French Bulldogs are a beloved breed known for their adorable wrinkled faces, dense bodies, and distinctive “bat” ears.
However, while their ears may be one of their most charming features, they can also present a number of health issues if not properly cared for.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about French Bulldog ears, including common ear problems, the practice of tapping, the importance of cleaning, and some interesting facts about this unique breed.
Whether you’re a proud French Bulldog owner or simply interested in learning more about these lovable pups, this article is a must-read for anyone looking to ensure their pet’s long-term health and happiness.
Fun Facts About French Bulldog Ears
French Bulldogs are one of the few breeds that have what is commonly referred to as bat ears. The ears are large, upright, and broad at the base, with a rounded tip.
The bat ears on French Bulldogs are not just a cosmetic feature, but they also serve a practical purpose. They help to direct sound toward the dog’s ear canal, improving their hearing.
French Bulldog puppies are born with floppy ears that eventually stand up as they grow. It can take several weeks or even months for their ears to fully stand up.
Some French Bulldogs may have one ear that stands up while the other is floppy or folded over.
This is known as a “rose ear,” and while it is not the standard for the breed, it is still considered acceptable in most show rings.
French Bulldog Ear Problems
Unfortunately, French Bulldogs are more likely than some other breeds to suffer from deafness.
Specifically, Frenchies may be prone to a type of deafness called congenital sensorineural deafness, which means they are born deaf or partially deaf.
This is thought to be due to a genetic mutation that affects the development of the inner ear.
Congenital sensorineural deafness can affect one or both ears, and it may range in severity from partial hearing loss to complete deafness.
Affected dogs may require special care and accommodations to help them cope with their hearing loss.
The good news is that dogs can still live completely happy lives with hearing loss. Dogs suffering from hearing loss or deafness can be trained to rely on their sight.
They often look to their owners for directions given by hand signals. Other than using hand signals instead of voice commands alone, deaf dogs are entirely the same as hearing dogs.
French Bulldogs are prone to ear infections due to their uniquely shaped ears. Their ears are upright and relatively narrow, which means that air circulation is restricted, and moisture can easily become trapped inside.
Moreover, their ear canals are often quite narrow, which can further contribute to the problem. This can create a warm, humid environment that is ideal for the growth of bacteria and yeast.
Additionally, French Bulldog ears’ can often trap moisture and debris, leading to inflammation, irritation, and infection.
The symptoms of ear infections in French Bulldogs can include shaking the head, scratching at the ears, redness and swelling of the ears, foul odor from the ears, and discharge.
If you suspect that your French Bulldog has an ear infection, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment typically involves cleaning the ears, administering medication, and addressing any underlying causes, such as allergies or hormonal imbalances.
Though not entirely common, some French Bulldogs can develop ear hematomas.
Ear hematomas occur when there is a buildup of blood between the skin and cartilage of the ear flap, often due to the dog shaking its head excessively or scratching at its ears.
Ear hematomas can be very painful and may require veterinary treatment to drain the fluid and prevent further damage to the ear.
If you notice that your French Bulldog is shaking its head frequently or showing signs of discomfort, such as rubbing its ear against furniture or pawing at its ear, it’s important to have its ears checked by a veterinarian.
Early detection and treatment of ear hematomas can help prevent complications and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Additionally, regular ear cleaning and maintenance can help prevent ear infections and other ear-related health issues in French Bulldogs.
How to Tape Your French Bulldog’s Ears
In most cases, a French Bulldog’s ear will stand up entirely on its own without any intervention.
Some people do find that taping the ears for a few days can help encourage the ears to take their signature shape.
If choosing to tape the ears, most people will do it when the puppy is about nine to eleven weeks of age.
Choose the Type of Ear Tape
A woven medical tape that is about one inch wide will be needed. Never use any other kind of tape, as anything non-medical can be harmful to their ears.
You can find breathable woven medical tape in most grocery stores and pharmacies.
Decide on the Ear Taping Method
The first method is to wrap the tape around the base of the Frenchies’ ear a couple of times while holding the ear in the desired position.
The tape can be left on for two to three days. This method is usually used when a Frenchies’ ear is falling all the way down and not standing at all.
Another method that is used is placing a little piece of tape on the inside of the ear, right where it folds. This is usually done when the ear is just slightly bent or floppy.
One or two small pieces of tape should be sufficient to help the ear perk up. Again, the tape should only be left on for two to three days.
It is important to note that taping really isn’t necessary since French Bulldog’s ears almost always stand up on their own.
Typically the ears are fully erect by the time the pup is four months old. However, in some cases, it may take up to eight months for the ears to perk all the way up.
Encourage Chewing Behavior
Another thing you can do is encourage chewing behavior in your French Bulldog.
Some suggest that the act of chewing helps strengthen the temporalis muscle. Having a strengthened temporalis muscle may help encourage the ears to stand.
There are a wide variety of different chew toys that Frenchie puppies will love. There are even ones made specifically for teething puppies.
The act of chewing on various materials helps soothe their sore gums. As long as your puppy is chewing on appropriate items and not on your furniture, it can be quite beneficial!
Cleaning a French Bulldog’s Ears
Before you start cleaning your Frenchie ears, gather all the necessary supplies.
You’ll need cotton balls or pads, a mild ear-cleaning solution, and some treats to reward your dog. Be sure to choose a high-quality ear-cleaning solution that is gentle and safe for dogs.
The next step before you get started cleaning your Frenchie’s ears is to closely examine them for any signs of infection, inflammation, or irritation.
Look for redness, swelling, discharge, or a foul odor. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best not to attempt to clean your dog’s ears, as it could cause further irritation or worsening symptoms. Instead, consult with your veterinarian for treatment options.
Once you have inspected your Frenchie’s ears, it’s time to apply the ear-cleaning solution. Fill the ear canal with the solution, following the instructions on the bottle.
Instructions typically suggest gently massaging the base of the ear for 20-30 seconds to help loosen any debris or wax buildup.
Your Frenchie may feel a little uncomfortable or ticklish during this process but try to keep them calm and relaxed.
Once you’ve thoroughly massaged the base of their ear, let go and let your dog shake any excess solution out of its ears.
After massaging the ear-cleaning solution, take a cotton ball or pad and wipe the inside of the ear, being careful not to push any debris further into the ear canal.
Use as many cotton balls or pads as necessary until the ear is clean. If your Frenchie has a lot of debris or wax buildup, you may need to repeat this step a few times.
And, of course, don’t forget to reward them for their good behavior! Give them a treat or a favorite toy to make them feel loved and appreciated.
Wrap-Up: French Bulldog Ears
French Bulldog ears are a unique and important feature of the breed. While their small, bat-like ears make them instantly recognizable, they are also susceptible to a variety of health problems.
Proper care and attention, including regular cleaning and occasional taping, can help prevent these issues and keep your Frenchie healthy and happy.
By understanding the facts and potential problems associated with their ears, you can provide the best possible care for your Frenchie.
With patience, consistency, and a little bit of extra effort, you can help ensure that your French Bulldog’s ears remain healthy and look great for years to come.