Why Do French Bulldogs Cry So Much? Reasons and Solutions

Why Do French Bulldogs Cry So Much? Closeup portrait of a French bulldog of fawn color against the background of autumn leaves and grass.

I know you love your dog. I really do. But when they cry and cry and cry, it’s easy to get frustrated no matter how patient you are. Have you ever wondered why your French Bulldog cries so much? Just like babies, your Frenchie could be crying for a variety of reasons, be it vocally, visually, or even screaming! Take a look at its causes and how to deal with it.

So, why do French Bulldogs cry so much, anyway?  Some of the popular causes of crying include a request for attention, loneliness, shared compassion, hunger or thirst, or the need to go to the bathroom outside. Other less popular reasons for crying could include allergies that cause watery eyes or even blocked tear ducts. Both with vocal crying or screaming and visual crying, understanding the causes is important, and so is finding the solution!

Reasons for a French Bulldog to Cry

Even the happiest Frenchie you know could have a variety of reasons why they’re vocally crying. You’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad pet parent or that your Frenchie is unhappy! It just means that he is looking for something. Here are some of the most popular “somethings” for French Bulldogs to start whining or crying.

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He wants attention

Frenchies are a very social dog breed, and that means that he needs pretty much constant attention. If you’re on the couch, he’ll snuggle up with you. The same goes for your bed. If you’re cooking, he wants to be “helping”, too. Whatever you’re doing, your Frenchie expects to be directly involved and the center of your attention.

If he isn’t directly next to you and being your furry bestie, then he often will start to cry because he feels he deserves more attention. Even if you know that you can’t possibly give him attention right now, he doesn’t understand that. Stay tuned for tips on how to deal with this.

He’s frightened

This is especially popular in Frenchie puppies who are away from their birth mom and siblings for the first time, as well as older Frenchies who are still settling into their new homes. 

Just like any newbie to your family, there’s going to be an adjustment period for him to settle in and get used to seeing you as his new bestie and family. Until he adapts to that, he’ll feel scared and slightly lonely, too. 

This can be hard on pet parents, but it’s a natural process, and it absolutely will pass in every situation. To help ease the heartache, we’ve got some tips below to make the most out of it!

He’s sensing your feelings

As if it weren’t enough that he loves you so much that he wants to be with you every second of the day, your Frenchie is also a very smart and intuitive doggo that can literally smell your feelings. If you’re having a hard day or feeling sad or angry or anything other than content, your pooch will sense that and start to cry along with you (I know. Right in the feels, huh?).

He will then make it his mission to cheer you up through bringing you his favorite toys, curling up on your lap and licking your face, and generally being as kind and loving as humanly — er, dogly — possible so that you have no choice but to feel better. Just when you thought Frenchies couldn’t get any more perfect, right?

He’s hungry or thirsty

Since your doggo isn’t capable of pouring himself a bowl of dog chow or turning on the tap, he’ll often come to alert you when he’s hungry or thirsty. Smart and creative, he’ll even do this when it isn’t mealtime just to see if he can sneak some extra food in! French Bulldogs are notorious for eating anything in sight, so this can be especially challenging for those pet parents swayed by those classic puppy dog eyes and pout!

However, it can be helpful that he cries when he’s thirsty and hungry just in case you get absorbed into your Netflix documentary or your work, and you don’t see the time! He’s a built-in alarm clock that way.

He needs to go outside

The good ole “Mom/Dad, I gotta go” cry is one that is very familiar to all dog owners. This cry, after some time, will become distinct from all other cries so that you will know what he needs when he comes crying to you. When you’re nice and toasty in bed at 2:00 am, it can be helpful to know this cry from all of the other ones (more on that in a minute).

Video of a French Bulldog Crying Like a Baby

Do French Bulldogs Cry Tears?

There are times that, yes, French Bulldogs can cry actual tears. While crying in Frenchies usually refers to the vocal whining or even screaming (stay tuned), Frenchies are capable of producing actual tears just like humans. However, unlike humans, those tears usually mean something a little different.


French Bulldogs are known for being especially sensitive to allergies. If your pooch has got some tears pooling in his eyes or streaking down his furry face, he could be dealing with a flare-up of allergies. Understanding what he is allergic to, and how to treat it, will help you dry up those tears in no time.

Blocked tear ducts

Your Frenchie can be dealing with blocked tear ducts for a few reasons, two of which are pollutants or allergies. When this happens, his tears will stream freely from his eyes and often take on a red or brown color. You’ll want to remove the staining from his fur properly and make sure that you clear his tear ducts for maximum comfort. 

It’s important to note that if your Frenchie has yellow or mucusy colored teardrops, it could be a sign of an infection rather than backed ducts. In this case, a trip to your vet is going to be a must to get him back to his normal snuffly self. 

Do French Bulldogs Scream?

