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Summertime with Your Frenchie

Summer begins on June 20th in the Northern Hemisphere. When I think about summertime, I think about going to the beach, parks, and outdoor barbecues. While these activities are fun for both us and our fur babies, the heat can be intolerable for our frenchies so we must take extra precautions to keep them cool. French Bulldogs tend to overheat more quickly than many other breeds due to many reasons such as compacted airways, stenotic nares, elongated soft palates, or even allergies. Since we are quickly approaching summer and temperatures are creeping higher and higher, I thought this would be a good time to provide some ideas for keeping our frenchies cool while still enjoying summertime activities.

First and foremost, it is a good idea to invest in a tent to provide your frenchie shade and keep them out of the direct sunlight. I personally use the ABCCANOPY Outdoor Easy Pop up Canopy Tent 6×6 Central Lock-Series, Khaki. This allows us to set up all our gear under the tent and have a place to easily get out of the sun if needed. Another fun idea is to use a sunshade such as the ZOMAKE Pop Up Beach Tent 3-4 Person, Portable Instant Sun Shelters Cabana Sun Shade with UPF 50+ UV Protection for Kids & Family.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much fun for our frenchies to stay under the tent the entire time, so here are some great cooling products to use to keep your frenchie cool:

Upaw 4 Pcs Dog Instant Cooling Bandana Chill Out Scarf Pet Cool Neck Wrap for Puppy Cats

Dog Cooling Bandana, Stock Show Pet Dog Adjustable Ice Chill Out Collar Scarf with 5 Ice Packs for Summer (Flamingo)

Canada Pooch Chill Seeker Dog Cooling Vest Water Evaporative and Adjustable Rainbow – Size 14 (13-15″ Back Length)

Dog Cooling Shirt 2 Packs – Soft Breathable Instant T Shirts, Comfortable Summer Clothes Vest, Absorb Water and Evaporate Quickly for Dogs Cats Puppy

O2COOL 2 Pack Elite Battery Powered Handheld Water Misting Fans (Teal)

Taking them for a swim will also cool them down, but we all know that most frenchies are not great swimmers so make sure you have a good life jacket such this one: Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets with Extra Padding for Dogs, X-Large – Pink.

Last but certainly not least, be sure to have plenty of water on hand. I always carry these Babyoung Dog Water Bottle, Portable Dog Water Bottles for Walking and Traveling, Patented Design with 3 Filters and Dust Cap, Outdoor Leakproof Water Bowl for Pets, Easy Clean (Blue) when on outings with Dozer, Molly, and Harley. You can refill them as many times as you like with any water source that is available and it filters the water for you.

We do not have to sacrifice summer fun with our frenchies, we just need to be extra diligent to keep them cool and safe. So, go to the beach, take them to the park, and go to that barbeque. Enjoy, have fun and most of all have a happy summer everyone!

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Canine Dental Health

Let’s talk dental care! If there is one thing you could do for the overall health of your dog, it is take care of their teeth and gums. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not only important for dental health but important for the overall health of your canine companion. Eighty percent, that is right 80%, of dogs develop dental disease by the age of three years old. Pet parents tend to overlook dental health more often than anything else when it comes to the health of their dogs. Poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath, broken teeth, tooth loss, oral pain, and organ damage. Lack of brushing leads to plaque buildup. Bacteria in plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, liver or kidneys creating alarming health issues. Poor dental hygiene is particularly problematic for frenchies and other small dog breeds since they often have overcrowded and misaligned teeth. This overcrowding can make the teeth difficult to clean and make them more prone to dental disease. What are the signs that your dog may have dental disease?

Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs

Some of the tell-tale signs that your dog may be developing dental disease are bad breath; large deposits on the teeth (usually yellow or brown in color); red, swollen, or bleeding gums; changes in eating or drinking habits such as refusing to eat or drink; broken teeth or tooth loss; and drooling. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to discuss the symptoms with your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for an examination.

What can we as dog parents do to prevent this from happening? Well, it is simple really. Brush their teeth every day just as you brush your own teeth every day. You may be saying, well it is not that simple since my dog hates brushing his teeth so I will give you some tips to help your dog get used to it.

Tips for Brushing Your Dogs Teeth

The first thing I always do when brushing my dogs’ teeth is let them smell and lick the toothpaste. Many times, this does the trick as they think they are getting some sort of treat. If the taste of the toothpaste is not enough to tempt them into liking the toothpaste, you can add something tasty to it such as tuna juice. Once you have let them lick a little, ease the toothbrush into their mouth and brush very gently making sure to positively reinforce the behavior. For tips on positive reinforcement, read this post: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2020/08/01/behavioral-modification-using-operant-conditioning-training-your-frenchie/

 It is important to brush all teeth, however your focus should be on the outside surfaces particularly in the areas on the insides of the cheeks. These are the areas most prone to tartar buildup. Paleo pets has a great all natural tooth powder which I use regularly. Shop 100% Natural Dog Teeth Cleaner, Keep Your Dogs Teeth Healthy!

It is always best to get your dog accustomed to having their teeth brushed regularly, but what do you do if they absolutely will not let you brush? At the very least, you should provide them with dental treats such as these organic Minty Breath Bones or dental toys such as this Nylabone.

I hope this post helps you on your way to creating a dental hygiene routine for your dog. If you have any tips or tricks to help our fellow frenchie parents, please leave a comment.

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Similarities and Differences Between Dogs and Wolves

Back in November I wrote a blog post entitled “Frenchies are more like humans than you may think.” While dogs are indeed more like humans than some may believe, we must not forget that dogs are descendant from wolves and have retained many of the traits and characteristics of the wolf. So, what are these traits and characteristics that dogs continue to share with wolves?

Traits and Characteristics Dogs Have in Common with Wolves

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) are remarkably genetically similar. In fact, they share 98.8% of their DNA and can interbreed if allowed. Even though there are obvious physical differences between some breeds of dogs, such as the French Bulldog, and wolves, there are many similarities. Their overall body shape is similar, they all have four legs and paws and consequently walk similarly. They also have larger ears and teeth compared to many other species in the Kingdom Animalia. However, the similarities go well beyond the physical. Dogs still share the same body language displayed by their wolf ancestors such as postures indicating dominance, submission, or aggression. They both display territorial behaviors. Dogs and wolves alike have an extremely high prey drive and they both dig in attempts to discover whatever they smell in hopes that it may be their next meal. Have you ever seen your dog turn in several circles before finally laying down? This goes back to their ancestry as well. Wolves lay down leaves and walk around in circles on top of the leaves to pack them down making a bed to sleep in. A recent study has found that both dogs and wolves display a “showing behavior” when food is hidden and they cannot get to it themselves. They will “show” their human counterpart where the food is located so the human may acquire the food for them. And let us not forget their sense of smell. Both dogs and wolves have an innate sense of smell. They have a much better sense of smell than humans and can, in fact, pick up on scents that are miles away. In addition to these traits and characteristics, dogs and wolves life expectancies and gestation times are still remarkably close to each other. It has been said that the closer the genetic link to the common ancestor of the wolf, the more wolf-like tendencies the dog will have. See the cladogram below showing some of the closest dog breeds to the common ancestor between the grey wolf and the domestic dog. The French Bulldog would fall under the category of the red arrow stating “To all modern European and Asian breeds” and are likely far down the evolutionary chain from their ancient wolf common ancestor.

Artificial Selection

So, how exactly did we get from the ancient wolf common ancestor to the domesticated dogs we see today? First through natural selection and then through artificial selection. Artificial selection is selecting for certain traits and characteristics that are desirable. Artificial selection works in the same way as natural selection. The difference is that natural selection occurs …….well “naturally”, and artificial selection happens with human interference. Have you ever heard the saying “Survival of the Fittest?” Well, that is natural selection. Traits that will help an organism survive will be naturally selected for. Humans have been artificially selecting for or against certain traits and characteristics in canines for thousands of years. Our influence has created dogs that are more docile, easier to handle, enjoy human interaction, and allows for the great diversity in dogs we see today. If we want to increase a characteristic such as agility, we breed the dogs that have the most agility. This is where we get the deviations from the wolf traits and characteristics, by selecting for or against certain traits and characteristics.

