HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR NEW FRENCH BULLDOG PUPPY

Preparation for Your New Puppy

Puppy proofing your house

Just as you would for a child or baby! You need to move all houseplants, electrical cords, household cleaning supplies, mouse poison, or anything else dangerous near floor level that a small puppy could possible chew on or be harmed by. Make sure you have a designated "Safe Area": either a baby or puppy playpen or baby gate to partition a small area. It should be large enough to hold a little bed, a play area, small dish for food and water, with enough room left over to relieve themselves if necessary. Puppies can get into lot’s of trouble if they are left unsupervised, so it is necessary to put them in a playpen or other small confined area to keep them safe. This is just a temporary place until the puppy is older and doesn’t need quite so much sleep, less mischievous, and hopefully housebroken.

Puppy Supplies:

  • Wire crate (24"L x 18"W x 18"H) with a divider panel

  • Harness: COMFORTFLEX Sport Harness

  • Collar and leash

  • 2 Stainless steel dog bowls for food and water

  • Chew Toys

  • Puppy Shampoo (tearless)

Highly Recommended for French Bulldog:

Safest Toys for Your French Bulldog

Note: These are toys (and other goods) that we have tested with our own French Bulldogs and deemed them safe for French Bulldogs. You have to be very scrutinizing when choosing toys for your French Bulldogs because they’re very, very susceptible to choking. Frenchies can seriously die from being given the wrong toys and chew bones. Do your research and monitor your frenchies when they play with toys you provide to them. The best French Bulldog toys will not easily crumble, shred, or tear, and will have no small or hazardous parts that could cause your French Bulldog to choke if accidentally eaten. You should check your French Bulldogs toys and look for anything that may pose a threat to your French Bulldog’s health. Throw away and replace old shredded, used up, and fraying toys. If a toy becomes small or worn down enough that it could possibly be eaten, then it’s time to replace that toy. 

The First Few Days

Once you get your puppy home, here are some things to know that will help your pup get acclimated. Be courteous! If you receive your puppy by plane, once you get home and settled , please send me an email note and let me know that your puppy arrived safely. I spend many hours raising these babies as my own children and I worry about them! Puppies stress at just being in a new environment. Their first couple days are going to be the toughest.

 

STRESS AND HOW TO MANAGE IT

If your puppy is stressed or exhibits loss of appetite (for example with carsickness), treat the pup with “force feedings”, making the little one eat from your hand, off of a spoon or from a syringe – until they start to feel better, just like you would an ill child.

  • Try some yummy canned food first mixed with the dry food; if no luck, try just canned food or a piece of chicken. You can also make a “gruel” from Gerber baby chicken in the jar and Gerber baby rice cereal in the box. Mix with some puppy milk (not cow milk) – enough to wet -or water. It is important to get some nutrition in. I also recommend buying a package of  ”Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Freeze Dried Dog Food” for the times when your puppy looses his/her appetite and doesn’t want to eat. That almost always works! They also make great training treats!

  • Nutri-Cal is available at pet stores or online. It is very important at times when the puppy is stressed & not eating or eating very poorly. Give the Nutri-Cal 4 times a day, 1 or 2 teaspoons or 2-4 cc. It contains the ingredients and nutrients that the little ones need to maintain. Your puppy will probably lick the Nutri-Cal off of a spoon but if not, put some on your finger or in a syringe, open the puppy’s mouth, and put it on the roof of his mouth like peanut butter. It melts almost immediately so you will not choke the puppy. This usually brings their appetite back right away.

  • I also like to keep a dish of diluted puppy milk near their bed to encourage them to take a few sips before their nap. This can really help the low appetite puppies that are in their adjustment period.

  • If you ever find your puppy is difficult to wake up, wobbly or glassy eyed, give 1 or 2 cc of Nutri-Cal. Repeat. If no improvement after 20 minutes, repeat again & go immediately to a vet.

 

This “stage” of non-eating usually lasts just a few days and then you will notice that the little one is getting back into the food bowl. Even if they have been eating the hard puppy kibble they may now wish to have a soft canned food or have the kibble wet just a little. We have taken to the philosophy of “Whatever works” to just get them eating again. We use small bites of cooked chicken, mixing canned food with a little cottage cheese, or regular fat yogurt. I have recovered a lot of puppies/dogs on this mixture. It is nice to have a package of ”Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Freeze Dried Dog Food”,  a few different yummy choices in flavors of good quality canned food, and powdered puppy milk around for these occasions. Then one day soon they just go back to the dry puppy kibble. No hurry, just be sure they get their nutrition as a growing puppy needs. During this period, they make have soft stools with the change in diet away from their usual food (little bit of canned mixed with the dry kibbles). That should improve when they are back on their regular diet.

