French Bulldog Breathing Issues

Cute and cuddly, French bulldogs are a loving part of any pet owner’s family. These small warriors are tough for their size but bear their fair share of problems. This article will deal with different types of French bulldog breathing issues.

This special bulldog breed began by breeding dogs with smaller noses and muzzles. This type of dog falls into the brachycephalic category, which means that they have a broader and shorter skull. This causes them to be the target of certain respiratory issues. Although these issues aren’t restricted to French bulldogs, French bulldog breathing problems can be severe in some cases and require serious measures.

Readers will benefit from reading this guide since we will tackle different issues, like identifying whether your Frenchie is in distress or just breathing actively. Along with this, we will try to learn about different measures you can take to prevent Frenchie breathing problems and how to deal with a situation if you see your French bulldog wheezing, gasping for air, or having a breathing attack.

So, let’s get into this guide!

What causes your French bulldog breathing problems?




There are several reasons behind your doggie facing breathing issues.

As we mentioned previously, the main reason is that French bulldogs are from the brachycephalic muzzle type of dog. This type of dog has a shorter muzzle than other types, making it harder for all the different organs to fit comfortably in their skull.

All this accumulation of extra organs and tissue can put stress on the nostrils, which can close up, causing your Frenchie to make an extra effort when breathing.

Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, or BOAS, is when your dog has obstructed breathing due to their shorter skull and muzzle. This can lead to snoring, loud breathing, and breathing from the mouth, along with respiratory distress and struggling to breathe normally. Sadly, this condition exists in all French bulldogs and can also be a lifelong issue.

Overexertion or overheating

French bulldogs are more susceptible to tiring since they’re not built to withstand long periods of exercise or activity. And since they don’t sweat the same way we do, French bulldogs have a tough time trying to keep cool in extremely hot weather.

This is because dogs sweat by panting and letting moisture through their paws instead of sweating through their skin. This can be especially challenging for them when they’re in a more humid environment where temperatures are higher.


Like humans, dogs can fall victim to anxiety as well. Dogs do not generally prefer staying alone for long periods of time, and prolonged periods of being away from their family can cause a dog to have separation anxiety.

Aside from potential destructive behavior, your dog might start feeling unwell or start breathing rapidly, which can further cause respiratory issues.

Identifying French bulldog breathing issues




Sometimes, what you mistake for normal breathing might actually be symptoms of a breathing problem. At other times, your Frenchie might be okay, and you might be over-worried. Here are some helpful tips for identifying whether there is a serious issue with your Frenchie.

Observe your dog’s breathing during exercise

Since French Bulldogs are subject to breathing difficulties, you should note their breathing when doing any aerobic exercise.

If it seems obvious that your doggie is struggling to breathe during normal exercise sessions, that may be cause for concern and you might need to take them to a vet. If you see your French bulldog wheezing while you’re out for a walk, you need to pay attention to its symptoms.

Exercising in hot weather may also cause your Frenchie some respiratory issues. If you see your Frenchie gasping for air, you must stop the exercise until it’s better.

Observe breathing during the resting period

Aside from exercise, your Frenchie shouldn’t necessarily face any breathing problems. Monitor them while they are resting or sleeping, and see whether you notice anything weird in their breathing patterns. Ideally, you should hear some slightly noisy breathing which doesn’t seem to bother the doggie.

On the other hand, if you hear some honking or rasping sounds, your Frenchie struggles to breathe even in normal conditions. This might require a visit to the vet, who will be able to diagnose further what’s wrong with your precious pup.

Check your dog’s mouth

Since brachycephalic dogs have narrowed nostrils and shorter facial bones, their mouth is small for their tongue, which can partially block the air canals.

Check your dog’s mouth to see if there are any symptoms of the brachycephalic syndrome. These can be in the form of their mouth membranes looking blue or purple. Ideally, healthier membranes should appear pink in color.

Vomiting or gagging

Vomiting or gagging can be surefire symptoms of French bulldog breathing issues. This can also lead to aspiration pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when contents from the stomach and intestines get inhaled into the lungs. This can be very dangerous for French bulldogs and can be lethal in some cases. Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia are an inability to eat properly, coughing, fever, weakness, and an increased rate of your doggie collapsing.

Aspiration pneumonia can also lead to lung infection and secondary inflammation, so make sure to break down the food you give them and avoid anything that may cause a reaction in your dog’s system.

How to avoid French bulldog breathing problems




Now that we’ve covered the underlying causes behind your pup’s breathing issues and the different ways to identify them let’s try to see the best ways to avoid these issues.

When you’re out on a walk

If you’re going to take your dog on a walk, make sure that the time of day is either in the evening or in the early morning. This is because walking in direct sunlight can be very distressing for your dog when the temperatures are at their highest.

Prolonged exposure to heat and constant exercise can cause your French bulldog breathing attacks, and you definitely don’t want that.

Keep lots of water with you so your pup can easily refresh with a drink when you’re out on a walk. You can also pour some water on your doggie to help it stay cool if the weather is warmer. Make sure that the water is cool but not freezing since that can cause a shock to your pup’s system.

Also, try to get a harness instead of a dog collar for your pup since this will put less pressure on their neck. Since dogs always try to run ahead, the constant strain on their neck might cause them to choke or face breathing issues. The last thing you want is a French bulldog breathing attack while you’re out on a walk.

Another point would be to keep your walks to a minimum of 10-15 minutes when you’re with your Frenchie. If you see your French bulldog wheezing, slow down or stop. Massage their neck to improve the airflow; if symptoms persist, pick them up and take them home.

When you’re at home

While at home, keep your pup out of warmer rooms where it can get a little claustrophobic for your furry friend, and confine them to areas that are cooler. Make sure that the temperature in rooms isn’t freezing but cool. This will be ideal for your Frenchie to breathe properly.

Make sure that clean and cool water is available for your Frenchie at all times. You can do this by placing a few bowls of drinking water around the house that your dog can easily access if they want a drink.

Confine any exercise sessions for small periods of time, so you don’t put your dog through any unwanted overexertion.

Seeing a Vet

If serious symptoms persist, then it might be time to see a vet. Only a vet can give you the final word on whether your dog needs further help or its issues might be solved with some medication.

Vets will thoroughly examine your dog’s abdomen, lungs, and chest to identify whether any internal problems cause your pup’s respiratory problems. They might recommend some sort of surgery to correct any issues that might exist from birth. Although this isn’t common, corrective surgery can sometimes really improve your Frenchie’s breathing.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, always remember to keep your French bulldog out of extreme heat, as it can affect its ability to stay cool, leading to respiratory issues.

Keep exercise, including walks, to the minimum and avoid overexerting your dog since that can cause them to start wheezing or struggling to breathe properly. Keep water within reach whenever you have your dog go through any exercise since you can use it to give them a drink or to keep them cool.

And as always, take your pup to the vet regularly. This can help nip any issues in the bud and increase the chances of your Frenchie living a healthy life!

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