Introduction: Bulldogs are Prone to Eye Problems
The first thing you notice when you see a French Bulldog is almost certainly their distinctive combination of a short snout and face wrinkles. While these facial features make for cute dogs, they also lead to some potential health risks for Frenchies.
Some of the most common issues that French Bulldog owners face with their pets are when their dogs have problems with their eyes. Because of their stubbier faces, French Bulldogs are especially prone to suffering from diseases of the eyes.
French Bulldogs face many risks for eye issues, including cherry eye, dry eyes, corneal ulcers, entropion, and others. While some of these can be mitigated with home remedies, it is important to see a vet regularly to maintain a French Bulldog’s eye health.
Before discussing treatment and prevention that owners can try at home, it will be helpful to run through some of the most common eye problems that French Bulldogs face. What sorts of ailments would a Frenchie most likely to have to deal with in its life?
What are some of the most common eye problems in French Bulldogs?
While there is a long list of eye problems that might theoretically affect a dog at some point in its life, there is a shorter set of problems that veterinarians have determined to be the most likely to afflict French Bulldogs.
The first of these is a cherry eye, as explained by Bullie Post. Cherry eye is when the dog’s third eyelid becomes prolapsed and sore. This will look like a large red mass in the eye.
Though relatively common among French Bulldogs, Cherry’s eye is not a terribly serious condition. It usually requires medical attention, though some owners try to massage around the eyes to relieve irritation.
If a dog has a cherry eye, the vet will try to pin the third eyelid back into place so that it is no longer exposed and at risk of further damage. Cherry eye is best treated quickly, as it can lead to other issues.
As explained by the popular website Ask Frankie, French Bulldogs are also quite susceptible to getting dry eyes. You might notice the dog blinking very rapidly or holding its eyes closed. This usually occurs when the dog’s eyes are just not producing enough tears.
Dry eyes are one of the easier issues to prevent, and also one of the most common. If a French Bulldog is prone to dry eyes, its owner will need to apply eye drops or ointments on a daily basis. This should help to relieve the dog’s discomfort.
Much like a cherry eye, dry eyes are a problem that seems quite minor, but if left untreated can lead to much more serious complications. Because the dog’s eyes are so sensitive, it is best to address these issues immediately.
Another common issue in French Bulldogs, according to Dr. Roy Kraemer, is called entropion. This occurs when the edges of the dog’s eyelids start to roll or fold inward towards the eye. The eyelashes will then rub up against the dog’s eye.
French Bulldogs are at risk of entropion largely because of the folds around their face, so they become susceptible to this agonizing condition. It is very important to treat this condition immediately, as it can otherwise lead to long-term damage to the eye.
Entropion is an issue that requires immediate veterinary attention. The vet will lubricate the eye and perform a quick surgery that will get rid of the eyelashes that are causing the dog problems. This is a relatively easy procedure that is most often successful.
Ectropion is also an issue to watch out for in French Bulldogs. This is when instead of rolling inward towards the eye, the dog’s eyelids start to sag outwards. This can lead to redness, swelling, and discharge coming out of the eye.
Ectropion also requires a visit to a veterinarian to have the condition treated. The vet may need to perform surgery to correct the way the eyelid is positioned. The dog will also probably require eye drops on a regular basis after the procedure.
A final issue, as described in the French Bulldog website All About Frenchies, is the corneal ulcer. A corneal ulcer occurs when there is some trauma to the outer layer of the eye, such as from digging, playing, or even from irritating grooming products.
Corneal ulcers are a particular risk for dogs that have round, prominent eyes, and French Bulldogs certainly fit the description. They are usually detected by applying a dye to the dog’s eyes that reveal the damage of the ulcer.
If treated early on, these ulcers are not terribly serious. A veterinarian will probably prescribe an antibiotic and an eye ointment that the owner can apply. As with other eye issues, corneal ulcers need to be treated quickly before they become severe.
While this is just a summary list of the most common eye issues that afflict French Bulldogs, it should be clear that they are especially susceptible to eye ailments. Unfortunately, this is just because of the anatomy of the breed itself.
The good news is that if owners notice these eye issues in the early stages, almost all of them can be treated quickly and easily, saving both dog and owner a lot of trouble.
Can these issues be prevented or treated at home?
Since most dogs hate going to the vet and going into a clinic can be expensive, many owners try to minimize the number of times that they have to go into a veterinarian to treat their dog’s health issues.
When it comes to French Bulldog eye issues, there are some basic preventative techniques that owners may want to try. If any of the conditions listed above start to irritate the dog, however, it is always best to go in to get a professional opinion.
The most important way to prevent some of these eye issues from affecting a French Bulldog is to take good care of the dog’s hygiene. Because of their many wrinkles and folds, it is easy for dirt and grime to build upon a Frenchie’s face quite quickly.
It is a good idea to wash and tend to a French Bulldog’s face and eyes on a regular basis. While shampoos or soaps would be irritating to the dog’s eyes, owners can find a sterile face and eyewashes.
Even simple techniques such as making sure to regularly wipe away the dog’s tear stains can help to keep the face and eyes of a French Bulldog in good shape. These sorts of preventative techniques can save a lot of hassle down the line.
It is important that if any eye issue is affecting the dog for a day or two, or the dog is in noticeable pain, it is best to go to the veterinarian sooner rather than later. Eye issues can become serious quickly, and may sadly cause permanent damage if left untreated.
Always check with a veterinarian when treating a dog’s health problems
In addition to preventative techniques, some owners may want to try home remedies when their French Bulldog starts to suffer from some sort of eye issue. Whether or not this is a good idea really depends on what the specific eye ailment is.
It is true that more minor issues, such as dry eyes, can be treated on a regular basis at home with eye drops or ointments. Other issues, though, may require surgical procedures, so it is best to not try any remedies before checking with a vet.
Fortunately, there are also many resources for understanding canine eye health more deeply. Consider, for example, this video by Dr. Adam Conroy at Bully Blog, which lays out some of the issues a French Bulldog may be most likely to experience.
Conclusion: Eye health is very important for French Bulldogs
The challenge in owning a French Bulldog is that the very facial features that make them so cute as pets also end up causing the dogs themselves a lot of problems. Unfortunately, Frenchies are simply more prone to eye issues than other dogs.
The good news is that even by just keeping up with grooming your French Bulldog and keeping its face clean, it is possible to nip some of these eye issues in the bud and make sure they never appear in the first place.
Because the eyes are so sensitive, it is particularly important to bring a French Bulldog to see a veterinarian if there is any risk that the dog is suffering from an eye ailment. These illnesses can worsen quickly and may damage the dog’s sight permanently.
Careful attention to the dog’s health and a good preventative hygiene system should go a long way towards keeping the Frenchie happy and healthy.
Always be on the lookout for eye irritation, and err on the side of caution when getting advice from a veterinarian.