WARNING SIGNS! – Call your vet immediately if you observe any of these warning signs:

  • PROLONGED LOSS OF APPETITE (Greater than 8 hours in a brand new puppy)

  • EXCESSIVE WATER DRINKING and/or urinating every few minutes

  • EXCESSIVE SLEEPING OR LETHARGY (WEAKNESS)

  • VOMITING, DIARRHEA, STRAINED URINATION

  • LIMPING

  • RUNNING EYES OR NOSE ( PUPPIES CAN HAVE A CLEAR WATER SPRAY FROM THEIR NOSE AND EYES, BUT IF IT TURNS YELLOWISH OR GREENISH THEN WORRY!)

  • SNEEZING, COUGHING, WHINING

  • SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR

  • Watch for diarrhea! If diarrhea (liquid stool) happens more than once start to worry. If the diarrhea is a very dark brown/black – take a sample in a zip-lock baggy with your puppy to your vet immediately. This is important until the puppy is about 6 months old.

It never hurts to give Nutri-Cal before and after any event that you know will be stressful, like a visit to the vet or bath for the first week. I am only a phone call away or an email away. Your little one is precious to me as well.

Once your puppy is well settled into his new home, take your puppy to the ‘well visit’ check up within the first 72 hours of bringing him home. Hopefully you have scheduled this appointment before the puppy arrives. Make sure that you bring your puppy’s shot record with you so your vet will know their medical history.

 

Your vet will schedule your puppy’s remaining shots. Every vet has a different schedule, but most shots are given every 3/4 weeks until the series of 3 is complete. Until your pups immunizations are complete, make sure to hold your new pup in your lap and keep them away from other dogs and off the floor at the vets. This also means not letting strangers or children pet your puppy in the vets office. REMEMBER – there is more bacteria & viruses present there than anywhere from all the sick animals that have been there before you & your puppy! If your vet suggests yearly vaccinations for the rest of your dogs life, he is over-vaccinating which can cause auto-immune disorders. Please suggest having a titer drawn to see if your adult dog really needs it. I don’t think ANY dog needs yearly vaccinations for their whole life –  we humans certainly do not!

Until the “puppy vaccinations” (6-9-12 weeks) are complete, you need to protect your puppy from these contagious diseases but it is also very important to continue with your puppy’s socialization with other pets and humans. It is wonderful if you have some friends or family that you can visit who have animals that are vaccinated and you know are healthy. Puppy classes are highly recommended and LOTS of fun!

Caring for Your French Bulldog

 

Feeding

You cannot simply go to a Wal-Mart and buy any ole dog food and feed it to your French Bulldog. The best food for Frenchies is a high-quality dog food with more than one source of protein, carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and complex plants, and a good source of omega-rich fats. A primitive french bulldog diet should contain food with roughly 30% protein (or slightly more for highly-active frenchies), 30% healthy fats for fur, brain power, and energy, and about 20% carbohydrates (for energy). Cheap super market dog foods like Iams, Purina, Alpo, and Pedigree are not suitable for french bulldogs. These foods are replete with grain, soy, and corn–all bad for french bulldogs. French bulldogs can have lots of allergies and health problems and these ingredients are not good for the breed. Feed your puppy 4 times a day for the first month, changing to 3 times a day at 4 months old. Then at 6 months, you can reduce the number of feedings to twice a day.

Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best food for french bulldogs:

  • Fromm Dog Food – Grain-free Varieties

  • Taste of the Wild – Exotic Formulations

  • Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food (NOTE: Adult french bulldogs need hard food. Read that again. DOGS NEED HARD FOOD to ensure their teeth are healthy, clean, and strong. Grandma Lucy’s is a wet food and you must provide your dog with at least 1-2 small hard-food-only meals per day)

  • Addiction’s Wild Kangaroo & Apple Dog Food

  • Natural Balance Premium Limited Ingredients Dog Food

  • Wellness CORE Natural Dog Food

  • Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

If you have to leave your puppy home alone all day, have food and water accessible all day while you are gone. Before you leave, feed him a heaping tablespoon of canned and again when you come home. Keep him in a small enough area so he can easily find his food and water. First week, give Nutri-Cal Supplement before you leave and when you return home.

