With its flat face and bat ears, the French Bulldog definitely looks very distinguished. The shape of its face gives the dog a childlike physiognomy, which unfortunately also causes respiratory problems, specifically a malformation known as respiratory syndrome in brachycephalic dogs. There are some strategies that can be used to treat the problem at home, but in many cases surgical correction may be necessary.
Part 1 of 3: Identifying the Signs of Breathing Problems
Step 1. Pay attention to breathing noises
Many of the sniffles and snores that French bulldog owners ignore are actually symptoms of respiratory disorders. Among the signs are panting even at rest and snoring during sleep. A dog that can breathe easily doesn't make any noise.
- If your dog appears to be having difficulty breathing, especially during times of little physical activity, be aware that this is not normal and that he should be examined by a veterinarian.
- A dog with breathing problems may also make noises when he is very excited, such as if he is choking, and may find it difficult to engage in activities in the heat as well.
Step 2. Pay attention
When exercising, the dog's breathing noises can become more exaggerated and desperate. Maybe he even drools a lot, instead of stopping breathing for a moment to swallow his saliva.
This is a sure sign that your dog needs to rest. Maybe he doesn't want to, but it's your job to make him stop for a while until he catches his breath
Step 3. Look for signs of oxygen deficiency
In extreme cases, the dog may not be able to breathe in enough oxygen to oxygenate the blood. This will result in a blue tongue and gums.
- A complete breakdown and loss of consciousness are not uncommon when French Bulldogs run out of oxygen and exercise too much, especially in the heat. To avoid this, try not to push your dog too hard during very hot days or, if he is already having trouble breathing, under any circumstances.
- If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately. He will be able to provide emergency oxygen for your dog.
Step 4. Understand how breathing problems occur
To understand how the treatment will work, it can be helpful to understand what your puppy is feeling first. Artificial reproductive selection that seeks a flattened face has generated anatomical problems that make breathing difficult for these dogs.
- Many of these problems occur because the bony cavity in the nose is smaller, while soft tissues, such as the soft palate and tongue, remain the same size. In the case of the French Bulldog, this means that the tongue and soft palate take up a lot of space and literally cause choking. In addition to these, there are a few other anatomical problems.
- The French Bulldog has unusually narrow nostrils. This makes it difficult for air to pass through the nose. That's another reason the breed pants so hard, because they need to breathe through their mouths.
- The tongue didn't follow the nose's shrinkage, so it's a big organ that has to stay inside a small space. It takes up too much space in the mouth and tends to block the back of the throat.
Part 2 of 3: Taking Care of Respiratory Problems at Home
Step 1. Don't leave your French Bulldog in the heat
Dogs of this breed find it more difficult to breathe in the heat than other breeds, as they tend to become breathless. It is important to keep the dog always cool on hot days, avoiding exercise.
- Allow him to always have access to shadows. Never leave it out in the sun. Leaving a French Bulldog on a leash in the sun can quickly overheat it, even without exercising.
- If you know the next few days will be hot, leave your puppy in an air-conditioned room.
Step 2. Give your dog breaks
When going for a walk, let your dog stop to rest regularly. If his breathing becomes wheezing, irregular, or exaggerated, stop immediately and cool him down.
To cool him down, give him water to drink and also pour some of the liquid into his body. Just do not give cold water, otherwise you could give the dog a thermal shock. Cold water is enough
Step 3. Keep your dog hydrated
Always bring plenty of water for tours, especially if it's hot. Let him stop to drink water frequently.
Allowing him to drink water will also help keep him cool
Step 4. Wear a harness instead of a collar when taking your French Bulldog for a walk
The collar will restrict his breathing even more, especially if you pull on it. Instead, wear a harness that doesn't touch the dog's throat.
Buy a harness of the correct size and put it on your dog. Follow the package directions to adjust the headgear and not make it too loose or too tight
Part 3 of 3: Treating Respiratory Problems Surgically
Step 1. Understand your dog's respiratory system
With brachycephalic dog respiratory syndrome, the bony chamber of the nose is physically smaller, but the soft palate that separates the back of the nose from the throat remains the same size. It's like having a curtain too big for a window. As the dog inhales, the pressure change tends to suck the soft palate against the entrance to the trachea, blocking it.
- This causes the French Bulldog to choke and gasp.
- Laryngeal ventricles also affect breathing. They are tissues similar to tonsils and are located inside the larynx (where the voice comes out). Changes in air pressure created by anatomical changes cause the ventricles to be sucked in and get in the way of the trachea, blocking it.
- In addition, the hypoplastic trachea also impairs breathing. The trachea of French Bulldogs can be much narrower than normal. This creates greater resistance to airflow and, as a result, more breathing problems.
Step 2. Talk to your veterinarian
He will be able to diagnose your breathing problems and help you decide if surgery is a good option. Assess the quality of your dog's breathing and whether you are willing to surgically correct it. Some dogs have so much difficulty breathing that corrective surgery is necessary for them to have a better quality of life.
- It is important to talk to your veterinarian about the need for surgery on your dog.
- Unfortunately, some problems such as hypoplastic trachea and exaggerated tongue size cannot be surgically corrected.
Step 3. Consider corrective nostril surgery
Under general anesthesia, the veterinarian will cut a triangle of tissue from the outer edge of the nostrils. Thus, the dog will have a greater air gap to breathe.
The purpose of expanding the nostrils is to allow the dog to breathe better through his nose
Step 4. Discuss the option of having a soft palate resection
Under anesthesia, the surgeon will assess the amount of additional tissue in the back of the throat. Afterwards, he will cut the soft palate as he sees fit.
The goal is to remove enough so that there is no tissue blocking the entrance to the trachea
Step 5. Another option is to resection the laryngeal ventricles
The veterinarian may choose to resect the laryngeal ventricles. In the procedure, two obstructions from the space at the back of the throat will be removed, allowing more space to circulate more air.