French Bulldog Sick Symptoms – What To Look For

French Bulldog Sick Symptoms. Photo of a French Bulldog sick and laying on bed with a thermometer.

You love your Frenchie and would do anything for him, right? Part of taking care of him will include knowing when he is sick or otherwise not feeling too great. Here are the symptoms and possible issues that you may find!

What Are Symptoms That My French Bulldog Is Sick?

Common symptoms of a sick French Bulldog include a chronic runny nose (with colored mucus), coughing while or after, drinking or eating, and difficulty in breathing after very light activity. Other sickness symptoms could include excessive panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, a fever, shaking, and more. Below you’ll learn about common sickness symptoms, how to spot a cold and a fever, and what to do about it!

How do I know if my French Bulldog has a cold?

Just like humans, Frenchies can get a case of sniffles, too! If you Frenchie has a cold, you’ll notice sneezing, watery eyes and a stuffed up, or runny nose. If it’s these symptoms alone and he seems, more or less, himself, it’s probably just a cold! If it doesn’t get better or gets worse and has coughing, you might want to see a vet! More on that later, though.

Dogs can get colds from dog parks, sniffing something contaminated with the bacteria, and so on — just like humans! Below, there’s some advice to help your pup soldier through.

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How do I know if my French Bulldog has a fever?

French Bulldogs can get fevers, but since we can’t exactly see them go pale or start to break a cold sweat, it can be hard to tell. Here are some of the most common symptoms that a Frenchie has a fever:

  • A warm or dry nose
  • Warm ears
  • Lethargy
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite

It is similar to a cold, but with a few more symptoms that signify that your dog is dealing with a virus, his body is trying hard to fight it. 

How do I know if my French Bulldog has a respiratory illness?

Because of the design of a Frenchie (aka brachycephalic), respiratory issues are common. When eating or drinking, a French Bulldog can quite easily accidentally inhale both food and water, making it the prime spot for bacteria to build up. This can create an infection or cause a respiratory illness. Common symptoms to watch for include:

  • A runny nose
  • Eye or nose discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing and/or snorting

Since they are prone to respiratory issues at the best of times, a respiratory illness can create severe stress on a Frenchie’s body.

What are common general sickness symptoms in my Frenchie?

All things considered, cold and flu symptoms aren’t as common with pets as they are with humans, but that doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t sick sometimes! Frenchies are especially prone to sickness, especially respiratory ones, so knowing what to watch for is essential for your dog’s overall health!

A puppy will show he is sick primarily by being extremely lethargic and unresponsive to his food. Since puppies love playing and food, both of these signs can be cause for concern. Of course, there are other symptoms, such as weight loss (or lack of weight gain, since puppies are still growing), whining and panting, and vomiting.

Sick adult Frenchies will show the same lethargy and lack of interest in food. However, you can also spot other symptoms a little easier—for example, restlessness, trouble urinating, fever, breathing problems, and pale gums. 

Many owners will find that they “have a feeling” that something seems off in both puppies and adults before they notice a symptom directly. This is part of being a responsible pet parent.

The other question to take a look at in recognizing sickness symptoms is paying attention to whether your French Bulldog is sick with a cold, flu, respiratory illness, etc., or dealing with an allergy flare-up. Since French Bulldogs commonly have allergies, understanding how to distinguish allergic reactions from illnesses through understanding the symptoms is essential!

Is my French Bulldog stomach sick?

As if that wasn’t enough, French Bulldogs also tend to have upset stomachs easily. This could be from food that didn’t agree with their stomach, or it could be an actual stomach bug itself. Common signs of a stomach flu bug include:

  • Retching/hacking
  • Throwing up
  • Lack of appetite

Why is my French Bulldog shaking?

Have you noticed that your sweet French Bulldog is shaking all of a sudden? Most pet parents assume that it is anxiety or over-excitement. It could very well be, especially if they’re meeting a new person that is especially exciting to them.

Shaking can also be a symptom of illness, though, so if you notice it for a reason that you can’t pinpoint, take a look at other signs that might be popping up, too. FOr example, shaking could be shivering, and it could mean that your dog has a fever. Shaking with panting could also be a sign that your dog is in pain. Shaking with a loss of consciousness and/or extreme lethargy could be a sign of a seizure, too.

Whether it’s as simple as a fever or as serious as a seizure, shaking is a symptom that should always be noted and then used to help you determine what’s next. Speaking of which…

What should I do if my Frenchie is sick?

It’s so hard to see your dog sick, we understand! Feeling a little panicky? Take a breath; it’s okay! The first thing to do when looking at how to best care for your dog is going to be figuring out what he’s got going on, including:

  • A cold
  • A flu
  • A respiratory issue
  • An allergy

A cold

If your dog has a cold, you’ll want to keep a close eye on him to see how his symptoms go. If they get better after a few days, he should be good to go! If they get worse, you may need to take him to a vet. While you wait to see, make sure you give him plenty of rest, fresh water (and lots of it), and consider a humidifier or vaporizer if he has a bad case of a stuffy nose.

A flu

The flu often will require a vet visit. A fever should always be taken seriously to see if it stays the same, rises, or goes down. This is a sign that your dog is fighting off an attack from a virus, of course. A fever for a French Bulldog would be 103.5 degrees F to 104 degrees F (or 39.7 degrees C to 40 degrees C), and you should have a thermometer in your doggy care kit! 

While watching for the fever to break after a few days, you’ll want to give him plenty of rest and relaxation, as well as his favorite (healthy) food, and be ready to take him to the vet if need be for some antibiotics and a more professional opinion.

An allergy

Frenchies and allergies often go hand in hand. You should always know the common symptoms of allergies in your French Bulldog, which is part of being a responsible dog parent. Any time you suspect an allergy, you’ll want to take him to the vet to have him tested. Dog allergies can often be very serious, after all.

I don’t know what’s wrong with my Frenchie. What do I do?

Firstly, stay calm. If you aren’t sure what you’re dealing with with your Frenchie, don’t be afraid to call your vet and let them know what symptoms he shows. They’ll tell you what to do and often will bring him to make sure they can see what he’s dealing with!

One last note

Some people will say that coughing could be just a sign of the fu or something environmental — both of these are true. However, if you notice that your dog is coughing more than just once in a while, it’s a sign that he should go to a vet. While coughing is relatively common in humans, it’s often a sign that something is wrong in a dog. If you notice coughing alongside any of these other symptoms, or on its own, you should call your vet to get him checked out!

Whether it’s a cold, the flu, an allergy, or something else, knowing the symptoms of a sick Frenchie is a must when you are looking to be a loving and attentive pet parent! This list will help you do just that.

To conclude

Symptoms of sickness in your French Bulldog can include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, a fever, and more. Knowing what they look like and what you should do, is crucial to keep your French Bulldog healthy!

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.