 

Bedding

Provide a safe, quiet and warm place for your puppy to sleep. This can be a baby playpen or any small area that has been partitioned off so your puppy can’t wander out. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PUPPY IN A SMALL CRATE DURING THE DAY. Your puppy will need an area for sleeping/playing, to potty and for food and water. You can let them sleep in this area. Leave down food, water & potty pads/pads for them during the night. A young puppy  sometimes has a hard time holding it all night long. After about 4 months of age, you can start putting them in a crate at night time if you need to. No food/water is necessary in this small crate. Take them to potty right before bedtime and first thing in the morning, possibly once during the night if he awakes and whines.

 

Playing with Your Puppy

Remember, your puppy is very tiny and should be treated like you would a  human baby you have just brought home from the hospital. A mistake new owners usually make is playing with their puppy too much. Too much activity will deplete their blood sugar.  You could have a very sick puppy on your hands. Be patient. The first few weeks will go by quickly and their playtime will increase. If it does happen – you will be prepared with Nutri-Cal.
 

Flea/Heartworm Prevention

I use “Sentinel” for flea and heartworm prevention. You need to get it from your vet and give monthly. Please do not use the products sold at the cheap stores such as Hartz, Sergeants, Adams, etc. Those are useless, a waste of money, and OFTEN harm your puppy. Front Line Plus/ Pet Action Plus / Pet Armor Plus (these 3 have the same ingredients), Revolution, Comfortis, Trifexis, NexGuard, & Bravecto are all good. It helps to rotate the active ingredients occasionally to prevent the fleas developing a resistance. A few of these also contain Heartworm preventative, but most do not so be sure you are giving a heartworm preventative also during the mosquito months of the year. 

Establishing a Routing

What you must get right when raising a puppy. Routines are reassuring to puppies. For example, his food and water bowls should stay in one place. First and foremost, teach your new puppy daily routines.

  • Where his food and water dishes are located.

  • What times of day he will eat.

  • Where his bed is.

  • What time he goes to bed.

  • What time he gets up.

  • Where he goes to the bathroom.

  • Where his toys are kept.

 

Don't make the mistake of thinking that it doesn't matter HOW you teach each of these routines. It definitely does matter. If you use the right teaching method, your puppy will be better-behaved and will be happy to let you decide what he can and can't do in your family. If you use the wrong teaching method, your puppy will begin making decisions about how he wants YOU to fit into HIS life. That's a recipe for conflict and behavior problems.

Containment

Several studies have shown that animals confined to cages for long periods of time have shortened lifespans. We are not against “crating” or “kenneling” dogs, but we’re vehemently opposed to forcing a dog to stay in a crate for more than a few hours hour at a time. A dog should never be forcibly kept in a container it did not ask to be placed in. A crate is a cage and a cage is a jail cell. Although dogs are, in an evolutionary sense, cave dwelling animals, their sociobiology has changed drastically since the time when dogs roamed in packs and slept in caves. Dogs have evolved with their domestication and are no longer psychologically fit to be contained in cages when they become inconvenient. The kennel or crate can be a safe-haven for your dog if the door is kept open and a small blanket is draped on the outside. If your French Bulldog is trained to understand that the crate is a safe place they can choose to go into when they feel threatened or lonely, then they will treat it as such and go to their crate when they feel the need. If you use the crate as a means of punishment or as a “time-out” place, then you’re only hurting your animal. It is cruel and inhumane to place a dog in a crate if the premise is punishment or mere lack of convenience for the dog to be out of the crate. Further, it is even more unjust and inhumane to keep a dog in a kennel for more than an hour or so. Crating a dog while you go to work for 12 hours suggests that you didn’t consider the well-being of your animal before you purchased their companionship. Keeping a dog in a crate all day can severely degrade their mood, morale, and therefore, their lifespan. If you want your French Bulldog to live a nice, long, happy, and loving life, then dedicate a room in your house to be your Frenchie’s room. Fill it with toys, a bed, an always-open crate with a bed and blanket, water bowl, and a television or radio and let them play in that room all day while you’re out working or running errands. Do not condemn your dog to a crate. It will shorten their life.

Never leave your puppy outside alone! Even if you have a fenced in area. Tiny puppies can easily slip through the mesh of a fence. Hungary hawks can & do have a small breed puppies for lunch.

Housetraining Your Puppy

Please see our page on how to "Housetrain Your Puppy"​​

Training

I highly recommend this book "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" to get you started.

French Bulldogs and Water

I find a lot of people asking me when they see my Frenchie in his life jacket “Can French Bulldogs swim?!” The short answer is No. French Bulldogs cannot swim. They will sink like rocks in a pond. I am 100% serious when I say this, pay close attention: your French Bulldog can drown within seconds if they fall into water above their heads. Get that?

