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It’s easy to see why French bulldogs are now the most popular small-breed dog – their coats come in a variety of colours, they’re good with kids, and they’re just so adorable!
But every dog breed has its health quirks, and Frenchies are no exception. Allergies are common in French bulldogs, and can be caused by several different factors. The good news is there is a lot that pet parents can do to prevent allergic reactions in their Frenchies, and to lessen and treat them if they happen. Read on to learn everything you need to know about allergies and skin problems in French bulldogs.
🔴 Common allergy symptoms
French bulldogs are more likely than some other dog breeds to have allergies. The symptoms of these allergies depends on their cause, but these are some common ones to watch for:
- Itchy skin
- Red and/or inflamed skin
- Dry, crusty, and/or flaky skin
- Licking and chewing skin and/or paws
- Bald spots in fur
- Excessive eye discharge and/or gunk
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of energy
🧪 Testing your dog for allergies
To test for allergies, your vet may suggest one of three methods: intradermal skin testing, a RAST blood test, or an elimination diet. Each type has pros and cons.
Intradermal skin testing is a good way to figure out what’s causing skin issues, but it can only be done by a veterinary dermatologist. This testing type also requires putting your dog under, for large parts of their coat to be shaved, and for them to go off any medication in advance.
A RAST blood test can be performed with a single blood sample that can be drawn during a regular vet visit. The blood sample is then tested for allergen response in a lab. However, this type of test can give false positives.
An elimination diet is a method used to pinpoint food allergies or sensitivities. With your vet’s help, your dog will eat a diet with foods they’ve never had before for a period or weeks. Then, ingredients will be added back to your dog’s diet one at a time, starting with any that are believed to be a problem, to watch for reactions.
🤧 Pollen, dust mite, and mold allergy
One of the most common causes for allergies in French bulldogs is atopy, which is an allergy to dust mites, pollen, and certain kinds of mold. The symptoms of atopy are similar to contact dermatitis, which can make it tricky to diagnose.
These dog behaviours are signs of atopy:
- Frequent paw licking
- Rubbing their face across the carpet
- Head shaking
- Scratching behind their ears
- Excess scratching all over their body
🙁 Food sensitivities
Food allergies or intolerances are another common issue for French bulldogs. These symptoms might mean your dog has a food sensitivity:
- Chronic stomach distress or upset
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Itchy skin
- Hair loss around the tail, neck, and/or face
- Excess paw licking
🩺 Treating allergic reactions
Just as for their pet parents, specific allergies can be hard to diagnose in Frenchies. However, even if you can’t pin down the exact cause of their symptoms, you can help reduce them and give your pup some relief.
If your French bulldog shows signs of food intolerances, be extra careful with their diet. Choose nourishing meals made with natural and high-quality ingredients, like healthybud’s Turkey Meal Bites or Beef Meal Patties. Avoid giving your dog human foods, which can upset their stomachs. And introduce new meals and treats one at a time – this way, if your Frenchie has a reaction, the culprit will be easier to spot.
🐟 Improving skin health
Many allergic reactions affect your Frenchie’s skin. You can help prevent contact reactions and relieve symptoms like dry and itchy skin with a healthy diet and good grooming.
Brush your French bulldog regularly to remove dander buildup and potential allergens like pollen. Bathe your pup as needed, but avoid over-bathing – this can strip your dog’s healthy oils and make their skin dry. Watch for symptoms like bald spots or skin irritation when you groom your dog.
You can support your Frenchie’s skin health from the inside by choosing foods and treats with nutrient-rich oils, high-quality proteins, and other healthy ingredients. For example, healthybud’s Cod Skins are a great single-ingredient treat with omega-3 fatty acids to support skin and coat health.
If your French bulldog’s symptoms are new or worse than usual, make an appointment with your vet for a check-up. Many of the signs of an allergy are similar to the symptoms of other conditions that should be ruled out.
And if your Frenchie has serious symptoms including swelling, lethargy, or wheezing, call your vet right away or take them to an emergency animal clinic.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
- The healthybud team
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not meant to replace your vet’s advice or prescribed medications, but only to suggest additional options to explore, based on your dog’s condition.