Traits and Characteristics that Differ in Dogs vs Wolves

You probably already know the main difference between dogs and wolves is that dogs are domesticated and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. What may not be as obvious is that dogs have been bred to retain their puppy-like qualities that us humans know and love. Dogs, through artificial selection, are less fearful than wolves and more playful than wolves. Dogs are aware of human gestures and learn quickly to understand their meaning. I also would not imagine that wolves would take too kindly to being dressed up the way we dress up our precious French Bulldogs. We have also artificially selected for dogs who sexually mature at a younger age. While wolves do not mature sexually until 2-3 years of age, dogs typically mature sexually before the age of one. Dogs have more heat cycles than wolves so they may produce young more often. Finally, dogs can digest a wider variety of foods than their wolf counterparts which was likely a natural selection since dogs have been eating along side us for a very long time.

The diversity we see in dogs is evidence that they have come a long way since the days of their wolf ancestors. Even so, we must respect the wolf in them and understand that although they may have human-like tendencies, they still very much have some of their wolf-like traits and characteristics.

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Best Human-Grade Dog Food Review

There are numerous options available when it comes to dog food and we all want what is best for our canine companions which is why I have been contemplating making the change to one of the fresh human-grade options available. When I switched Dozer from what the breeder was feeding him, I did A LOT of research and landed on Farmina Dry Dog Food. Of all the kibble I have seen, Farmina uses the best ingredients, hands down. To read about my research and why I landed on Farmina, click here: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2020/07/04/what-should-i-feed-my-frenchie/

Let’s face it, fresh dog food is EXPENSIVE so before I decided to pursue that route, I wanted to conduct some research and hopefully my research helps you, as an added bonus, if you are thinking about making the switch to fresh food as well.

Here is what I found about the most common human-grade fresh dog food brands out there:

The Farmer’s Dog

When I first thought about switching from Farmina to fresh dog food, the first company that came to mind was The Farmer’s Dog and truthfully, I thought this was the brand I would land on. However, after answering their questions on their website about my French Bulldogs (age, weight, etc.), I quickly realized they only provide a turkey formula, a beef formula, a chicken formula, and a pork formula. These are all proteins I either can not or do not feed my frenchies. Dozer definitely has proven sensitivities to chicken and beef so they are definitely not an option for me. I have tried pork treats also and they did not sit well with any of my frenchies. The only protein option I have not tried is turkey and this is only because of an assumption on my part that at least Dozer may have a sensitivity to turkey. However, because turkey would be the only viable option, I decided to investigate the turkey formula and here is what I found. The ingredients in the turkey formula are USDA turkey, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, parsnip, spinach, fish oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, along with several vitamins and minerals. Most of these ingredients are quality ingredients. However, I question the addition of chickpeas. I would prefer to see them left out and more turkey added. More than that, I would have loved to see a lamb or salmon option which are great options for our allergy prone frenchies. The great thing about The Farmer’s Dog (and most of these fresh foods) is that there are no preservatives added. The Farmers Dog food also comes pre-portioned and delivered right to your doorstep. The turkey recipe of The Farmers Dog received 4.5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor and will run you approximately $5.36 per day.

Ollie

Ollie is another popular and highly advertised fresh dog food option. Unlike The Farmers Dog, you can choose from a beef recipe, a chicken recipe, a turkey recipe, and a lamb recipe. I was happy to see the lamb recipe which contains the following ingredients: Lamb, lamb liver, butternut squash, kale, chickpeas, cranberries, potato, chia seeds, dicalcium phosphate, iodized salt, calcium carbonate along with vitamins and minerals. Again, I am not a fan of chickpeas and I am also not a fan of potatoes in dog food. Just like with humans, sweet potatoes are a better option so I would have liked to seen sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes as an ingredient. On a positive note, many of the other ingredients are high quality ingredients and there are no by-products or fillers in this food. Ollie brand dog food comes frozen and is delivered right to your doorstep just like The Farmer’s Dog food brand. The lamb recipe received a 4.5-star rating on the Dog Food Advisor and will cost you approximately $5.64 per day.

Nom Nom

Nom Nom states on their website they are restaurant grade using only US growers and suppliers. This should peak the interest of all of us frenchie parents. However, just like The Farmer’s Dog, they only offer a beef recipe, a chicken recipe, a pork recipe, and a turkey recipe. Again, I opted to investigate the turkey recipe and found the ingredients are ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, fish oil, natural flavor, vinegar, citric acid, and other vitamins and minerals. Although most of these ingredients seem to be good, I am not a fan of brown rice since brown rice can be hard to digest and of course, I would have liked to see a lamb or salmon recipe offered. Nom Nom comes pre-portioned and delivered right to your doorstep. This turkey recipe received 5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor and will cost you approximately $5.15 per day.

Spot & Tango

Spot & Tango has a fresh food option and what they call an “unkibble” option. Since we are comparing fresh foods here that is what I reviewed. Spot & Tango’s fresh food contains no additives, preservatives, or fillers and it is delivered frozen. Spot & Tango offers a beef recipe, a chicken recipe, a turkey recipe, and a lamb recipe. I, of course, investigated the lamb recipe and found the ingredients to be USDA certified lamb, brown rice, blueberries, spinach, carrots, peas, eggs, parsley, apple cider vinegar, safflower oil, vegetable stock along with vitamins and minerals. Other than the brown rice, I love these ingredients. Blueberries and apple cider vinegar both offer many health benefits to our canine companions. All Spot & Tango recipes have received a 5-star rating on Dog Food Advisor. Unfortunately, this brand is beyond pricey coming in at $8.70 per day.

Fresh Pet

Fresh Pet is a little different than the others in that it is available in stores and does not require a subscription. After answering several questions on their website (including questions about allergies), they recommended the Salmon and Whitefish recipe which contains the following ingredients: Salmon, ocean whitefish, cranberries, spinach, blueberries, sweet potatoes, lentils, sunflower oil, pea protein, carrageenan, celery powder, potassium chloride and other vitamins and minerals. While I am not a fan of the lentils, pea protein, or carrageenan, the other ingredients are quality ingredients and are antibiotic and preservative free. Additionally, all meats used by Fresh Pet are USDA meats and they use USDC/NOAA registered sources for the fish. Fresh Pet also has a good assortment of treats and a highly informative website. The formula I chose to review received a 5-star rating on Dog Food Advisor and this food at $11.99 per roll from PetCo should only run you approximately $3.00 per day. Chewy also carries Fresh Pet. If you are looking for a fresh food option that won’t break the bank, this may be the option for you.

Pet Plate

I saved the best for last, at least in my humble opinion. Pet Plate offers high quality, human-grade, whole food recipes which are personalized and cooked. They offer a beef recipe, a chicken recipe, a turkey recipe, and a lamb recipe. Again, I chose to investigate the lamb recipe and found it to contain the following ingredients: ground lamb, sweet potatoes, apples, lamb liver, quinoa, broccoli, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, natural flavors, calcium carbonate, salmon oil and other vitamins and minerals. These are all high-quality ingredients that are hot-filled and flash frozen. I particularly love the addition of the salmon oil since it is high in omega-3’s. Pet Plate has received a 5-star rating on dog food advisor with the lamb recipe receiving 4.5 stars and this fresh food option will cost you approximately $5.04 per day.

Most of these fresh food brands offer a discount on your first order and they meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutritional profile. From this research I have conducted, I am leaning heavily towards Pet Plate. It has the highest quality ingredients and is the cheapest option apart from Fresh Pet.

If your fur-babies are already on one of these fresh food brands, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below: good, bad or ugly.

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Dog Friendly Vacation Ideas

As 2020 is coming to an end, you may be thinking about taking a vacation in 2021. After all, the majority of 2020 has been consumed by COVID-19 and I think we could all use a vacation right about now. What better time to reveal some dog-friendly vacation ideas?

