Why Is My French Bulldog So Scared? How To Fix.

Why Is My French Bulldog So Scared? How To Fix. 1

There are various reasons why French Bulldogs can get scared, just like any other dog. One of the most common reasons is due to loud and sudden noises, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or construction noises. Some Frenchies may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety or fear, while others may develop anxiety due to past traumatic experiences or lack of socialization.

Changes in their environment or routine can also trigger fear, such as moving to a new home or introducing a new pet or family member. Separation anxiety is another common issue among French Bulldogs, causing fear or distress when left alone for an extended period. Additionally, medical conditions such as pain, illness, or hearing loss can contribute to anxiety and fear in Frenchies.

French Bulldog owners need to understand the causes of their pet’s fear and anxiety to provide them with the appropriate support and care. This may include behavior modification techniques, desensitization training, medication, or a combination of these methods. Early intervention and consistent care can help manage and alleviate fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs, leading to a happier and healthier life for both pets and owners.

Why Is My French Bulldog So Scared? How To Fix. 2
french bulldog anxiety attack
Photo by Caio Arbulu

Genetic predisposition

Genetic predisposition refers to the inherent tendency of an individual to develop certain conditions or traits based on their genetic makeup. French Bulldogs can be predisposed to specific behaviors and temperament traits like many other dog breeds due to their genetic background.

Some French Bulldogs may be more prone to anxiety or fear-based behaviors due to their genetic predisposition. This could be related to their breeding history or their lineage, which may have included dogs with certain temperament traits that were passed down to them.

For example, if a French Bulldog’s ancestors had a history of being anxious or easily frightened, this may increase the likelihood that the individual dog will display similar behaviors. However, it is essential to note that genetic predisposition is not the only factor influencing behavior, and environmental factors also play a significant role.

Proper socialization and training can help reduce the impact of genetic predisposition and prevent or manage fear-based behaviors in French Bulldogs. Understanding the breed’s tendencies and working with a reputable breeder who prioritizes temperament and health can also help reduce the likelihood of anxiety-related issues in French Bulldogs.

Lack of socialization

ack of socialization is another reason why French Bulldogs can become scared. Socialization refers to the process of exposing puppies to various sights, sounds, people, and experiences to help them become comfortable and confident in different situations. When a puppy is not adequately socialized, they may become fearful or anxious in unfamiliar or new situations.

Socialization should begin young and continue throughout the dog’s life. If a French Bulldog has not been socialized enough during their critical socialization period, which is between three and fourteen weeks old, they may struggle with fear and anxiety later on in life.

For example, a French Bulldog who was not properly socialized with other dogs may become anxious or fearful around other dogs. Similarly, a French Bulldog that has not been exposed to different people or environments may become anxious when meeting new people or in new surroundings. This can make simple tasks like going for a walk or visiting the veterinarian a stressful experience for the dog and the owner.

French Bulldog owners should consciously expose their dogs to new experiences, people, and environments to prevent or mitigate the effects of a lack of socialization. This should be done gradually and in a positive, controlled manner to help the dog become more comfortable and confident. Socialization can include taking the dog to different places, introducing them to new people and animals, and exposing them to different sights and sounds. Consistent and positive reinforcement can help the dog build confidence and reduce anxiety in new or unfamiliar situations.

Traumatic experiences

Traumatic experiences can be a significant reason for French Bulldogs to get scared. Dogs that have gone through severe or traumatic events may develop anxieties, fears, or phobias that can be hard to get over. Traumatic experiences can include things like car accidents, being hit by a car, being attacked by another dog or animal, or even abuse or neglect from a previous owner.

French Bulldogs who have been through traumatic experiences may show fear or anxiety in situations similar to the event that caused their trauma. For example, a Frenchie hit by a car may be fearful of crossing the road or become anxious when they hear cars passing by. Similarly, a Frenchie that has been abused or neglected may show fear or anxiety around people or other dogs.

It’s essential to understand that traumatic experiences can have a long-lasting impact on a French Bulldog’s behavior and well-being. Sometimes, it may take a lot of time, patience, and professional help to help a Frenchie overcome their fears and anxieties.

If you suspect that your French Bulldog has gone through a traumatic experience, it’s best to seek the advice of a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. These professionals can help you develop a plan to help your Frenchie feel more comfortable and safe and work to build their trust and confidence over time.

Medical conditions

Some medical conditions can cause fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs. For example, hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, which can cause various symptoms including anxiety, fearfulness, and aggression.

Other medical conditions that can lead to fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs include chronic pain, neurological disorders, and hormonal imbalances. If you notice your Frenchie exhibiting unusual or excessive fear or anxiety, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough physical exam to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to their behavior.

Additionally, some medications or treatments for medical conditions may also cause fear and anxiety as a side effect. It’s important to discuss any concerns or changes in your Frenchie’s behavior with your veterinarian to ensure that they receive appropriate care and treatment.

