French Bulldogs are currently one of the world’s most popular dog breeds. However, despite their popularity, they are prone to a wide range of health issues.
While the Frenchie’s unique appearance has definitely been a big contributor to the breed’s fame, their short legs and sturdy build have also made them susceptible to serious back and joint problems. Many of these issues can be triggered or made worse by jumping from higher surfaces too.
As a result, more and more French Bulldog owners are introducing their pups to dog ramps in order to provide them with an impact-free way of getting on and off furniture.
To learn more about taking care of your French Bulldog’s back and joints, read on to discover why dog ramps are a necessity for Frenchies.
In addition to being a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, French Bulldogs are also a chondrodystrophic breed. These are dogs with short legs in comparison to the size or length of their bodies, which makes them have a higher risk of developing back and limb issues.
As well, although French Bulldogs tend to have muscular bodies, they only reach heights of 11-13 inches at the shoulder - making them shorter than nearly all couches and beds. Therefore, the impact from jumping off furniture can put a great deal of stress on their backs and joints and even aggravate spinal and joint conditions.
If your French Bulldog likes spending time on your couch or bed, indoor dog ramps can give your pup an easier and safer way of enjoying his or her favorite hangout spots.
This French Bulldog's owners chose to introduce their pup to a ramp in order to protect his joints. They shared:
"We knew jumping on and off the couch would be really bad for their back and joints. It probably took a minute for him to start using it and now he has one for our bed as well. Thank you so much for making the ramps. I wish we could have them when we had our dachshunds many years ago."
Similar to Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Corgis, French Bulldogs are also genetically predisposed to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
Like humans, dogs have intervertebral discs between each pair of vertebrae on their spine. These discs function as cushions and shock absorbers for the neck and back.
IVDD occurs when the outer layers of these discs begin to harden prematurely. This makes it easier for a disc to bulge or burst after experiencing a harder impact or injury from a simple everyday activity, such jumping off furniture or wrestling.
A bulging or burst disc can then put pressure on a dog’s spinal cord, which can lead to damaged nerve impulses, cause unsteadiness, severe pain, or even paralysis.
Unfortunately, IVDD usually remains undetected until a weakened disc ruptures or bulges, and treatment usually involves complex and expensive surgeries and/or months of recovery.
Following an emergency surgery to treat a herniated disc, Winston the Frenchie had to remain on crate rest for a minimum of 3 weeks. His paw-rents had to use a sling to support his body so that he could eat his meals.
Being aware of IVDD as a French Bulldog owner is also more important than ever. While it’s estimated that 1 in 4 Dachshunds are at risk of developing IVDD, Southeast Veterinary Neurology in Florida has noticed a rise in IVDD cases among French Bulldogs. A neurologist on their team reports occasionally treating more French Bulldogs than Dachshunds with IVDD.
As a typically genetic condition in chondrodystrophic breeds, IVDD can’t necessarily be prevented. However, dog ramps can provide French Bulldogs with an impact-free means of accessing couches, beds, and other pieces of furniture.
Karl the Frenchie (@thejaxkarlandkevinshow) experienced a ruptured disc in his neck in early 2022 due to IVDD. After undergoing cervical spine surgery to correct the disc, Karl has made an incredible recovery. However, he now strictly uses his DoggoRamps to access the couch and bed. This helps him reduce the amount of stress he places on his back on a daily basis and can help decrease the chances of another disc flaring up.
Winston the French Bulldog (@winstonthefrenchiee_) is social media su-paw-star, DoggoRamper, and 2-time IVDD Survivor. In 2022, the 4-year-old Frenchie was not only diagnosed with IVDD but underwent two spinal surgeries due to the condition.
It all started near the end of April 2022 when Winston showed a sudden change in behavior and no longer had interest in his favorite routines. He quickly started displaying signs of discomfort and experienced trouble holding himself up with his front legs.
An MRI confirmed that Winston had a herniated disc in his cervical spine. He was immediately admitted for an emergency back surgery and had a very successful recovery.
Winston the day after his first surgery. In order to operate on his cervical spine, his veterinary team had to make an incision along the upper part of his chest.
Unfortunately, just a handful of months later, he experienced another disc extrusion - this time in his lumbar spine, where he lost function in his back legs.
After undergoing yet another spinal surgery, weeks of rest, and physical rehabilitation, Winston is in the process of making another amazing recovery. He has regained control of his hind legs and is back to enjoying his daily walks outdoors.
On top of taking a handful of additional precautions to reduce the chances of future episodes, such as prioritizing gentle play and avoiding stairs, Winston uses his DoggoRamps Couch Ramp to easily and safely enjoy his favorite hangout spots.
Winston's has decided that his ramp doubles as the perfect napping spot too!
To read more about Winston the French Bulldog’s first IVDD surgery and recovery, click here.
Like many smaller dog breeds, French Bulldogs are also genetically prone to Patellar Luxation. This condition occurs when a dog’s kneecap chronically shifts out of place, and can affect one or both of a dog’s hind legs. Dogs with patellar luxation can usually be seen limping, skipping, or kicking while walking in order to snap their kneecaps back into place.
Patellar luxation has varying levels of severity and even in its mildest form, it can cause dogs some discomfort and pain. The impact experienced from jumping off furniture can further exacerbate the condition as well. What's more is that when left untreated, Patellar Luxation can lead to changes in a dog’s hip, thigh, or shin bones and make a pup more susceptible to other leg injuries and arthritis.
While severe cases can be surgically corrected and lower grade cases are commonly treated with medication, weight management, and exercise restriction, there’s still a chance that a luxating patella could return.
Introducing dogs with Patellar Luxation to ramps can help them reduce how much strain they put on their knees and help them enjoy a higher quality of life.