Las Vegas, Nevada

You may not think of a vacation that includes your dogs when you think of Las Vegas. However, you may want to think again. There are plenty pet friendly hotels in Las Vegas including La Quinta Inn, Red Roof Inn, Best Western, Trump International Hotel, Caesars Palace, Residence Inn by Marriott, and more! The Vdara hotel is not only pet friendly, but they also have a dog park right on site! There are also many dining options to bring your frenchie to in Las Vegas including the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar where your frenchie will get his or her very own menu to order from. Not only is it easy to find accommodations and restaurants where dogs are welcome, there are many activities in Las Vegas for your frenchies to enjoy. Your frenchies can join you on a trip to Red Rock Canyon which is a short drive from the Las Vegas strip. Speaking of the strip, you can bring your pup on a walk on the Las Vegas strip between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. There is also a plethora of dog parks in Las Vegas with Barkin’ Basin Dog Park being touted as the best dog park in Vegas. If you enjoy shopping, you should check out Downtown Summerlin where dogs are allowed in many of the shops and there are many restaurants with outdoor patios where dogs are allowed. There is plenty to do and see in Vegas with your frenchie!

New York City, New York

New York City has been ranked one of the most dog friendly cities in the United States time and time again. One of the first places I think of when I think of New York City is Central Park and what a great park to take a stroll with your frenchie! If you build up an appetite after taking your stroll through Central Park, don’t worry as there are many dog friendly restaurants in the City. There are also many dog friendly hotels in New York including the Soho Grand Hotel which also has its own on-site dog park. If you love New York, you probably love the food and culture so you may consider booking a private tour of SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy which is a tour choc full of food and culture! And last but not least, treat your frenchie to a day at the spa at Central Park Pet Spa where your frenchie can even get a blueberry facial!

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is in western North Carolina along the Blue Ridge mountains. If you happen to have an athletic frenchie, Blue Ridge Mountain hikes are a must. The mountains and the many waterfalls you will encounter are breathtaking. If your frenchie is not so athletic and let’s face it, many of them are not, don’t worry, there is plenty for them to do in Asheville. First, let’s talk about the WagBar! The WagBar has been described as “the happiest place in Asheville.” It combines a bar with a dog park which equals happy people and happy dogs! Asheville is known for its great craft beers! Asheville also has a great art scene much of which is located in outdoor venues so taking your frenchie to art exhibits is no problem! Asheville also has historical walking tours where dogs are welcomed. You can also take your frenchie on a guided kayak tour on the French Broad River. And don’t worry, finding dog-friendly hotels and restaurants in this laid-back dog-friendly town is NO problem!

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island is described as a “Pet-Friendly Paradise.” In a previous post about dog friendly beaches, I touched on how beautiful Gulfside City Park is. This park is pet friendly and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, is a shell collectors delight, and boasts beautiful sunsets! There are many beautiful beaches to visit on Sanibel Island along with many quaint beach cottages and condominiums to rent during your stay.  There are also several restaurants that allow pets in their outdoor seating areas. If you are looking for a casual beach atmosphere at a dining spot that loves dogs, check out The Island Cow which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also recommend Beach Buddy Tours for a memorable excursion with your frenchie. They offer a three hour dolphin and sightseeing tour; a four hour dolphin, shelling and sightseeing tour; and a six hour “extended” dolphin, shelling and sightseeing tour which could include a stop at a restaurant or more time shelling depending on what you want! If a beautiful beach vacation is what you are looking for, look no further than Sanibel Island, Florida.

These are just four dog-friendly vacation ideas. I challenge you to investigate other dog-friendly vacations as there are many to discover. With over 50% of US households owning dogs and with dog ownership on the rise, it benefits business owners to consider pet friendly accommodations. Therefore, there are many many pet-friendly options available. Good luck on your search and happy vacationing!

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French Bulldogs: Not Just for “Dog People”

When I first met my husband, he was “not a dog person.” At the time, I was a dog mom to a bloodhound, Copper, who is as sweet and loyal as they come. My husband admitted that when he came over to my house for the first time and saw Copper, he was worried whether or not Copper would like him. He said he knew if my dog didn’t like him, he didn’t have a chance with me. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s a topic for another conversation. Copper was a rescue from a dog shelter and I did not have much background on him when I rescued him. What I did find out very quickly was that he was scared to death of men. Over the years, his fear of men has lessened. However, he is still leery of new people, particularly men. When Glenn, my now husband, first came over, Copper walked right over to him, he pet Copper, and they were friends right off the bat. My husband and Copper have been friends ever since. However, if you asked my husband then, he would still have told you that he is “not a dog person.” He would actually say to me “a dog is just an animal.” Well, being the dog lover that I am, I of course did not feel this way and I would go out of my way to explain that humans are animals also and that his argument was not valid. After all, we are all in the same Kingdom of Animilia.

Taxomony: A science refresher

If you remember back to high school, we learned about taxonomy. Taxonomic classifications fall into categories from larger groups to smaller groups. If you recall, the order of the classifications goes like this: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. Scientific names are made up of the genus and species which are the most inclusive groups. Both dogs and humans fall under the same Kingdom of Animilia. Dog and humans also fall under the same Phylum of Chordata and the same Class of Mammilia. The Order is where we start to separate. Humans fall under the Order of Primate while dogs are in the Order of Carnivora. If you keep categorizing into the smaller groups, humans fall into the Family of Hominidae while dogs fall into the Family of Canidae. Humans are in the Genus Homo and dogs are in the Genus Canis. Humans are in the Species Sapien and dogs are in the Species Canis Lupus. Wolves are also in the Species of Canis lupus. To further classify dogs, there is a subspecies of Canis lupus familiaris. This is how we get the scientific names of Homo Sapien for humans and Canis lupus familiaris for dogs. The point being that dogs and humans fall into the same Kingdom, Phylum, and Class. Therefore, in my opinion, you can not state that “dogs are just animals” without also stating also that “humans are just animals.”

Now that I’ve given you a little science refresher, let’s get back to my husband who was “not a dog person.” Glenn began to love Copper and Copper certainly loved Glenn. However, Glenn still did not care for other peoples dogs. Fast forward a couple of years and it was then that my husband came home and told me “I want a French Bulldog and I want to name him Dozer.” Well, as you may already know, we got that french bulldog and we named him Dozer! We were all more than smitten with this little frenchie puppy named Dozer from day one. I can not tell you how many pictures and videos I have of my husband snuggling, loving on, and playing with Dozer. Dozer stole not only my heart, but also Glenn’s heart. Very quickly we went from a one dog household to a four dog household. If you read my previous blog posts, you will know that six months after we brought Dozer home, we got Molly. Then a few months later, we picked up Molly’s sister, Harley. Our house is currently full of dogs and consequently full of love!

Cat people vs. Dog people

Now you have your have your cat people and your dog people. However, you do have those who are neither cat nor dog people. Glenn was neither a dog person nor a cat person. He is actually highly allergic to cats. Therefore, we will most likely never own a cat. However, I can not tell you how many people I have talked to and posts I’ve seen where people say “I was a cat person, but there’s just something about frenchies.” French bulldogs are even converting cat people to dog people. Is this because they are just so lovable that you can’t help but love these little munchkins or is it that they have catlike tendencies such as walking on the tops of couches? I tend to believe it’s a little of both.

There have been studies about “cat people” and “dog people” that indicate cat people and dog people have have differences in personality traits. For example, a study out of Texas which asked people to identify as either a cat person or a dog person indicated that dog people tend to be more extroverted and cat people tend to be introverted. It also indicated that cat people tend to be more open and creative while dog people tend to be more agreeable and optimistic. So, where do Frenchie people fall? I for one would be very interested to see research done on the personalities of Frenchie people to see where that falls and see if we all have certain personality traits in common.

Where do you fall? Are you extroverted or introverted? Are you open to new things or resistant to change? Are you agreeable or not so agreeable? Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic or do you consider yourself a realist? I would love to hear about your personality traits and your thoughts on this subject if you are a frenchie mommy or daddy. Let’s get to the bottom of this. Why do people who are not necessarily dog people love frenchies so much? Comment below and tell me your thoughts.

