The French bulldog is the UK’s most popular dog breed, and one that is also quite different from any breed. They’re also brachycephalic – which is the scientific term for the flattened face and short muzzle – which has a number of implications for the dog’s health and care, as do some of their other features too.
Breeding from French bulldogs can be challenging too, as dogs of the breed often need assistance to mate due to the narrowness of their hips – which also means that the vast majority of French bulldog litters are delivered by caesarean section. Even if you don’t intend to breed from your French bulldog, their flat faces come with challenges of their own, particularly in cases of very exaggerated dogs, and there are even certain French bulldog colours that aren’t recognised under the breed standard, which not everyone knows.
Getting the best possible preventative healthcare and assistance if your dog gets sick or something is wrong is really important – and because French bulldogs are so unique and potentially have a number of different health and conformation challenges, it is wise to choose a vet that fully understands the breed.
Whilst any qualified vet can provide basic care and advice on your dog’s health, finding and working with a vet who knows the breed well and understands their core traits and challenges will provide value for the duration of your dog’s life.
If you own a French bulldog and are wondering how to choose the right vet to register them with, there are a number of different elements you should consider when making your selection. Read on to learn more about choosing the right vet for your French bulldog.
If you bought or are considering buying a French bulldog from a breeder in your local area, a good place to start is by asking them what vet they use and recommend.
By the time you’re considering a purchase, you should already have performed your due diligence and ensured that the breeder is a responsible one – and a responsible breeder will be discerning about their choice of vet, because making the right choice is so important.
If your dog came from a breeder outside of your local area, it is even worth asking their own vet if they have a colleague with lots of Frenchie experience that they can recommend nearer to home.
Because French bulldogs are so popular, they’re a common sight today in the UK, and you probably see several dogs of the breed regularly when you’re out and about in dog-friendly areas.
Building up a network of friends who own French bulldogs is a good idea even before you purchase, as this will give you a chance to meet lots of dogs of the breed and get their owner’s views, insights and opinions.
A great question to ask other French bulldog owners is which vet they use and why, and you may find that one vet or clinic appears to be more popular than others in short order.
Make a list of the clinics within your local area and see what you can find out on their websites about what they do and what their areas of specialism are. However, not all Frenchie specialists or individual vets within a clinic who has a special interest in the breed will mention this on their website, so it is worth phoning or emailing clinics to ask about French bulldog experience.
Again, because the breed is so popular, all clinics will have a lot of Frenchies registered – so you will need to ask some questions to assess whether or not the clinic simply treats these dogs, or aims to position themselves as the area’s go-to clinic for Frenchie care.
When you contact a clinic to ask about their background with Frenchies, asking the right questions is important in order to ensure that you can get helpful answers.
Don’t just ask if they treat French bulldogs or see a lot of them – also ask if they commonly perform procedures such as French bulldog caesareans, corrective surgeries and so on, which helps to tell you that they are trusted and widely used by French bulldog owners for issues other than regular preventative care.
Something else to note is that even if a clinic has a vet that specialises in French bulldogs or that manages complex care and surgical procedures, this may not hold true for all of the vets in the clinic. Whilst you may not always be able to see your vet of choice – particularly in an emergency – find out what the clinic’s policies are for promoting continuity of care, and having the same regular vet see your dog whenever possible.
When you choose a clinic to register with, book in an initial appointment for a health check and consult for your dog early on, as only when your new vet sees your dog will you be able to get a good feel for their experience and suitability.
Watch the things that your vet checks, the insights they provide and the answers they give to your questions, and if you don’t feel positive about it all at the end of your first consult, consider finding another clinic.