Do you suspect that your beloved French Bulldog may be a little…well, pudgy? Don’t worry- it’s not just your pup! An estimated 40% of all dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, and the notoriously food-loving breed known as the French Bulldog is no exception.
As a veterinarian and a bully owner, I am here to tell you why maintaining your Frenchie’s optimum weight is so important and how you can help them achieve it.
So don’t despair – with a few simple changes to nutrition and activity habits, you can help get them back on track.
Is My French Bulldog Overweight?
Did you know that French Bulldogs are often found to be carrying extra pounds? After all, they’re considered to be one of the dogs who tend to struggle with maintaining a healthy body weight. Of course, indulging in tasty treats on a regular basis can easily add copious amounts of canine chubbiness! But luckily, some strategic exercising and smart snacking can keep them trim and fit.
Feeling uncertain about the weight of your beloved French Bulldog? Don’t fret, there are a few ways to determine the ideal number. Keep in mind that every pup is unique and grows at its own pace — these guidelines serve as merely helpful suggestions. It’s essential to ensure they stay within certain parameters for their health and happiness!
The two ways I recommend for you to determine if your Frenchie is overweight are weighing them or body condition scoring them. I teach all my new dog owners about condition scoring from their early months so pet parents can be on the right track for maintaining an ideal body weight of their pet pooch (or cat)
Is My French Bulldog Overweight Weighing Your Frenchie
Evaluating your French Bulldog’s weight is essential to ensure that it fits its form and age range. Fortunately, checking the weight of your pup can be done in a few simple steps!
- Ask your veterinarian to weigh your pet pooch at the clinic. This can be a win-win-win as you get a reliable weight of the specialized scales and your dog gets used to frequent vet visits that don’t involve poking and prodding. They can also help you determine if your Frenchie is the correct weight and guide you on a special weight-loss diet if it’s warranted.
- Don’t want to take your dog to the vet? you can weigh your dog at home on your bathroom scales. The easiest way is to weigh yourself with your dog first and then weigh just yourself. The difference is the weights are what your French Bulldog weighs. This method tends not to be as accurate as weighing at the vet’s but can be a good indicator if you are monitoring weight loss at home
- An ideal weight French Bull Dog should weigh between 15-28 pounds. This is a pretty big range so check out my article here for more info.
Get Hand’s On With Body Condition Scoring
Another way to evaluate your French Bulldog’s weight is to use body condition scoring. This method involves assessing the overall shape and feel of your pup by gently running your hands over its body. It can be helpful in determining if a dog is overweight or underweight, as well as tracking changes over time.
As I mentioned before I teach all my pet parents how to do this in the first year of their pet’s life and this is the way I track my own dog’s weight and condition. The below video is one I often share with owners to refer back on to condition score their dogs:
In terms of the steps these are below:
- Through play and touching your dog, you will come to know your dog’s standard body shape and catch the early warning signs of potential weight gain.
- Still uncertain? Physically look at and touch your dog. Run your hands on both sides of the body, starting at the head and moving toward the tail. If your dog is overweight, you must push through a layer of fat to feel the ribs and spine.
- An overweight dog will have a fat build-up at the base of its tail.
- Look down on your dog from above. Dogs with a healthy body weight represent the form of an hourglass, and a tucked tummy will be prevalent. If your French Bulldog appears “square” from above, it is likely overweight.
Here are some pictures I have found representing overweight, obese and ideal-weight Frenchies.
Overweight French Bulldog
Obese French Bulldog
French Bulldog: Ideal Weight
Additional Signs That Your French Bulldog May Be Overweight
Lack of Interest in Play or Quick to Tire
Carrying around all those extra pounds can not only make it physically harder to walk and run around. But it can also put added pressure on their hearts, lungs, and airways making it difficult to breathe.
Round or Square Bodies
French Bulldogs should have a defined body, meaning they should have a muscular chest, a solid athletic body, and you should be able to see a defined waist as per the above two photos.
