, a pack is formed. At this point his instincts compel him to seek out the structure of the pack-'Who is the leader?' 'Who is the follower?' Have you ever known a person whose dog is very rude, disrespectful and even a little aggressive? Does he (the dog) 'sass' his owner? (bark back) Does he dart just out of reach when he is reached for? Does he steal food or run away from his owner? Does he bark uncontrollably at guests? These behaviors may indicate that the dog is confused as to his position in the pack. He may have difficulty recognizing his owner as the leader of the pack therefore the dog could attempt to assume the role himself. It is very important to training that you assert yourself as the leader early on. Of course, French bulldogs, just like people, have their own individual personalities. One may just be more willing to accept your correction than another.
Potty Training your French Bulldog:
When potty training your French bulldog puppy, please start with CRATE TRAINING - CLICK HERE, you must first learn to watch for the signs (sniffing, circling, etc). Take your French bulldog puppy out (preferably to the same area every time) right when he/she wakes in the morning, 5 minutes or so after each meal, just before bedtime and about every hour otherwise. Watch your French bulldog puppy until he goes, stop and praise quickly and next remove him from the area as soon as your puppy is finished. This way your French bulldog puppy will learn quickly the reason for these trips to this "spot". Give your French bulldog puppy lots of praise when he/she gets it right. I know I keep saying it but praise for correct action works much better than punishment for mistakes. Don't scold your French bulldog puppy unless you catch it in the act. There will be accidents but remember, your French bulldog puppy is still just a learning baby and doesn't have the mental capacity or muscle control of an adult French Bulldog yet, so be patient - CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILED POTTY TRAINING.
Lead Training your French Bulldog:
It's important to start lead training your new French bulldog baby early. But if you just got your baby French bulldog, you should wait a week or so till he/she is comfortable and relaxed with you and his new environment. Start with a lightweight nylon or leather collar and lead. Make sure the collar is large enough to slip easily over your French bulldog puppy's head with some room for growth. Begin by just holding the collar and letting your French bulldog puppy lead you. This will get him/her used to the idea of a collar. Then gradually start coaxing your French bulldog pup to follow you with calls and gentle 'tug-release' pulls on the lead. Never drag or pull your French bulldog puppy around . You want this to be an enjoyable experience for your new French bulldog puppy. Don't play with him/her during these training sessions, but do offer praise when your French bulldog/child follows you correctly.
Grooming a French Bulldog:
Proper French bulldog grooming is a relatively low maintenance affair. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE YOUR French BULLDOG TO THE PROFESSIONAL GROOMER UNLESS THE GROOMER KNOWS French BULLDOGS WELL. You can do a much safer job grooming your French bulldog at home. The main areas of concern are the coat, the nails, the ears and of course those cute, wrinkles, tail. We will start with brushing.
French Bulldog Brushing:
Brushing is key to a healthy, shiny coat. Most French bulldogs love being brushed so it shouldn't be a problem. Brush at least 3 times a week with any good dog brush that fits your hand comfortably. Start at the back and move forward. Then brush from front to back. Your aim in brushing is to remove dead hair and to evenly distribute natural body oils. This will keep your Frenches's skin healthy and his/her coat shiny and smooth.
Bathing a French Bulldog:
A French bulldog who is regularly brushed will not need frequent bathing. Most French bulldog owners only bathe their bullies when they obviously need it. But when it is time for a bath you will need to gather up everything you will need including: shampoo, Q tips, cotton balls, nail clippers, wash cloth and towel. Choosing a shampoo for your French Bulldog is much like choosing one for yourself. There is no 'best' but probably a 'worst'. You can try different brands till you find the one that agrees with your French Bulldog's skin and coat. Myself, I use VET BASICS® Oatmeal Shampoo.
Begin by placing a cotton ball in each of your French bulldog's ears. Then thoroughly wet your French Bulldog from just behind the ears to his tail being sure to get the underside also. Apply the shampoo and work it in thoroughly everywhere including between the toes, under the tail and the genital area. Use a washcloth with shampoo to clean his face and wrinkles. Use a cotton ball or Q-tip to clean the inside of your French bulldog's ears but don't go too far in. Avoid spraying water in the face (nose) or in the ears. Now rinse thoroughly so that every bit of shampoo is off your French Bulldog. You can now remove the cotton balls from your French bulldog's ears. You can towel dry, use a hair dryer or simply let him/her drip dry. Put a little Vaseline on your French bulldog's nose to keep it moist and soft and last but not least clean ears and trim nails.
French Bulldog Nail Cutting:
A French bulldog's nails usually need trimmed 2 times a week when they are pups. Once a week for adult French bulldogs. If the nails get too long it can cause his toes to spread out unnaturally and make the foot deformed. Use a Dremmel tool or dog nail clippers. Cut or grind just to the curve of the nail.
French Bulldog Wrinkles:
Wrinkles on most French bulldogs don't take long to clean. Use a wet cloth to clean them then dry thoroughly. I do not use soap or shampoo on the fact but clear distilled vinegar works well. After cleaning and drying put some corn starch in your French bulldog's wrinkles to keep them dry if your French bulldog needs it. Baby wipes with aloe and lanolin are great for on-the-go wrinkle cleaning.
French Bulldog Ear Care/Cleaning:
The French Bulldog breeders ears are great dust catchers that need to be cleaned and examined weekly to make sure no infection or wax build up has accrued.
When grooming your French bulldog, be careful not to get water and shampoo down the ear canal. Wet ears are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. A gentle wipe out a cotton swab, or if there is evidence of dirt and grime in the ear a littler ear cleanser should do the trick. I get my ear cleaner from Revival Animal Health.
Care must be taken with cotton buds as they can compact wax down into the ear and damage the lining. Regardless of how much you take care of your Frenchie's well being, they are likely to have an ear infection like any dog at some stage of their life. If you have been cleaning your Frenchie's ears regularly and you notice any changes such as the above symptoms take your Frenchie to the vet for an examination and treatment asap. Your French Bulldog vet will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment based on what has caused your dog's ear to become infected.
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