Before You Bring Your Puppy Home
You will want to take some time to get things ready for your new pet. In addition to basic necessities like food, water, and toys, your puppy will need lots of attention and training. Take some time to read about humane methods for potty training and possibly for crate training if you feel it is appropriate. Our section on Caring for Your Frenchie has links to resources on training.
Here is a brief list of things to consider getting before welcoming your puppy into your home:
- Tip resistant/no-spill food and water dishes—helpful if you have an enthusiastic eater.
- Car safe travel kennel/crate—it should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around.
- Collar or harness, leash, and ID Tag—a harness is gentler if you plan on leash training your pet while a collar can hold ID Tags in case your puppy gets lost.
- Grooming supplies—a soft brush, nail trimmers, and a puppy toothbrush.
- Training Pads/Potty Pads—helpful while you are still house training.
- Toys—Frenchies have strong jaws so avoid rawhide or other materials that can easily come apart and become a choking hazard.
Set up a playpen or room for your puppy if you plan on having your pet left alone for more than 20 minutes.
Other things to do before bringing your puppy home:
Find a local vet. (see Health and Wellness for more details.)
Look for training classes in your area. Wait until your vet has cleared the puppy on immunizations before exposing him or her to lots of other pets.
Read up on training methods and dog behavior. We have a list of resources below.
If you plan on training your puppy to use a particular part of the yard as a bathroom, prepare a section of the yard that is distinct from the rest of the yard. This will make it easier for your pet to understand that the area is different.
Read up on canine behavior and training. (see Caring for Your Puppy)
Preparing the Home
Young puppies need a lot of attention and stimulation. If you have to leave your puppy alone or separated for more than 20 or 30 minutes, set up a playpen area or room for the puppy. The area should have a sleeping area, food, water, toys, and potty pads. (Keep in mind that young puppies don’t have bowel or bladder control and older puppies can’t hold for very long).
Caring for Your Puppy
Many people want to hold their new puppy all the way home. While fun, it isn’t safe for you or the puppy even if a passenger is holding onto the puppy. Pick up a travel kennel for the trip home. You’ll find it useful for trips to the vet, too.
We can let you know what kind of food the puppies are being fed before you take your pet home. While you will likely change to your own preferred brand, we suggest feeding your puppy a mix of the old and new food for at least a week to make the transition a little easier. A sudden change in diet can sometimes cause an upset stomach.
Dogs are social animals and need to interact with other members of the household. Dogs (and especially puppies) also usually need to have something to chew on, so make sure you have toys for that purpose. We don’t advise giving your puppy an old shoe as you’re basically telling it that shoes are something to chew on.
Avoid soft chew toys and rawhide; both can become a choking hazard. Instead, look for “indestructible” chew toys.
Don’t leave Frenchies unattended around water. They are poor swimmers.
Frenchies are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Monitor them closely in high and low temperatures.
If you do plan on having your French Bulldog outside for any length of time in temperatures over 70 degrees, make sure your pet has access to shade, drinking water, and a small wading pool or wash bin to cool off. In cold weather, your Frenchie should have access to a heated shelter.
Brush your Frenchie about once a week to keep the coat shiny and trim their nails regularly. The ears and deep facial folds can become irritated easily so clean them regularly. Check with your vet for details.
Clean your pet’s teeth regularly at home and make sure your vet performs a dental check during examinations.
Even if you don’t have children in your family, exposing your puppy to children is an important part of socializing and training your Frenchie.
Be sure to monitor younger children around your puppy and teach older children how to safely pick up and hold the puppy without causing injury. Avoid exposing your dog to too much rough handling as it could lead to aggressive behavior as it gets older.
Don’t allow young children to handle or pick up puppies without close supervision. Young children might not be aware that their actions could harm the puppy.
Housebreaking and Training
You will need to start training your puppy once you have gotten it home. French Bulldogs have big personalities and need training to understand how to behave in your family. Once your vet thinks your puppy has sufficient immunization, consider signing up for training classes. If there are no classes in your area, the ASPCA has some wonderful resources on training your pet. Some things to keep in mind:
Avoid negative punishments for house soiling.
Puppies under 12 weeks old generally don’t have bowel or bladder control—they can’t hold it even if they want to.
Take your puppy to the same part of the yard to relieve itself. By training it to use a single part of the yard, you are less likely to step in surprises in the following years.
We recommend crate training your puppy, especially if you plan to take it with you on trips.
The ASPCA has a wonderful resource for training and behavior called the Virtual Pet Behaviorist. Below is a list of links to information on their site that might be most relevant to new puppy owners.
Health and Wellness
If you don’t already have a veterinarian, look for one in your area. If possible, find one that has experience with short-faced (brachycephalic) and dwarf (chondrodystrophic) breeds. You should take your puppy in for a checkup as soon as you can.
Your pet will need regular check-ups, heartworm medication, flea/tick control, tests for parasites, and vaccinations.
Spay and Neuter
If you bought your Frenchie as a pet, check with your veterinarian on when to spay or neuter your puppy. If you bought from Willow Hill with the understanding of breeding your French Bulldog, make sure you are familiar with the breed standards for appearance and disposition.
Common Health Problems
Purebreds are prone to certain health problems depending on the breed. With the French Bulldog, problems can arise from being short faced (brachycephalic) and having a dwarf build (chondrodystrophic). Try to find a vet that has experience working with these features in dogs.
Conditions Related to Brachycephaly
The short face is less efficient for breathing and Frenchies don’t do as well with heat, exercise, or high stress as they need to breathe more in such situations. Imagine trying to breathe through one nostril while running on a hot day—you would be panting quickly too! If your dog seems to have excessive trouble breathing (noisy and sometimes spitting out foam), have your vet check for pinched nostrils or an elongated palate.
The short face can make anesthesia riskier, so again, look for a vet who is experienced with short-faced breeds if anesthesia ever becomes necessary.
Conditions related to Chondrodystrophy
Because they are a dwarf breed, French Bulldogs may have spinal problems such as herniated discs or, less commonly, abnormal vertebrae. You should have your vet perform a musculoskeletal exam on your dog to make sure regular, moderate exercise (important for maintaining good physical condition) won’t cause any problems.
FBCA: French Bulldog Club of America “French Bulldog Breed Information”
ASPCA: Crate Training
Ceasar Milan: Travel with Pet