The French Bulldog has become internationally popular in recent years. These short, squat dogs with their wide faces and stout legs and that set of signature “bat” ears are nothing short of irresistible.
But caring for a Frenchie for the first time can come with its own learning curve. These dogs have determination in spades and they know they are cute. Your French Bulldog will not be shy about letting you know what they want!
And one thing most French Bulldogs absolutely want to do is chew. They love to chew. The thing to know here is that it will be your job to make sure that your Frenchie only chews on things you approve of.
You will find plenty of safety and enrichment tips for how to manage your dog’s chewing in this article.
Are French Bulldogs Chewers?
Ask any French Bulldog owner if their dog is a chewer and you are likely to hear a resounding “yes.”
Most dogs love to chew. But French Bulldogs, with their strong and powerful jaws, seem to love it even more than most.
This means you will need to be extra-vigilant when you choose to chew toys for your French Bulldog. You will also need to take control of training your Frenchie what they can and cannot chew.
Listen to a French Bulldog Chewing and Chewing and Chewing
In this YouTube video, you can watch (and listen to) a French Bulldog contentedly chewing on a bone-shaped chew toy.
These types of chew toys are great for cleaning tartar and plaque off the teeth and can also help to ease teething pains – especially if you freeze the toy first before giving it to your Frenchie.
How Strong Is the French Bulldog’s Jaw?
As Arlees French Bulldogs breeder points out, the French Bulldog’s jaw is so strong that your dog may easily dismantle toys that are rated for small dog breeds.
Dog bite strength is actually quite a controversial topic and there doesn’t appear to be any single source of agreement on how to measure it accurately.
One pilot study published by the Journal of Anatomy used cranial dimensions (basically the size and shape of a dog’s skull) to guesstimate bite force.
While the French Bulldog breed was not specifically included in this study, the researchers did study brachycephalic (short muzzle shape) dog breeds and concluded that smaller size brachycephalic dogs tended to have lower bite strength than larger dogs.
However, as Dr. Stanley Coren so rightly points out in Psychology Today, there is a lot more that can go into a dog’s bite force than just jaw size or shape.
For example, let’s say your French Bulldog has gotten hold of a very juicy treat that you specifically don’t want them to have. You decide you are going to take it away from your dog. And your Frenchie really doesn’t want to give it up.
You may just find that your dog decides to clamp down on that treat with every ounce of determination (as well as strength) in their 28-pound body. You have no choice but to concede that your French Bulldog won that round.
Dr. Coren explains that, of the dog breeds studied at length, the average bite strength was around 269 psi or just over double the jaw strength (120 psi) of the average person.
This is still significant, of course, but it is not anywhere near the reported 2,000 psi of canine jaw strength that is now known to be a complete myth.
How to Keep Your French Bulldog From Chewing Your House Down
The first thing you need to know is that French Bulldogs typically like to chew so much that your dog will likely find lots of things to chew that you specifically do not want your Frenchie to have.
You can certainly do your level best to provide your dog with appropriate, safe chewing toys and materials.
But as Ruff Diamond French Bulldogs breeder points out, the only way to completely avoid having your personal items chewed is to make sure your dog cannot reach them.
This often requires “dog proofing” your home, and it is a tall order when you have a French Bulldog who thinks table legs, couch cushions, crown molding, and pretty much everything else in your home is there for their chewing pleasure.
The Humane Society explains that your best defense against unwanted chewing is not actually dog proofing, which seldom works out as you want it to.
Rather, your ideal solution is dog training. But you have to use the right training methods or your attempts may backfire on you.
Dog Training Tips to Deal With a Chewing French Bulldog
Bluegrass Frenchies breeder says it is important to start right away with training your dog on the “no bite” command.
Commands like “no,” “drop it” and “leave it” are also useful when dealing with problems chewing.
French Bulldogs are very smart and sensitive dogs and this means negative reinforcement (punishment-based) training methods are completely ineffective with this breed.
(In fact, there is no dog breed that typically responds well to fear-based or punishment-based training.)
So when you start training your Frenchie in “no bite” you can use praise, pats, playtime, and treats to encourage more of the behavior you want and less of the behavior you don’t want.
For example, if your French Bulldog has something they are chewing on and you don’t want them to have it, you can use “no bite” or “drop it” to tell them what to do.
Then each time your dog obeys and drops the item, you offer positive reinforcement such as a dog treat or a pat.
Why Do French Bulldogs Chew Inappropriately?
When your French Bulldog has a problem with chewing items that are specifically off-limits, it may be due to an underlying issue rather than a case of willful disobedience.
Let’s take a look at some common developmental, behavioral and health reasons why your Frenchie may continue to chew on things other than their dog toys even after you have done lots of training and you are sure your dog understands which is which.
French Bulldogs, like all dog breeds, will go through a period when their puppy teeth fall out and their adult dog teeth grow in. But for Frenchies, this can be particularly painful since their jaws are often overcrowded with teeth competing for space.
Offering chilled or frozen dog toys can be a good way to ease the pain of teething while allowing your Frenchie to enjoy chewing.
French Bulldogs are not high-energy dogs, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). But they are smart dogs and can get bored easily, especially if you are not home.
If there is one fact experienced Frenchie owners know well, it is that French Bulldogs do like their food!
Since these dogs are not high energy, it can be all too easy for Frenchies to put on weight. But if you don’t give in to your dog’s begging, chewing on other things might be the result.
French Bulldogs are very people-centric dogs. They do very poorly when left alone for an extended period of time, especially if it happens regularly.
A lonely Frenchie may turn into a Frenchie that becomes destructive out of separation anxiety. While chewing isn’t the only warning sign that your dog is developing separation anxiety, it is one of the most obvious.
How to Choose Safe Chew Toys for Your French Bulldog
So if French Bulldogs love to chew so much and will chew your furniture unless you provide suitable alternatives, what is the best way to choose the safest chew toys?
Supervise, supervise, supervise
Never give your French Bulldog a new toy and leave the room. You need to observe how your dog plays with the toy before you can decide it is safe. Some toys may only be suitable for supervised chewing.
Look at the chew strength rating
Reputable dog toy makers like Kong will give you a chew strength rating for each toy they make.
While you don’t want a toy that is so strong your Frenchie cannot chew it at all (this can also be dangerous), you definitely want to steer clear of toys rated for “soft chewers” or “mouthers.”
Ask other Frenchie owners
When in doubt, it is always smart to ask others who own a French Bulldog what their dogs’ favorite chew toys are and try those first.
You can also ask your dog’s breeder and your veterinarian for helpful ideas about the safest toys to buy.
Finally, to keep your dog interested and engaged in their toys, you may want to set up a toy rotation. Allow your dog to play for a toy for a day or two and then switch it out for a new toy.