You may find out the hard (and heart-stopping) way that Frenchies are capable of screaming. Not whining or howling, not whimpering or barking, but screaming. This is exactly as it sounds, and it can often make humans come running as soon as your Frenchie belts one out. This, of course, is precisely why he does it!

He’s unhappy with something or other (such as the reasons above) and intends to let you know as loudly possible so that you will come and fix it right now. Knowing how to deal with your noisy and devious Frenchie will be important in running your life as smoothly as possible. 

Why Is My French Bulldog Whining in His Crate?

You may notice that your French Bulldog also cries as soon as you put him in his crate. Even if it’s just for 30 seconds, he’ll immediately start crying from the moment that you close the door to shut him in. Since crate training is an important part of training your Frenchie properly, this can be a huge pain for Frenchie owners. 

The main reason Frenchies cry in their crate is because they’re dealing with a case of separation anxiety. French Bulldogs are known for being anxious, and this often comes out as separation anxiety when they are shut in their crate and can’t follow you around as they please. Dealing with this kind of crying, you’ll be happy to learn, is just like dealing with a Frenchie’s general crying!

How to Stop Your French Bulldog Crying (Especially at Night)

Now that you’ve learned all about Frenchies and crying, you’ll want to educate yourself on how to deal with it! After all, a crying pup is always distressing, and it can also be amping up your stress levels (which amp up his, too). Then there’s all the running back and forth to cater to his needs and the hours of lost sleep. Ready for that to change?  Here are some real tips to help you out, regardless of why your Frenchie is crying. 

Learn your Frenchie’s different cries

The first thing to do is understand what his different cries sound like. This can take some time, and there may be some mistakes along the way, but it’s worth it. As mentioned above, you’ll find that his bathroom cry will be different from the others. It’s often sharper and more persistent. You’ll also get to know his food/drink cries and even when he’s feeling lonely and wants a cuddle even if you’re in the middle of rolling out bread dough or showering. Once you figure out these differences, you can start to deal with them. 

Make sure your Frenchie has access to fluffy blankets and other comfort devices

Since Frenchies can sometimes even cry if they’re cold (rare, unless he’s in front of an air conditioning vent and confined to a cage and can’t move). Just to be extra sure he’s not crying because of discomfort, make sure he’s got fluffy blankets and pillows and even toys that will bring him some comfort. If he’s dealing with separation anxiety, maybe throw in a shirt that smells like you, too! If it keeps him quiet, it’s worth the sacrifice, right?

Keep your Frenchie active during the day

Sometimes French Bulldogs will cry overnight if they’re bored. Since you’re gone all day, they have no one to play with or follow around, so they will need you to entertain them and wear them out when you get home. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise — it won’t take much since Frenchies are couch potatoes — so that he isn’t bored into crying for you when you’re trying to get some shut-eye or put the kids to bed. Also, he’ll be so worn out from all of the exercise, he’ll be exhausted and sleep through the night. 

Spend dedicating play/bonding time with him during the day and especially in the evening

Another helper is to make sure that your pooch knows that he is going to get time to spend with you so he won’t cry overnight. Since Frenchies are so social, he may just be lonely and missing you!  Make sure you spend lots of time with him in the evening and give him lots of attention and play so that he gets his fill of his favorite human and won’t be neglected overnight

Once your Frenchie learns to trust that you will be back in the morning to spend more time with him, he’ll relax enough to settle down and sleep through the night on his own without a peep, except for snoring.…

Stay firm. Only give in to the bathroom-related cries

This can be challenging. Like, super challenging. Especially if you have just brought him home, and he’s getting used to being away from his doggo family. You have to stay firm and stick to those above tips to ensure that you aren’t giving in to his every cry for fear that he’s hurt or needs you. Of course, he needs you! He’s your favorite human, and he wants you to snuggle with him every second of every day.

You’ll want to make sure that you only give in to his cries for the bathroom. Some pooches can be smart about this and use their bathroom cry even when they don’t need to go (sneaky buggers)! But you can be smarter. Take him to the bathroom and then straight back to his cage with no cuddles or playtime. Eventually, he’ll learn that crying doesn’t equal anything other than a bathroom break. 

Final Thoughts

Just like kids, the behavior that you use in giving in to his crying and screaming is just going to reinforce that it works, which can be harder to relearn and teach. Plus, you know, you’ve got a screeching French Bulldog waking up the household and neighborhood at 2:00 am! Not exactly a good thing for anyone involved.

You’ll have to teach them when crying is acceptable and when it isn’t! Always be patient with them as they learn the rules and get used to how you operate. Self-soothing is never a bad thing, and you’ll need to allow your Frenchie to cry it out while he learns that!  Not only is it great for your sleep schedule, but it’s also great for making sure that he isn’t screaming all day while you’re at work.

With the reasons listed and the guided tips for helping your Frenchie to stop crying, you’ll be equipped to take on your doggo’s needs, whatever they may be.

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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.