 

I’ll say it again: French Bulldogs cannot swim on their own. You must watch your French Bulldog like a newborn child when they’re near any kind of water deeper than a few inches. THEY CAN DROWN.

 

However, French Bulldogs can be taught how to swim while wearing a well-fitting life jacket or life vest. Note: this requires 100% constant supervision. You should never, under any circumstances, leave your French Bulldog alone near water or outside on a hot day. You can kill your dog if you leave them alone near water above their head.  We recommend actively teaching your Frenchie to swim using “the buddy system”. The buddy system is just swimming with your dog using a ritual approach by praising your pet before, during, and after a swimming session, along with a treat for properly exiting the water. You could also actively train your pet to exit a swimming pool or other small body of water as an added safety precaution–using lots of treats along the way, of course.

Heat Exhaustion in French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs have short snouts. It makes them cute, but it also makes it impossible for them to cool the hot air coming into their bodies the way their long-snouted canine compatriots can. They also tend to have fleshy palates, narrow nostrils and narrow tracheas. All of these factors spell bad news during hot spells. Bottom line: hot air kills Frenchies.

It doesn't even have to be a hot day and your dog doesn't have to be overexercising or playing, though these are two ways your dog can start to pant too much. Just getting overexcited can set off a problem. Too much panting can literally kill your dog. Panting from overexertion and/or heat can cause Frenchies' airways to swell and make breathing difficult, which leads to panic and more and harder panting and even more swelling. The problem can quickly escalate and they can die.

If your dog is panting heavily for more than 5 minutes, remove him from where ever he is, take him somewhere cool and quiet and apply cool or tepid, not cold, cloths to his abdomen, or put him in the tub and run cool or tepid water on his abdomen. If this method doesn't result in less or no panting within a few minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately.

The main weapon in prevention of heat stroke is common sense. Be alert to your dog's actions and responses, and be aware of the fact that what may seem like temperate weather for you may be entirely too hot for your dog. Limit activities in hot weather, avoid contact with pavement and concrete, and provide access to shade, fresh water and cooler areas indoors. There are several good cool coats and cool packs on the market to help your dog maintain a lower body temperature. Pet stores carries a full line of cool bandanas, coats, wraps, mats and collars, all made with an absorbent nontoxic polymer crystals that can stay cool for days without needing refrigeration.

Links to Important Puppy Information (Emergencies)

Ensuring Your Frenchie Will Live a Long and Happy Life

Beyond picking a good breeder to work with, you should also understand that French Bulldogs are like small children. They’re highly curious and will dig and root around in anything in your home. You must “baby proof” your house if you’re going to own a French Bulldog. They will chew up nearly anything if they’re left along with it long enough. They have powerful jaws that require safe chew toys to exercise the muscles and stave off discomfort. Without safe chew toys, a Frenchie’s jaws can ache and hurt and their teeth and gums can suffer from various dental diseases. A high quality, grain-free, meat-based hard kibble will ensure your Frenchie’s teeth are clean and healthy. The occasional wet good mixed into their food every few days or so will remind your Frenchie that you love them. Love can go a long way in elongating your French Bulldog’s lifespan. Finally, your French Bulldog’s life can be dramatically improved with regular (and I mean regular) visits to a veterinarian. French Bulldogs require all the standard means of health care that any other dog would, plus the added reality that Frenchies have lots of health problems and you must actively monitor your dog’s health in order to ensure that they’re happy, healthy, and ready to live a nice long life. Veterinarian visits should be regularly scheduled every 3 months at minimum and you should always keep contact information for an emergency 24/7 animal clinic stored in your phone. Your French Bulldog should receive heartworm treatments, flea treatments, blood panels, and other diagnostic tests as regularly as your veterinarian suggests. Blood panels will give you an exhaustive overview of your French Bulldog’s general health and will give you a greater idea of how long your French Bulldog will live relative to any deficiencies they may have. This will allow you to correct your Frenchie’s diet and provide vitamins and supplements to ensure your French Bulldog is receiving optimal nutrition. Taking your French Bulldog to the veterinarian only when you think there’s an emergency will not suffice. French Bulldogs are a delicate breed and their health must be actively monitored to ensure that they’re happy and 100% healthy.

The most important thing, is just to give your new pet a lot of love and attention. It is great cuddling your puppy in your lap while you relax and watch a movie. This can actually be quite comforting and help establish a wonderful bond with that will continue to grow and last forever. And remember to keep in touch, as we enjoy hearing how our babies do and we just love photos!!!

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