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Unique French Bulldog Traits and Characteristics (A look inside the Frenchie Personality)


I have had the pleasure of being a dog mom for most of my life. I have been a mommy to several breeds of dogs and to say that frenchies are a unique breed is an understatement. French bulldogs have many unique traits and characteristics that make them, well……Frenchie! They are by far the most affectionate breed of dog I have ever had. All three of my babies, Dozer, Molly, and Harley, follow me around like I am the momma duck and they are my little ducklings. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen. When I sit on the couch, they vie for my lap. Whoever wins, curls up in my lap and will stay there until I get up while the other two press up against my leg and curl up in the second and third positions. There is nothing better than having all three of my sweet little frenchies snuggled up in my lap. Of course there are many other breeds of dogs that are affectionate but I have never had any quite as affectionate as these little guys and gals.

In addition to their affection (and let’s not forget loyalty) they have many traits unique to the breed. I will start with their physical characteristics. They say one of the reasons we love these little guys and gals so much is because of their human-like faces. They have large expressive eyes and of course those trademark bat ears which make them irresistible to frenchie mamas and daddys alike. They are typically small with muscular bodies. Full grown frenchies can weigh anywhere from 12 pounds to 38 pounds with the average weight being around 25 pounds. They have short hair and shed very minimally, especially compared to other breeds such as golden retrievers. Of course, some shed more than others. Dozer and Molly hardly shed at all. However, Harley does shed a bit. The physical trait I get questioned about most often is their tails. No, we do not dock them, yes they are born with little to no tail.

Anal glands, tail pockets, and itchy bums

French bulldogs can not reach their back side to clean themselves or scratch themselves due to their small stature and the overall shape of their body. Therefore, when they have full anal glands, dirty tail pockets, or just itchy bums in general, they will display a behavior that I can only call the booty dance. They sit back real far on their bum and proceed to do the wiggle wiggle dance. My boy just did this for the first time recently. I had my veterinarian check him out and he did need to have his anal glands expressed so they did that. However, the booty dance continued. I tried a few things recommended by others such as giving him green beans but nothing was solving his itchy bum problem. That is until I bought this Squishface Wrinkle Paste – Cleans Wrinkles, Tear Stains and Tail Pockets – 2 Oz, Anti-Itch, Great for Bulldogs, Pugs and Frenchies. I cleaned his tail pocket thoroughly with wipes making sure to get in the folds of the tail pocket. I then applied the cream twice a day and I did this for a few days. Finally, the booty dance stopped. So, in my particular case, the booty dance was the result of a tail pocket issue. Some frenchies have tail pockets and some do not. If your frenchie does have a tail pocket, it is very important to keep it clean. This tail pocket, just like the wrinkle folds on their face, can build up bacteria and/or fungus and can cause dermatitis if not cleaned on a regular basis.

Do Frenchies Snore and Fart like I’ve heard?

I hear the question “Do frenchies really snore and fart like people say?” asked time and time again. The answer is “Oh yeah, they snore!!” and “Oh yeah, they fart!!” My cute little 24 pound Molly snores louder than anyone in the house and this includes my 250 pound husband. It seems the smaller their nares, the more they snore. Dozer has the most open nares of my three frenchies and his snoring is not as loud as the others. Molly has the most closed nares and, as I mentioned, she’s the loudest of the bunch. I do, however, find the snoring endearing. I just love laying in bed at night and hearing all my little ones sound asleep and snoring. As far as the farting goes, they just love to lay down with their little butts right towards your face and then decide that is the appropriate time to let one loose. This is just another reason to feed your frenchies a good high quality food. They are going to fart. However, feeding them a good high quality food will help them to fart less and help those farts (that will ultimately end up in your face) be a little less stinky.

Alternative Names for French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs have many nicknames due to the unique characteristics they have. The most recognizable name is companion dog. Yes, frenchies were bred to be companion dogs and have been bred since the 1800’s. Citizens of England in the lace trade longed for a “toy sized” bulldog so they bred for smaller bulldogs. Many of these citizens moved to France where they crossed these bulldogs with ratters from France. Apparently, the frenchie bat ears we know and love come from the ratters.

Another name I have heard french bulldogs called is Velcro Dog. This is due to their inherent need to be near their humans at all times. The term Velcro dog is meant to infer that there is an imaginary piece of Velcro attached to your dog and the other end of that Velcro attached to you. Of course there is no actual Velcro, it’s just that frenchies love touching and being near their humans very much. Frenchies love human attention and are not good at being left alone. They can develop separation anxiety so make sure to spend plenty of time with your frenchie.

Frenchies are also called “Apartment dogs.” This is because they are just as comfortable living in apartments as they are living in a house with a large yard to play. Frenchies, for the most part, do not require a lot of exercise. This does not mean, however, that you should never exercise your frenchie. Frenchies are prone to being overweight so if your frenchie is leaning towards the chubby side, you should exercise them more. You do have to be careful, especially in high temperatures, because frenchies do overheat very easily. We live in Florida and the high temperatures right now are in the mid-90’s. Therefore, my frenchies only get 15 minutes walks in the early mornings and late at night right now. All other potty breaks are limited to going outside, doing their business, and coming right back inside.

Another cute name I hear frenchies called is “Frog Dogs.” If you’ve ever seen the unique way in which a frenchie lays down, you will know why this is. They looks like little frogs when they are all sprawled out laying down. This is yet just another trait that makes us love them so.

Are French Bulldogs Protective?

French bulldogs have a profound love for their owners and I have seen some protective frenchies. However, my frenchies love every single person they see so I would be interested to see if something were to happen, which way it would go. Would they lick them to death or go into attack mode? I just don’t know. My frenchies have to go say “Hi” to every single neighbor we pass on every single walk we take. Good thing all my neighbors love my little guy and girls. French bulldogs are also more playful than many people may think. You always hear about frenchies being lazy. However, mine are anything but lazy.

Zoomies

As I mentioned, people say that french bulldogs are lazy. While frenchies definitely have their lounging moments and their cuddling moments, don’t let that fool you. These little guys and gals can be full of energy. As a matter of a fact, there is a term used very commonly in the frenchie world: “The Zoomies.” If you don’t know what the zoomies are, you probably don’t have a french bulldog. These little guys and gals will literally run back and forth in a crazy frenzie that may last up to ten minutes straight. If you want to see what I am talking about, type “frenchie zoomies” into YouTube to get a good laugh.

Frenchies are lovable, curious, stubborn, smart, and at times mischievous little dogs with many unique traits and characteristics that make us fall in love with them. If you have any fun frenchie traits or characteristics I didn’t cover in this post, feel free to leave a comment.

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Litter Mate Syndrome

I had never heard the term “Littermate syndrome” before I ended up with two sisters from the same litter. If you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you may know that Dozer was my very first frenchie. I fell in love immediately! So much so that I wanted a little girl frenchie. While searching for my little girl, I found two sisters. I fell in love with this little blue fawn girl (Molly) while my husband fell in love with her sister (Harley). We ended up deciding to bring Molly home with us. She was ten weeks old and we absolutely adored her from the moment we picked her up. Not too long later, Harley found a home of her own. Fast forward four months and the person who took Harley ended up bringing her back. When we found out she was brought back, we felt it was meant to be so we brought her home to us. All three of our babies got along great and we loved having the sisters together. Fast forward another five months and, what seemed like out of no where, the girls got into a fight. It was quick, it was bloody, and it was scary. We didn’t know it at the time, but they were also both getting ready to go into heat. After the fight, we watched them closely. For a few days, they seemed tense around each other and it took some work to get them to love each other again. But they did!

After the girls got into their fight, I started researching and low and behold there is a such thing as sibling rivalry in dogs, it’s called “Littermate Syndrome”. One aspect of this syndrome makes training dogs more difficult during the younger stages of their life. I am grateful I didn’t experience this part of the syndrome. I believe that I did not experience this phase because during the time this phase would occur we were only raising Molly and someone else was raising Harley. We also seem to have skipped the “hyper-attachment” part of litter mate syndrome. With hyper-attachment, the siblings get very attached to one another and therefore get very anxious and fearful when not around the other. The only aspect of littermate syndrome we seemed to experience was the third and final aspect which is “Inter-Dog Aggression”.