French Bulldogs are also susceptible to developing Hip Dysplasia. While Hip Dysplasia is usually associated with large breeds, such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, Frenchies are prone to the condition as well.
Hip Dysplasia occurs when a dog’s hip joint does not develop or fit properly. Rather than sliding smoothly, the ball and socket that make up the hip joint rub and grind causing the joint to deteriorate over time. The condition can cause dogs to experience discomfort, pain, decreased mobility, and lameness in their hind legs.
Non-genetic factors can lead to the development of Hip Dysplasia too, such as excessive growth, certain types of exercise, injury, and improper nutrition.
As an impact-free alternative to jumping on and off furniture, using dog ramps can help French Bulldogs decrease the amount of stress they put on their hip joints over time and allow Frenchies to easily and comfortably enjoy their home environments.
Another French Bulldog owner shared:
If you find yourself choosing between a dog ramp or pet stairs for your French Bulldog, a dog ramp will always be the better choice. Most French Bulldogs may seem fully capable of walking up and down a flight of stairs, but it doesn’t mean that using stairs - even in the form of pet steps - is good for their long-term health.
That’s because using stairs still requires dogs to experience small, repeated impacts over time. This is less than ideal for breeds prone to back and joint issues as these impacts still put additional strain on their joints and spine. A dog ramp is the only solution that is entirely impact-free.
It’s also important to be aware that for dogs with joint problems and decreased mobility, walking up and down a ramp ramp is a great deal easier than climbing stairs as steps require dogs to lift their legs up and down (a well-designed dog ramp does not).
Rocko's paw-rents introduced him to a ramp after the pup decided he had the potential to become the "Olympic champion of jumping off [their] high standing bed". They initially tried to get Rocko to use plastic steps, but he refused. When providing their feedback about the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp, his owners emphasized:
"This ramp was a complete God send for keeping my pup healthy and safe."
Goofy, playful, and affectionate are just a few of the words commonly used to describe French Bulldogs. Bred as companion dogs, Frenchies love attention, cuddling, napping, and spending time with their owners. Dog ramps can provide them with the opportunity to easily and safely enjoy some of their favourite activities, such as snuggling up with their human on the couch or bed.
As free-spirited dogs with outgoing personalities, many French Bulldogs are also known for getting bursts of energy where they often end up running and goofing around. Fortunately, as opposed to pet steps, dog ramps can be used fast or slow, giving French Bulldogs the opportunity to stay safe at home whether they’re ready for a nap or play.
A French Bulldog Owner and DoggoRamper wrote:
Numerous French Bulldog owners choose DoggoRamps for their four-legged family members as DoggoRamps have the features needed to support this short yet sturdy breed:
All DoggoRamps are made from furniture-grade, solid maple hardwood. As opposed to softwood, plastic, or foam alternatives, DoggoRamps are stronger, sturdier, more durable, and weigh between 15lbs (The Couch Ramp and StepRamp) to 46lbs (The Large Bed Ramp).
Even though French Bulldogs are rather short, they have a muscular build and can weigh up to 30lbs. As a result, Frenchies require solid and well-made dog ramps to support their compact physiques - especially when they’re applying extra force onto their ramp from a quicker or more confident step. DoggoRamps allow French Bulldogs remain comfortable and safe while use a dog ramp.
Proper traction on a dog ramp is a necessity. Its importance can’t be emphasized enough - especially for breeds prone to joint and back problems. Accidental slips can lead to injuries, and no dog owner wants to have their pup slip on a device that’s meant to keep them safe.
That’s why all DoggoRamps feature a soft yet rubbery anti-slip PAWGRIP surface. The DoggoRamps PAWGRIP has been specially designed to provide incredible traction that’s miles better than carpet.
All of our full ramps have a low-incline design and provide dogs with a more gradual slope to navigate when walking up and down. With a gentler slope, our ramps are easier and safer for dogs to use, and don’t require dogs to take big steps, lift their limbs, or get a running start - all of which would put extra strain on a dog’s joints.
The DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp also has an extra-wide platform (18”), which makes it roomier and more comfortable not only for big breeds, but also for all dogs with sturdier physiques and a preference for extra space.
DoggoRamps Bed Ramps feature a wide range of adjustable height settings so that they can work with virtually any bed - including tall beds. The DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp, which can support up to 50lbs, reaches a maximum height of 37”. The DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp, which can support up to 200lbs, reaches beds 35” tall.
As a result, both bed ramps come with reversible and removable safety railings. These railings help block any jumping shortcuts off the ramp and guide dogs up and down the full length of the ramp. This extra feature is particularly important for shorter dogs using bed ramps, such as French Bulldogs, as the impact from jumping a distance 2-3 times their height can put unnecessary strain on their bodies.
After first trying out pet stairs, Mochi's owners decided to switch over to the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp. They shared:
"We've previously bought pet stairs for our French Bulldog puppy, Mochi, but felt that the stairs were not durable and stable. His paws would sink into the foam because of his weight. We decided to switch to a bed ramp instead because it is more secure especially with the safety rails and the soft, rubbery anti-slip surface. Also, it is adjustable to the height of our bed and the low incline design allows him to walk safely up to our bed as opposed to before when he would run up the stairs."
If you’re a French Bulldog owner and have a pup that loves spending time on the couch or bed, an indoor dog ramp can be a great way of reducing the amount of stress your dog places on their back and joints on a daily basis.
Prone to conditions like IVDD, Hip Dysplasia, and Patellar Luxation, ramps can help French Bulldogs enjoy a safer and more comfortable home environment.
To learn more about choosing a DoggoRamp for your French Bulldog, check out:
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