Even with their unique body, a French Bulldog should be able to groom itself without trouble. A French Bulldog that struggles to scratch an itch may have a weight challenge. However, they should be able to lick their paws and scratch their ears without difficulty.
All French Bulldog owners will agree that this breed takes snoring to a new dimension. Even though snoring is part of the genetic makeup of this breed, obese French Bulldogs will snore excessively due to more restricted airflow caused by fat deposits.
As we know these guys are predisposed to narrowed airways and breathing issues. Being overweight or obese can magnify this problem so if you notice your Frenchie is struggling to breathe take them to the vet for an evaluation.
Eight Ways To Help A French Bulldog Lose Weight
After wondering, weighing, and identifying the signs, you need to take responsibility for helping your overweight pooch to lose those extra pounds and live a better life. Being overweight is detrimental to their health and can significantly shorten their lifespan.
Here are my eight tips to get your French Bulldog to lose those extra pounds
- Keep a close eye on their weight. Staying one step ahead of your pup’s weight is key to maintaining their health. Monitor any changes in behavior, build, or posture carefully and take action if necessary. Knowing the ideal weight for each breed provides a great guide when deciding whether they need an adjusted diet plan. Prevention truly is better than cure, so be sure you’re keeping an eye on Fido!
- Increase their energy expenditure. So get your dog to be more active by initiating play and walks and set up enjoyable indoor stimulation within your home that entices them to move around more. Swimming can also be a great low-impact exercise. More ideas are here.
- Most overweight and obese dogs do well on a special weight loss diet available from your vet. These diets have been specifically formulated for safe and effective weight loss and have undergone lots of research. In my experience pets lose weight and keep it off far more effectively than over-the-counter “light” diets.
- Keep treats to a minimum. Food does not equal love and you could be killing your dog with kindness! Giving too many high-calorie treats is one of the most common reasons for weight gain in our pets. A slice of toast or piece of cheese is akin to us eating a cheeseburger! Stick to low-calorie treats (or use some of their daily kibble allowance) and they should consist of no more than 10% of their daily calorie requirement. You can also opt for low-calorie carrots and watermelon – my dogs adore both of these low-calorie options.
- Weigh the food if you can. I recommend that you weigh and split your pet’s diet into three portions to feed throughout the day (typically morning, afternoon and evening). If you don’t want to weigh the food then use a proper measuring cup and make sure you stick to the recommended amount.
- Your vet clinic will often offer a weight loss service (think Weight Watchers in people) or are usually more than happy to discuss your pet’s weight and what options/plans would suit them best. We are always more than happy to help your pet on its weight loss journey so don’t be shy in asking if we don’t bring it up (although I always do!).
- Transition them slowly into their new diet and routine. Remember to ease your dog into the new schedule and food, and do not go “cold turkey” on them. Start by giving your dog seventy-five percent of their usual food and twenty-five percent of the new food on days one and two, increasing the new food with twenty-five percent every other day until you reach one hundred percent new food by day seven. Doing this will ease him into a new routine and avoid tummy upsets – something I know Frenchies are susceptible to.
- Regular weigh-ins and monitoring are needed to keep your pooch (and you) on track. Just like people our dogs don’t usually lose weight in a straight line. Expect that there will be some hurdles and adjustments needed along the way. This is where your vet clinic may really be able to help with regular weigh-ins, advice and problem-solving.
Lifespan Of A Healthy French Bulldog
A healthy, well-bred French Bulldog may live to be thirteen, although their average life expectancy is between ten and thirteen years.
Unconfirmed data states the oldest French Bulldog in the world, Popeye, turned eighteen and died of cancer. Proving that the better you look after and care for your French Bulldog, the longer he may be a part of your life.
To ensure our pets are healthy and happy in the long-term, we need to wholeheartedly commit ourselves to their wellness. This means providing them with proper nutrition and exercise, as well as regular veterinary check-ups. They rely on us entirely for care – if they should ever require help controlling their weight, it is up to us humans to take charge of this issue by making changes in their diet.