Inter-Dog Aggression

Inter-Dog Aggression can be between two unknown dogs or between dogs that know each other well, such as siblings. When inter-dog aggression is between siblings, especially same sex siblings from the same litter, the siblings become very aggressive towards each other. Aggression occurs for a variety of reasons including dominance and fear/anxiety. Aggression can also manifest itself in a variety of ways such as staring, mounting, blocking items or food, standing over each other, growling, and of course fighting. It is extremely important to reinforce non-aggressive behaviors when dogs are exhibiting potential aggressive behaviors. Be aware that you could inadvertently reinforce the aggressive behaviors by yelling, being inconsistent, and by other means. Be very aware of your own actions and especially of how you respond when your dogs are showing signs of aggression.
Littermate syndrome, like any other behavioral issue, is not always cut and dry. There are varying degrees of littermate syndrome and just because you have adopted litter mates, does not always guarantee they will display these behavioral issues. Take my situation as an example. Yes, Molly and Harley fought badly and gave us a pretty good scare. However, it is not an ongoing problem and ninety percent of the time they absolutely love each other. The fact that the girls were separated for a few months during their life surely plays a role in them showing less of the problems associated with littermate syndrome.

So, what can I do about it?

First, behavioral modifications play a huge role in turning the situation around. If you read my last blog post, you will remember B.F. Skinner’s method of operant conditioning and that positive reinforcement is crucial to modifying behavior. When a dog fight occurs, tensions are high all around but there are steps you can take to ease the tension. If an actual fight happens in your house, you will need to separate the dogs for at least a couple hours. The amount of time will depend on the severity of the fight. If one or both of the dogs were hurt, they will be more agitated and will need to be separated for a longer period of time. Read their body language and when they seem completely settled, you can attempt to reintroduce them. However, once you do decide to let them around each other again, watch them like a hawk. If they are getting along, give them plenty of praise and attention. Pet them, tell them good dog, and even give them treats. As with any other behavioral modification using positive reinforcement, make a big deal out of it. On the other hand, if they show even the slightest hint of aggressive behavior, separate them immediately. Another fight will only add to the problem you already have. Second, it is very important to have a social hierarchy established in your home. It is crucial that you are the alpha and they know you are the alpha. It is just as important that you figure out your dogs social hierarchy. You are the alpha, but who is the alpha dog? Some of the behaviors that an alpha dog may display are being the first one in and out of doorways, mounting other dogs, and nudging other dogs out of their way. Some of the behaviors that submissive dogs will display are laying on their backs, following other dogs, giving up their toys to other dogs, and looking away from other dogs. Whatever their place is within the pack, it is important you honor that place. How do you do that? You will honor the alpha’s position by walking them first, giving them toys first, and feeding them first. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, with dogs consistency and routine are key. Dogs are most comfortable when they know their place in the pack and can count on a consistent routine.

In addition to behavioral modifications and establishing a solid social hierarchy, make sure the siblings have their alone time. Walk them separately, feed them separately, and give them special alone time. They should have time together as well as their time separated. I personally take my frenchies to parks to walk together. However, at home, I walk them separately and I feed them separately. Dozer, Molly, and Harley all love car rides so sometimes they all go together and sometimes I take them separately. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure they have that alone time in addition to their time together and make sure you maintain consistency.

The inter-dog aggression aspect of Littermate Syndrome can be scary and hard to overcome. However, with the appropriate guidance from you, your pups can overcome it and live in peace and harmony.

If you wish to discuss this topic more, feel free to send me a message and if you enjoyed this post, feel free to hit the like button below.

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Behavioral Modification Using Operant Conditioning (Training Your Frenchie)

Operant Conditioning is a learning system developed by B.F. (Burrhus Frederic) Skinner in the 1930’s. Skinner studied psychology at Harvard University and drew his research from the work of Edward Thorndike who conducted the first behavioral studies on animals. Skinner’s ‘Operant Conditioning’ is a variant of Thorndike’s ‘Instrumental Conditioning’ which illuminated the idea that animals can learn which behaviors get them what they want. Thorndike used what he called the “Puzzle box” to demonstrate that animals could learn the behaviors required to escape the box. The animals in his experiments would display the behaviors required to escape the box more and more as they learned that these behaviors got them to where they needed to be. Skinner used a cage he called the “Operant Chamber” to conduct his experiments. The animals inside the Operant Chamber were rewarded by an apparatus called a “Magazine” that dispensed food if the desired behavior was achieved. In this chamber, he taught animals to press a lever in return for receiving treats via the magazine. The goal was to teach the animals that pressing the lever gave them a reward. The main premises of Operant Conditioning are Positive and Negative Reinforcement and Positive and Negative Punishment.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement rewards an animal (in our case, a dog) with something they want (such as a treat) for performing a behavior that is desired. Negative Reinforcement removes something that the dog does not want or find pleasing to get them to perform the desired behavior. In both cases, reinforcement increases a desired behavior. An example of positive reinforcement is giving your dog a treat when they sit for you. You are giving them something they want to get them to perform the behavior you want: sitting. An example of negative reinforcement is turning your back when your dog jumps on you. You are taking away something they want, namely attention, to get him to do what you want, stay down and not jump. Just remember reinforcement, whether negative or positive, is increasing the frequency of a behavior. Some behaviors are easier to teach than others and some dogs learn behaviors quicker than other dogs. For example, I taught Harley the command “High Five” and I taught Dozer the command “Paw” which are very similar behaviors. However, it only took one fifteen minute session to teach Harley when it took three 15 minute sessions to teach Dozer. This was because Harley already knew the behavior, she just didn’t know when to do it. Harley would paw at you when she wanted your attention so when I noticed she was getting ready to paw at me, I would say “High Five” and then when she pawed my hand, I gave her a lot of praise telling her good girl, petting her, and making a big deal out of it. I did this over and over and Voila! She knows “High Five!” Dozer did not already have this behavior in his repertoire so I was tasked with teaching him a brand new behavior. I would physically place his paw in my hand while giving the “Paw” command and then give him a treat immediately, saying “Good Boy!” I repeated this process over and over for fifteen minutes. Then, the next day, we worked for another fifteen minutes. Then, on the third day, he starting doing it himself about 5 minutes in to the training session. I continued for another ten minutes keeping the total training session at fifteen minutes. It is a good idea to keep training sessions to no longer than fifteen minutes since dogs can get distracted or get bored if your training sessions are too long.

Positive and Negative Punishment

When most people think of punishment, they think of it as a negative method that includes hitting and yelling. While yelling and hitting are forms of punishment, this is not what we are talking about here and I do not recommend these methods of punishment. Punishment in terms of Operant Conditioning simply refers to stopping a behavior. Positive Punishment is giving your dog something in order to stop a behavior that is unwanted. Negative punishment is taking something away (such as attention) to stop a behavior that is unwanted. In both cases, punishment decreases the behavior you do not want. An example of a positive punishment is spraying your dog with a water bottle to keep him or her from jumping on the couch. An example of negative punishment is turning your back when your pup bites. You are taking away something they want, attention, to get them to stop biting. Punishment, whether positive or negative, is decreasing the frequency of a behavior.

In the majority of cases, positive interactions yield the best results. Skinner also believed that punishment is less effective than reinforcement and I hold this belief as well. Therefore, if you are attempting to stop a behavior which is achieved by punishment, try turning it into an opportunity for reinforcement. For example, instead of decreasing the behavior of biting, you want to increase the frequency of not biting. You can also choose the route of combining methods as I do to stop puppies from biting. When the puppy bites, I say “No” loudly and sternly, then get up and walk away. When they get ready to bite, I catch them, say “no” and if they don’t bite, I give them plenty of praise and a treat if you have one handy. The same process of combining methods can be used to get your puppy to stop chewing the things he shouldn’t be chewing and start chewing the things he should be chewing.

