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French Bulldog Joint Issues (Symptoms & Treatment)

It’s no secret that Frenchies are prone to a wide range of health issues – joint problems are among the most common.

Although Frenchies have a higher risk of joint issues than other breeds, there are many ways to reduce that risk.

Detecting joint issues early in their progression will reduce their severity and increase your Frenchie’s quality of life.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the types of joint problems, how to recognize and manage pre-existing joint disorders, as well as how to minimize joint pain.

Type of Joint Issues in French Bulldogs

Joint issues in French Bulldogs can be categorized into three main types:

  1. Developmental joint problems
  2. Degenerative joint problems
  3. Joint trauma

Developmental Joint Problems

Developmental joint problems are conditions that are present from birth, or that develop during the puppy stage. They are often caused by abnormal joint development.

Types of developmental joint problems include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation

Degenerative Joint Problems

Degenerative joint problems are conditions that develop over time and are often related to wear and tear on the joints.

Common degenerative joint issues that affect French Bulldogs include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cruciate ligament problems

Joint Trauma

Joint trauma refers to injuries to your French Bulldog joints caused by trauma.

These include:

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Ligament tears

What Causes Joint Problems in French Bulldogs?

Two main factors contribute to joint issues in French Bulldogs: genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

  1. Genetic predisposition
    • Affect rate and progression of joint disorders
    • Selective breeding can eliminate joint problems from the gene pool.
  2. Environmental factors
    • Obesity
    • Excessive growth
    • Nutritional factors
    • Strenuous exercise

Symptoms of Joint Problems in French Bulldogs

Symptoms of joint issues in French Bulldogs include:

  • Reduced interest in physical activity
  • Sleeping more than normal
  • Reluctance to climb furniture or stairs or jump into the car
  • Difficulty lying down or getting up
  • More irritable than normal
  • Swollen joints
  • Increased panting or drooling
  • Unusual posture when running or walking
  • Weight gain
  • Limping or favoring a particular leg
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness of limb or holding limb up

Treatments for Joint Problems in French Bulldogs

To effectively manage your French Bulldog’s joint issues, a proper diagnosis must be made.

This involves a combination of techniques, including blood work, joint fluid analysis, and X-rays.

X-rays are particularly useful in monitoring the progression of the condition and adjusting treatment to alleviate any pain that your Frenchie may be experiencing.

Once your vet has identified a joint issue in your French Bulldog, they will likely recommend several different treatments to help improve their mobility and comfort, such as:

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Medication
  3. Weight management
  4. Surgery

Let’s go over each one of these treatments.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for French Bulldogs that have mild joint issues. These exercises help strengthen the affected area, increase joint flexibility, and reduce inflammation.

Your vet may suggest exercises to do at home or recommend a physical therapist who can help your pup recover.

Physical rehabilitation for Frenchies with joint issues includes:

  • Hands-on techniques
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Cold and heat treatment
  • Laser treatment
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Shock wave treatment
  • Acupuncture

Joint Supplements

You should choose a joint health supplement that offers the right therapeutic dosage for your French Bulldog and is made from high-quality ingredients.

An excellent joint supplement for your French Bulldog includes these active ingredients:

  1. Glucosamine
  2. MSM
  3. Chondroitin
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids

Using these supplements can decrease joint pain, which can improve your Frenchie’s quality of life.

Weight Management

Keeping your French Bulldog at an optimal weight is essential for joint health. The added stress of being overweight can significantly aggravate joint issues and make them worse.

Your vet may recommend a specific diet plan or exercise regimen to help your pup achieve and maintain its ideal weight.


Your vet may also prescribe any of the following medications to help reduce the discomfort associated with joint issues in your French Bulldog.

  1. Anti-inflammatory drugs
  2. Pain medication
  3. Muscle relaxers

Make sure to discuss the best option for your Frenchie with your vet.


In some cases, surgery may be necessary if joint issues are severe.

This is usually done as a last resort and should only be considered after all other treatment options have been exhausted.

Your vet will discuss the pros and cons of surgery with you before deciding.

Tips for Preventing French Bulldog Joint Issues

There are several ways to help keep your French Bulldog’s joints healthy and reduce their chances of developing joint issues.

Here are some tips you can use to keep your pup’s joints in tip-top shape. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Select the Right Food

A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential to help your Frenchie stay lean and healthy.

Feed them high-quality dog food with ample proteins, vitamins, and minerals to help their joints stay healthy.

Provide Regular Exercise

Exercise is essential for keeping your Frenchie joints in good shape. Be sure to provide regular daily walks and plenty of playtimes to keep their joints moving.

Low-impact activities such as swimming can be beneficial for joint health as well.

Take Your Frenchie to Swim

Swimming is one of the best ways to keep your joints healthy. The same goes for your Frenchie.

Since French bulldogs can’t swim, it’s always a good idea to use a life swimming vest.

A life vest will keep your Frenchie’s brachycephalic skull above water and increase his buoyancy.

Supportive Orthopedic Dog Bed 

Using joint-supportive orthopedic beds for your French Bulldog can help reduce the stress on their joints.

Look for beds made with memory foam or other supportive materials to provide comfort and support for your pup’s joints. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight can place additional stress on your pup’s joints, so keep an eye on their diet and exercise habits.

Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce the strain on their joints and ensure they stay healthy. 

Wrap-Up: French Bulldog Joint Issues

French Bulldogs are prone to joint problems due to their anatomy and structure.

To keep your Frenchie’s joints healthy, preventive measures such as providing the right level of exercise and minimizing jumping can support your pup’s joints.

Furthermore, nutritional considerations such as ensuring your Frenchie has an appropriate source of calcium and other essential nutrients for joints can also help.

You should always take signs of joint pain or injury should always seriously. So if you notice any joint issues with your Frenchie, consult your veterinarian.

FAQs on French Bulldog Joint Issues

Are French Bulldogs prone to joint problems?

Yes, French Bulldogs are prone to joint problems, particularly hip dysplasia and patellar luxation.

Do French Bulldogs need joint supplements?

It depends on the individual dog and their specific needs. Consult with a veterinarian to determine if joint supplements are necessary for your French Bulldog.

What does hip dysplasia look like in French Bulldogs?

Hip dysplasia in French Bulldogs can present as difficulty standing up or climbing stairs, reluctance to engage in physical activity, and limping or favoring one leg.

What are the signs of IVDD in French Bulldogs?

Signs of IVDD in French Bulldogs can include back pain, weakness or paralysis in the hind legs, reluctance to move, and difficulty with bladder and bowel control. It is important to seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your French Bulldog may have IVDD.

How do I know if my French Bulldog has arthritis?

Several signs may indicate that your French Bulldog has arthritis, including a reluctance to move, limping, stiffness, difficulty standing or sitting, and a decreased range of motion.

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Lisemaine is a dog lover. She currently owns two Frenchies and enjoys working with and training them. She'll share her best tips with you to keep your Frenchie happy, healthy, and active.

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