Symptoms that your french bulldog is scared

There are several signs that your French Bulldog may display when they are scared. These can vary in intensity and duration depending on the situation and the individual dog, but some common symptoms to look out for include the following:

  1. Shaking or trembling: When your Frenchie is scared, they may shake or tremble. This is often a physical response to fear and anxiety.
  2. Hiding or cowering: Your Frenchie may try to hide or cower in a corner, under furniture or in their crate, to seek shelter from the perceived threat.
  3. Excessive barking: Some Frenchies may bark excessively when they are scared, especially if they are trying to protect their territory or warn their family.
  4. Destructive behavior: In some cases, a scared Frenchie may chew on furniture, shoes, or other items as a way of releasing their nervous energy.
  5. Pacing: A scared French Bulldog may also pace back and forth, unable to settle down or relax.
  6. Loss of appetite: Some Frenchies may lose their appetite when they are scared or anxious, which can lead to weight loss or other health problems.

It’s important to pay attention to your Frenchie’s behavior and body language to identify signs of fear or anxiety. By being aware of these symptoms, you can take steps to help your dog feel more comfortable and safe in situations that may cause them to be scared.

Example What To Do

French Bulldog Scared Of Thunder

As soon as the first rumble of thunder or flash of lightning hits, many well-behaved dogs can start exhibiting signs of extreme anxiety. They may begin pacing back and forth, panting heavily and sticking close to their owners for comfort. Some dogs may even retreat to the bathroom or wedge themselves under the bed or in a tight space, seeking a sense of safety and security from the perceived threat.

In severe cases, dogs can become overwhelmed with fear and may resort to destructive behaviors, such as biting through drywall, chewing up rugs, and even breaking through doors in their frantic attempt to escape the perceived danger. This behavior is destructive and can also risk the dog’s safety, as they may injure themselves in their panicked state.

Reducing thunderstorm anxiety

One of the most important aspects of reducing thunderstorm anxiety in dogs is understanding how our pet owners’ behavior can affect their response. While it’s natural to want to comfort a scared dog, constant patting or soothing can reinforce their fearful behavior and signal them that their nervous reaction is appropriate.

On the other hand, disciplining a frightened dog can have the opposite effect and only serve to intensify their anxiety. Instead, remaining calm and composed around your French Bulldog during a thunderstorm or other anxiety-inducing event is important.

One way to help distract and soothe your furry friend is to engage them in activities that they usually enjoy. For example, playing with their favorite toys or practicing some simple commands can help redirect their attention away from the stressful situation and onto something more positive.

Change Locations

One effective way to help reduce your French Bulldog’s anxiety during thunderstorms or other loud events is to change their location to a quieter or more comfortable space. This can help muffle the sounds of the storm and make your dog less aware of it, leading to a more relaxed and calm state.

For example, some dogs may feel more secure in a room without windows, such as a basement or closet, where the sounds of the storm are less noticeable. Additionally, many dogs find comfort in small, enclosed spaces like under the bed or in a crate. If your Frenchie prefers their crate, consider covering it with a sheet to create a cozy and secure environment, but leave the door open so that they don’t feel trapped.

Another option is to create “white noise” by using a fan or other device to help drown out the sounds of the storm. Some dogs find this sound comforting and may relax in response to it.

Use Conditioning

Using conditioning techniques can be an effective way to help your French Bulldog associate something positive with an otherwise negative experience, such as a thunderstorm. One way to do this is by providing a special toy or treat that your dog enjoys during stormy weather.

For example, you can keep a favorite toy or treat hidden away and bring it out to play as soon as your Frenchie starts to feel anxious about an incoming storm. Doing so, you help distract their attention from the storm and associate the experience with something positive.

In addition to a special toy or treat, you can also offer your Frenchie a special meal or snack during these periods. Providing something delicious and enjoyable can help redirect their focus and create a more positive experience.

Over time, as you consistently use these conditioning techniques over time, your Frenchie may start to recondition their response to a storm, associating it with positive experiences rather than fear and anxiety. This can lead to a more relaxed and calm response to storms, making life easier for both you and your furry friend.


Desensitization is a gradual process that can help your French Bulldog become less afraid of thunderstorms over time. This technique involves exposing your Frenchie to the sound of thunder in a controlled environment, at a low volume, and for short periods of time.

The idea is to get your dog used to the sound of thunder and see it as a normal occurrence. The sound of thunder should come in spurts to mimic real-life thunder, and you should monitor your Frenchie’s behavior during this process. If your dog becomes too afraid, you may need to lower the volume of the thundering noise and try again the next day.

To make the desensitization process more enjoyable, try to distract your Frenchie with fun activities like playing fetch or engaging in other enjoyable activities. If your dog is too afraid to participate, it’s important to be patient and adjust the process as needed to ensure their comfort and well-being.

It’s important to note that desensitization can be a lengthy process requiring much dedication and patience. However, if done correctly, it can be a highly effective way to help your French Bulldog become more confident during a storm, leading to a happier, more relaxed pup and a more peaceful household overall.

French Bulldog gets ready to rumble with thunder.

French Bulldog Scared of Fireworks

Fireworks can be a source of anxiety for French Bulldogs who have not been desensitized to them. This can make holidays such as the 4th of July especially stressful for both your Frenchie and you. It’s important to take additional steps to ensure your pet’s safety, as many pets run away during fireworks displays.