Training Your Frenchie to Stop Chewing

It is a dogs natural instinct to chew. It is important to remember that you aren’t actually teaching a dog to not chew, you are teaching them what they can chew and what they can not chew. Dogs chew for a variety of reasons from teething to boredom. If they are chewing from boredom, be sure to provide them with plenty of stimulation. If you know they are chewing because they are teething, it is best to hide everything you do not want them to chew on. Put your shoes away in the closet. Pick up the remote and your sunglasses and keep them out of reach. So, what about the things you can not hide such as baseboards? Here is where reinforcement comes in to play. You need to watch your puppy close and know when he or she is getting ready to start chewing. When you see them start to chew, say “No” and give them a toy or treat to chew on. When they start chewing on the item they are supposed to be chewing on, give them praise, pet them, and make a big deal out of it. If you are consistent and patient, they will eventually understand what they should be chewing on and what they should not be chewing on. The more you repeat this and the more consistent you are, the quicker they will learn. This is one of the things Skinner learned in his research, repetition is very important to the learning process. The key is catching them every time, redirecting them every time, and givings lots of praise and treats. Lots and lots of treats!

If you would like to learn more about using Operant Conditioning to modify behaviors, feel free to send me a message on my contact page. If you enjoyed this post, please hit the like button below.

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Frenchie Colors and Genetics


You may have noticed that French Bulldogs come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Where do these colors and patterns come from? Well, you have to know a little about genetics to fully understand.

Genetics 101

Dogs, just like humans, are diploid organisms. This means that they have two alleles at each genetic locus. A genetic locus is a position on a chromosome that contains a particular gene. In humans, one locus may contain the gene for hair color while another locus may contain the gene for eye color. However, each locus contains two alleles. One of these alleles comes from mom and one comes from dad. Mom and Dad each have two alleles for hair color and either one of these alleles have the potential to get transferred to their offspring. There are dominant alleles usually denoted with capital letters and recessive alleles usually denoted with lower case letters. For example, brown hair is dominant and blonde hair is recessive so the allele for brown hair would be denoted as “B” and the allele for blonde hair would be denoted as “b”. A person only needs one dominant allele for that trait to be expressed. However, they need both recessive alleles for the recessive trait to be expressed. When mom and dad pass on the hair color alleles to their offspring, there are three possibilities: BB, Bb, and bb. If the alleles passed on make the combination of BB (meaning both mom and dad passed on the brown hair gene) then brown hair will be expressed. The child will have brown hair. If the alleles passed on make the combination of Bb (meaning one parent passed on the brown allele and the other parent passed on the blonde allele) brown hair will also be expressed. This child will also have brown hair. If the alleles passed on by mom and dad make the combination of bb (meaning both mom and dad passed on blonde gene) the child will have blonde hair. The only way a recessive trait will be passed on is if both parents pass on their recessive allele for that gene.

Since dogs are diploid organisms like humans, the basic premise holds true for dogs and coat color. However, there are many loci for coat colors and patterns in a dogs genetic code. Additionally, there may be more than two possible alleles at each locus. Let’s go over each genetic loci and which combinations lead to which coat colors and patterns.

Genetic Loci for coat color in dogs

The A locus has three possible alleles: ay, at, and a. The “ay” allele is the allele for fawn or sable coloration. The “at” allele is the allele for black and tan coloration (this is where dogs get tan points). Since “ay” and “at” are dominant, dogs only need one copy of “ay” to be fawn or sable and only one copy of “at” to have tan points. Finally, the “a” allele is the allele for black coloration. However, having the “aa” allele combination doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is black. For example, a dog that is dd (Blue) at the D locus and aa (Black) at the A locus will still be blue. However, the “aa” allele combination will make for a more uniform blue coat color. This brings me to the next locus.

The D Locus is the diluted coat color locus. This is where we get the blue coat color from. The allele combination of “DD” simply means that the gene is not diluted. If this was the only locus in play, the dog would be black. The allele combination of “Dd” means that the dog is a carrier of the diluted gene and will not express the diluted color is most cases. The D locus must contain two copies of the d allele to express the blue color. Therefore, the “dd” allele combination will be blue. We get the lilac coloration from the dd / bb combination bringing me to the next locus.

The B locus is the locus for brown coloration or chocolate as we call it in the frenchie world. It has two possible alleles: B and b. Since chocolate coloration is recessive, you must have the two recessive alleles (bb) for the chocolate coloration to be expressed. The “BB” allele combination does not carry chocolate at all. The “Bb” allele combination is a chocolate carrier and could pass it’s recessive chocolate allele on to it’s offspring. However, in order for this offspring to have the chocolate coloration, the other parent must also pass on the recessive (b) allele.

The E locus is interesting because it contains the alleles for cream coloration and for the black masks. Because they are both on the same locus, a cream puppy can not also have a black mask. They can only have one or the other. Much like the blue and chocolate coloration, cream coloration is recessive so the puppy must have two recessive alleles (ee) to express the cream coloration. The allele for a black mask is Em which is dominant so a puppy only needs one copy of this allele to have a black mask. Note, however, black masks can be muted by dark coats. Another interesting fact about the E locus is that if you produce offspring with the double recessive allele (ee), the dog will show as cream even if it has the blue and chocolate allele combinations. Therefore, a dog with the allele combinations of “dd bb ee” will be cream colored. This is the combination that produces platinum puppies.

The K locus is mostly known for the brindle patterns in french bulldogs although it is actually called the dominant black locus. The allele for brindle patterning (Kbr) is a dominant gene. Therefore, a puppy with only one copy of the Kbr allele and having an allele combination such as “Kbr Ky” will show brindle patterning and of course the allele combination of “Kbr Kbr” will show brindle patterning. If the allele combination is showing no brindle (Ky/Ky), then the A locus, B locus, and D locus will determine the pattern on the coat.

The S locus is called the piebald locus and this is where our pied cuties get their patterns. The pied pattern is a recessive trait so a dog needs an allele combination of both recessive alleles (ss). An allele combination of “ns” will carry the pied pattern and can pass it on to it’s offspring. An allele combination of “nn” will not carry the pied pattern and can not pass the trait on since it does not have an allele for the trait.

The M locus is the merle locus and is another dominant gene. The two alleles for this locus are M (the dominant allele) and m (the recessive allele). For a puppy to be Merle, it must have an allele combination of “Mm” or “MM”. However, it is important to not breed puppies with the potential of carrying both dominant Merle alleles (MM) because a very high percentage of these puppies are deaf and/or blind.

Let’s put some of these combinations together to see what we have:

dd Bb atat kyky = Blue with tan points
Dd Bb ata kyky = Black with tan points
Dd Bb aa kyky = Black
Db Bb aa KbrKbr = Brindle
dd Bb aa KbrKbr = Blue Brindle
dd Bb aa kyky = Blue
dd Bb ayay kyky = Blue fawn
dd bb aa kyky = Lilac

There are many different combinations to obtain the many different variations in coat color and patterns we see in french bulldogs and there is much more complexity to the genetics than I have laid out in this post. What is important to remember is that to truly see what a dogs coat color and pattern will express, you must consider all loci together and understand how each affects the other. I hope this post at least gives you a starting point and a little glimpse into french bulldog colors and patterns and the genetics behind it.

If you wish to talk more about this subject or are still unsure as to which allele combination would show which colors and patterns, feel free to send me a message on my contact page.

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Caring for Your Frenchie

You may have heard that french bulldogs are hard to care for. While there is some additional care involved in owning a french bulldog, I wouldn’t necessarily call it hard. In fact, I believe that these little extra things you do for them just strengthens the bond between you and your frenchie.

So, what is this additional care I am talking about? Let’s start at the beginning:

You’ve picked up your little love muffin, bought the essentials, and hopefully read my last blog post and decided on a quality dog food. Now what? Now you prepare for the wonderful crazy life of frenchie parenthood!

There’s a reason frenchie parents love these little guys and gals so much and why most non-frenchie parents just won’t understand the profound love we feel for them. With their big expressive eyes, huge bat ears, frog legs, and big ole cuddly nature, you can’t help but fall in love!

However, just like any other relationship, this one takes a little work.

You can’t help but fall in love with your frenchie and your frenchie will love you just as much as you love them. They crave your love and want to be near you constantly so it’s important to provide your frenchie with plenty of attention. If you have multiple frenchies like I do, you need to carve out some one on one time with each one. Of course, most of the time all three are with me. However, I do take them on separate walks and will take them one at a time to the store so they have their special alone time. They really do appreciate this one on one time with mommy and daddy!

Socializing Your Frenchie

If you socialize these munchkins early, they are very easy to take along with you anywhere. They will love all the people they meet along the way and they will love all the sights there are to see.

Be careful not to socialize them with other dogs too early though. It is very important that puppies have all their shots before bringing them around any other dogs so puppy play time must wait a bit. You bring this cute little puppy home and want to show him or her off. So, you take them to the local dog friendly beach. Big mistake! Puppies can catch all sorts of diseases before they have all their shots. Make sure your puppy has all three sets of vaccinations before bringing them to the doggie beach, doggie park or any other doggie friendly area where you find congregations of dogs.

However, as soon as it is safe after they receive all their vaccinations, make sure to socialize them with other dogs as soon as possible. I wait at least a week after the third set of vaccinations to bring my puppies around other dogs. The sooner you socialize them with other dogs, the more likely they are to have a life long love for other pups.

I must add that your frenchie may be very protective over you around other dogs even when they have been socialized. One time I stopped to pet the cutest little puppy (maybe 3 months old) and Dozer lunged at her as to say “Stay away from my mommy!”

Let’s talk heart worm prevention

There are many heart worm prevention medications available. However, my go to has always been Heartguard. I have always given my pups of all breeds the Heartguard chews. They think it is a yummy treat which makes them easy to give and they are vet recommended. I tried Dozer on one of the pills that are heart worm prevention and flea prevention combined. However, the poor little guy just threw it right back up. So, back to Heartguard we went. Whatever heart worm prevention medicine you choose, just make sure you use one. Heart worms are easy to prevent with medication. However, they are hard and costly to cure.

Frenchie wrinkles

Those wrinkly little faces we love sure are cute. However, with that cuteness comes some care. It is very important to wipe between the wrinkle folds every day. Bacteria can build up in the folds of their wrinkles if the dirt is not cleaned out regularly. I use Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, Free & Clear Unscented and Sensitive, Gentle as Water, with Flip Top Dispenser, 768 count (Packaging May Vary)In addition to wiping the wrinkle folds daily, it is important to use some type of wrinkle cream, wrinkle paste, or wrinkle balm weekly. I use Natural Dog Company Wrinkle Balm and it works well for me. None of my babies have ever had dried out noses or wrinkle folds or stinky faces.

Tear stains

A very common question from frenchie parents is: How do I get rid of those pesky brown tear stains? While using the wipes daily and the balm weekly definitely helps, I didn’t see a noticeable difference in my frenchies until I stopped giving them tap water to drink. I personally give my babies spring water to drink. Filtered water also works because it does not contain the iron and other impurities that are found in tap water. There are many products out there for tear stains. However, I have found that daily wiping along with applying the balm weekly and providing a clean source of drinking water is what has worked best for me. For extremely stubborn tear stains, these work very well: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/product/healthy-breeds-tear-stain-wipes/

Bath time

You will hear many different answers to the question “How often should I bathe my Frenchie?” The short answer is as often as they need it. If they smell, bathe them. If they roll around in the dirt or mud, bathe them. I personally bathe mine once every two weeks. Some may say that’s too often and that their skin will dry out. However, even my sensitive boy with food and environmental allergies never gets dried out skin. Bathing your frenchie with environmental allergies is actually a good thing as it cleans off all the allergens he or she may have picked up outside. You just need to choose the right shampoo. Early on I found a puppy shampoo that I loved which was TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo Puppies. I now use Natural Dog Company Sensitive Skin Oatmeal Shampoo.One thing to remember after bathing your frenchie is to flush out their ears with a good rinse such as VetWELL Cat and Dog Ear Cleaner – Otic Rinse Dog Ear Infection Treatment for Yeast, Mites and Odor in Pets – 8 oz (Sweet Pea Vanilla) if you get even the slightest bit of water in their ears. When water seeps into the ear canal, this leads to ear infections. Much like heart worm prevention, ear infections are cheaper to prevent than to treat.

Teeth Cleaning

Dental health is very important to your frenchie. Just like with humans, bad dental hygiene can lead to other health problems so it’s important to get rid of that tartar and not let it build up. You should brush your dogs teeth at least three times a week. I place the toothpaste on the toothbrush and let them lick it before brushing. This makes the process go easier and you are not forcing the toothbrush into their mouth. They may be hesitant at first. However, if you brush their teeth regularly, they will get used to it being part of their routine. Routine is everything with these pups. Once they get their routine down, they know exactly what they should be doing.

Nail trimming

I have always been hesitant to trim my dogs nails afraid of accidentally cutting the quick and hurting them so I’ve always had my dogs nails trimmed at the groomer. Then, along comes COVID-19 and shuts everything down. What do I do? I remembered seeing a commercial for Dog Nail Grinder, 2-Speed Electric Dog Nail Clippers Trimmer Grinder, Portable Rechargeable Low Noise Pet Nail Grinder for Small Medium Large Dogs Cats Pets Painless Paws Grooming, 2 Grinding Wheels. The commercial mentioned that you didn’t have to worry about the clipping and cutting the quick so I researched these nail grinders and ended up purchasing one for myself. What a life saver it has been! I followed their directions and held it up to them first to get them use to the sound. I always only grind each nail for 5 seconds at a time as they suggest. It is amazing how easy it is to grind my frenchies nails! I wish I knew about these things years ago and saved myself thousands of dollars in grooming fees.

Baby wipes aren’t just for the face

I remember watching my ex’s mother wipe her dogs behind and thought to myself “I would never wipe my dogs butt.” Fast forward fifteen years later. Guess what? I’m wiping my dogs butts! You pretty much have to with these little guys and gals. Most dogs can reach their hind area and clean themselves if they need to. Our chunky little stout frenchies do not have that luxury. So yes, you have to do it for them. I don’t mind though, it’s just all a part of their grooming process. You may not need to brush them often due to their short coat, but you do have to wipe their hiney to get their hiney clean.

If your frenchie is not particularly fond of any of these care techniques, be sure to give them a treat and praise afterwards. I recently bought a new treat for my dogs that they absolutely love. 100% salmon is the only ingredient. I love that, they love them, and that is the key. You want to find a treat they absolutely love (and of course is good for them) and use it to praise them for all their good deeds.

I hope this blog post was helpful. Be sure to read my previous posts for detailed information about potty training and choosing a quality dog food.

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What Should I Feed My Frenchie?

When I first began my search for a quality dog food for my frenchies, little did I know how daunting that task would be.

If you have done even a little research on dog food, you may have noticed there is a lot of information out there about dog food including what are good ingredients and what are bad ingredients. To add to that, some of this information is contradictory. So, what dog food do you choose? I will start by telling you a little about my seemingly endless search for the perfect dog food.

My search for the perfect dog food

When I picked up Dozer for the first time, he was already being fed Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe, 24 Pounds, Easy to Digest. I decided to keep him on this food since I knew changing foods can be hard on puppies digestive systems. I had also researched the brand and my search revealed that it was a decent dog food. However, Dozer’s poop, more often than not, looked like well….. all that I can describe it as is soft serve ice cream.

So began my search for a “high quality dog food.” In my research, I found that frenchies are commonly allergic to poultry and guess what the sixth ingredient in Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe, 24 Pounds, Easy to Digest is? It is “poultry fat.” Add to that the fact that I had also given him treats where the main ingredient was chicken and this didn’t help my “soft serve” situation. I started suspecting that chicken could be the culprit.

Around this same time, I tried giving Dozer beef treats. What a big mistake that was. He had explosive diarrhea for three days straight. But, I did learn no beef for Mr. Dozer. I’m sure you know the majority of dog food brands have beef or chicken as their main protein. Add this to the fact that I read the new “exotic” proteins such as kangaroo or bison were not good choices either. So, what do you do? What do you feed your frenchie who has a sensitive tummy when everything keeps telling you what you CAN NOT feed them? You find out what you CAN feed them. And, how do you do this? You experiment and you research…. you research…..and you research some more!