Keep a close eye on your Frenchie during the commotion, and ensure they have proper identification in case they run away. Additionally, you can take steps to help your French Bulldog feel more at ease during fireworks displays.

Unlike other loud, natural sounds like thunder, fireworks are low to the ground, vivid, and often followed by loud bangs and a burning smell of gunpowder. This can be overwhelming for your Frenchie, but there are things you can do to help.

One solution is to create a calm, secure environment for your pet. Ensure they have a comfortable, familiar space to retreat to during fireworks displays. You can also use white noise or calming music to help drown out the sounds of the fireworks.

Desensitization can also be effective. Like thunderstorms, playing recorded fireworks at a low volume and gradually increasing the volume and duration can help your Frenchie get used to the sounds. Distraction with treats or playtime can also be helpful during this process.

If your Frenchie is particularly anxious, products such as anxiety vests or pheromone sprays can help alleviate their stress. As always, consult with your veterinarian for advice on the best options for your pet.

With the right precautions and techniques, you can help your French Bulldog feel more comfortable and safe during fireworks displays and make holidays like the 4th of July less stressful for both you and your furry friend.

stress and anxiety

Medications for Dog Anxiety

It’s important to always seek the advice of a veterinarian before giving any medication to your Frenchie for anxiety. Once your vet has thoroughly examined your dog, they may suggest a prescription medication to help manage your Frenchie’s anxiety.

It’s important to note that medication alone is not a cure-all solution for your Frenchie’s anxiety. You will also need to implement behavior modification techniques in conjunction with the medication to help your Frenchie work through their fear.

Typically, it takes about four weeks for the full effects of the medication to be seen in your Frenchie, and the therapy should be continued for at least two months after a positive response has been observed.

Your veterinarian may prescribe several types of medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or sedatives. Following your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and monitoring your Frenchie closely for any adverse reactions is essential.

While medication can be useful in managing your Frenchie’s anxiety, it’s essential to remember that it is only one part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Combining medication with behavior modification techniques can give your Frenchie the best chance of overcoming their anxiety and leading a happier, more relaxed life.

Anxiety Medications for Dogs

AlprazolamAlprazolam is a medication that is commonly prescribed to help dogs with situational anxiety caused by events such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Still, it may also be used to manage other types of situational anxiety in dogs.
AmitriptylineAmitriptyline is a medication that can be prescribed to assist dogs in managing separation anxiety and other types of generalized anxiety.
Buspirone Buspirone belongs to the class of anxiolytics called azaperones, and it requires regular use to be effective. Therefore, it is not suitable for dogs with situational anxiety, such as during a thunderstorm.
Clomipramine Clomipramine is a medication that has been authorized for treating separation anxiety in dogs.
Sileo Sileo is a medication that can assist in managing noise sensitivity in dogs.
Diazepam Diazepam has multiple uses for dogs but is most effective as an anti-anxiety, sedative, appetite stimulant, and seizure control drug. It is often used to treat panic disorders, including severe noise aversion, in dogs with anxiety. It’s important to note that diazepam should only be given under the guidance and prescription of a veterinarian.
ReconcileReconcile is a medication used to treat separation anxiety in dogs and other behavioral problems such as obsessive chewing, circling, self-mutilation, and aggression.
Lorazepam Lorazepam can be given to dogs before an event known to cause anxiety, such as a thunderstorm, or when the dog first shows signs of nervousness.
Paroxetine Paroxetine is a medication that can be prescribed to dogs for various anxiety-related symptoms, such as aggression, sensitivity to noise, and self-harm.
Sertraline Sertraline can be recommended by veterinarians to treat various anxiety-related conditions in dogs, including separation anxiety, fear of thunderstorms and fireworks, and aggression driven by fear.


In conclusion, fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs can manifest in various ways. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to recognize the symptoms to be able to provide the necessary care and support. Some of the common causes of fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs include genetics, lack of socialization, traumatic experiences, and medical conditions.

If you notice any signs of fear or anxiety in your French Bulldog, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues and discuss treatment options. Medications such as anti-anxiety drugs and behavior modification techniques can effectively manage fear and anxiety in French Bulldogs.

Furthermore, creating a safe and comfortable environment for your French Bulldog and being aware of potentially anxiety-inducing situations, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, can also help alleviate their fear and anxiety. With patience, understanding, and proper care, you can help your French Bulldog overcome their fear and live a happy and healthy life.

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Marshall Newton

Marshall Newton stands as an authoritative figure in the world of dog care and training, enriched by over 40 years of hands-on experience. His lifelong journey with dogs has seen him own over 20 canines from a diverse range of breeds, making him a versatile expert in the field. Marshall's expertise doesn't stop at general dog care; he's also a specialist when it comes to French Bulldogs. As the founder of "Little French Dog," Marshall provides invaluable advice and resources for both new and seasoned Frenchie owners. Whether it's understanding breed-specific traits or discovering new care tips, Marshall is the go-to resource in the Frenchie community. Interested in learning more? Feel free to connect with Marshall on LinkedIn for a deeper dive into his professional background and a wealth of canine insights.

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