It wasn’t too far into my research that I found the “grain free” or “no grain free” arguments. They say grain free is good for your frenchie! Then others say grain free is bad for your frenchie! This ultimately led to me stumbling upon the FDA’s research into a potential link between certain dog foods (many of them grain free) and heart disease in dogs. I will talk more about this later.

First let’s talk about the grain free fad.

Dog parents, like you and me, started wanting more from their dog food. They wanted a dog food with healthy ingredients that more closely represented a dogs natural “ancestral” diet.

Many arguments were made that dogs descended from wolves, wolves are carnivores, and therefore they should only eat meat.

In my opinion, there are two small flaws to this argument. One: While wolves are indeed carnivores, they are what is called opportunistic carnivores. This means that they also scavenge. Two: While dogs are indeed descendants of wolves, they have evolved alongside humans for a very long time. This means that we have been feeding them all kinds of things (other than meat) that they have grown accustomed to.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against grain free for these reasons and am not completely against grain free at all. I do agree with not feeding certain grains, particularly wheat to dogs. Not to mention, some frenchies are actually allergic to certain grains. You would need to have your vet conduct an allergy test to find out if your frenchie is allergic to a certain grain, or protein for that matter.

My problem with grain free foods is not that they are grain free. My problem with most grain free foods is what ingredients are used to replace the grains. This leads me to my discussion about the FDA’s potential link between dog foods and DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy).

FDA’s potential link between certain dog foods and DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) – Heart disease in dogs

Let me start by emphasizing that this is about FDA’s POTENTIAL link to heart disease (DCM) in dogs. It is still under investigation so keep that in mind as you read on.

You will hear people say “Grain free dog foods cause heart disease in dogs.” Well, that’s not actually the case. I suggest you read the update to the investigation posted on the FDA’s website. Here is the link:

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/outbreaks-and-advisories/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

On this page, the FDA has a link to ‘Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy Complaints’ under the “Diet Information from Reported Cases” section. While this is a long document, I highly suggest reading it, or at the very least skimming through it. If you do, you will notice that the same dog food brands get mentioned over and over again. The FDA has ranked dog food brands in order of the most frequently named dog foods in DCM cases.

If you read the entire investigation you will see that, while many of the dog foods mentioned are grain free, not all of them are grain free. It is not the fact the the food is grain free that gives the food a potential link to heart disease. It is the ingredients used in grain free foods to replace the grains. These added ingredients that replace the grains seem to be high in carbohydrates.

Think about when we eat foods high in carbohydrates and what happens. It sometimes leads to heart disease right? Well, the same is true for our furry friends.

In conclusion, I would be weary of these ingredients and try to stay away from them. These ingredients are legumes such as peas, lentils such as beans, and potatoes (including sweet potatoes).

A word about peas: While peas in general aren’t bad for dogs and do have health benefits, too many peas or peas in different forms such as pea protein, pea flour, and pea fiber are not good for our furry friends. Pea protein and pea flour can be used to increase the protein content in a dog food and this is not the type of protein you want. Pea fiber can have a negative effect on digestion and our little guys and gals certainly don’t need that.

A good practice is to check the first ten ingredients in a dog food and choose one that has high quality ingredients and ingredients that are lower in carbohydrates. Remember though, just like humans, dogs do need some carbohydrates, It’s all about finding the right ones. If the first ten ingredients are high quality ingredients, you should be okay. Just be sure there aren’t twenty unknown ingredients behind the first ten ingredients. If unsure if the ingredients are of high quality, look them up and do your research.

What else shouldn’t you feed your frenchie?

Animal-by-products such as chicken-by-product, Meat or meat meal (make sure the meat is specified), artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are all ingredients you do not want to see in your dog food. Look for real protein sources and limit preservatives.

Foods that are toxic to dogs and should never be fed to any dog include: Chocolate, Onions, Grapes, Raisins, and Macadamia nuts. I hope I don’t have to tell you that alcohol is on this list. Basically, if you are unsure if you can feed a certain food to your dog, do your research. Many foods that are good for humans are not good for our pups.

So, what dog food did I choose, you ask?

I chose Farmina N & D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry. The first ten ingredients are Lamb, Dehydrated Lamb, Whole Spelt, Whole Oats, Dried whole eggs, fresh herring, dehydrated herring, chicken fat, herring oil, and dried beet pulp. You probably wouldn’t want chicken fat as one of the top five ingredients. However, the fact that it is the eighth ingredient means there isn’t a large amount compared to the other high quality ingredients. And, just like humans, dogs do need some fat in their diets. In addition, there is a huge difference between chicken fat and poultry fat. Chicken fat tells you exactly where it comes from. It is hard to know exactly what “poultry fat” consists of. You’ll also notice there is no wheat or corn in the dog food I chose. Instead, they opt for the higher quality “ancestral” grains, spelt and oats.

Only a few short weeks after switching to Farmina, I noticed a huge difference. My frenchies coats were shinier, the soft serve ice cream poo was gone,and Dozer was only going poo twice a day instead of five times a day! Hallelujah! Dozer was pooing so much that my husband actually had a dream about him pooing in the bed. He didn’t, thank goodness. But, oh was it funny hearing my husband wake up saying “he pooped on me, he pooped on me!”

I also add a table spoon of canned pumpkin at dinner time or I sprinkle Zesty Paws Probiotic for Dogs – with Natural Digestive Enzymes + Prebiotics & Pumpkin – Dog Probiotics for Diarrhea & Upset Stomach Relief + Gas & Constipation – Allergy & Immune + Hot Spots onto their food and then wet it down for good measure. Why do I wet it down? Because my babies are spoiled and will not eat it dry any more. It’s hard not to spoil these little buggers.

How much should you feed your frenchie?

You should read the number of kcals per cup on the label of your dog food. For example, my dog food brand contains 394 kcals per cup which is a fairly high amount. This means that even though a bag of this particular dog food is priced higher than many of the common brands, you also do not need to feed as much.

One cup of one brand of dog food could contain a very large difference in the number of calories than one cup of another brand of dog food. My frenchies are all 25 pounds. A good amount to feed frenchies is 25 calories per pound so that would be 625 calories for my babies. I feed them half in the morning and half in the evening. This is only a guideline and activity levels play into this. If your frenchie is very active, you may want to increase his or her calorie intake and if they are couch potatoes, you may want to decrease it slightly.

Dog treats

I have tried several brands and types of dog treats. There have only been two brands that work for my Dozer’s sensitive stomach: Blue Buffalo and Tylee. I like Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Wild Bits Grain Free Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats, Duck Recipe 4-oz bag, Model:800068 and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Wild Bits High Protein Grain Free Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats, Salmon Recipe 10-oz bag. My favorite treats by far are Tylee’s 100% Salmon Treats.

I also feed my frenchies baby carrots as treats. Just like with any other treat, you must give carrots (or any other fruits and veggies) sparingly. Mine get one or two baby carrots each per day.

Raw food diets

I do not want to go too much into raw food diets, but felt I had to at least mention it since this entire blog post is about dog food. Many frenchie owners choose to feed raw food diets. I am not going to comment on whether it is good or bad. I personally choose not to go that route because as with any raw food, there’s the possibility of contracting a food-borne illness such as salmonella. Therefore, if you are going to a raw food diet, research it thoroughly and please make sure you are doing it right!

Research, research, and research some more!

In conclusion, research is crucial to finding the right quality dog food for your frenchie. Your frenchies individual needs play a large role and must be taken into consideration.

If you do decide to change your pups food, make sure you do it slowly. Changes in dog foods can be very hard on your pups tummy. Most recommend changing it gradually over 10 days. Begin with 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food for 3 days, then increase to 50% old food and 50% new food for the next 3 days, finally end with 25% old food and 75% new food for 3-4 more days. On the tenth day, you can go to 100% of the new food.

I hope this blog post helped shed some light on finding the right quality dog food for your frenchie. If you have any questions or want to hold a discussion on this topic, feel free to send me a message on my contact page.

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