Do you have a French bulldog? They’re a beloved companion breed bred from both toy bulldogs and Parisian ratter dogs that eventually created the breed you know today. But, just because these dogs are small doesn’t mean they should be too skinny.
If you’re worried that your French bulldog is too skinny, you probably want to find a way to pack on the pounds. Generally, the best ways to do so involve treating underlying conditions, changing the diet, or changing the lifestyle to encourage muscle development.
Is My French Bulldog Too Skinny?
Frenchies aren’t exactly big breeds, and it isn’t much you can do to alter an adult dog’s final size healthily. If your dog is truly too skinny, you can help them to gain a bit of weight relatively easily, but if you have a naturally petite dog, you just make your pup overweight by trying to alter it.
|Ideal Weight for French Bulldogs: A full-grown Frenchie is generally relatively small. Of course, there will be variance in size, but on average, you can expect your male dog to be between 20 and 28 pounds while a female is usually a bit lighter at 17 to 26 pounds.|
|Is Being Underweight Always Bad?: Keep in mind that being underweight isn’t always bad. Sometimes, you just have a particularly tiny dog for the breed. If both parents for your Frenchie were quite small, your pup probably wouldn’t be on the larger side. If your dog is proportionately small, it is probably just fine, though your vet will confirm this.|
|How to Know if My Bulldog is too Skinny: One of the easiest ways to tell if your Frenchie is too skinny is to look at their body type. Look down on your pup from above. Do you see their ribs protruding? Regardless of the dog’s general size, you should be able to feel, but not see ribs on their sides. |
Visible ribs are a telltale sign of being underweight. Is your dog slowing down due to a lack of energy? Is your dog not toileting enough? These are signs that there may be a problem that you will need to address.
What is Making My French Bulldog too Skinny?
If your dog is too skinny, there is probably a cause for it. Thankfully, most causes can be treated. You could cause skinniness, or it could be caused by a medical condition that will need treatment.
|Not Eating Enough: The classic reason for being underweight is not feeding your dog enough. If you aren’t giving your pup the right amount of food, you can’t expect your dog to maintain weight according to its size. Or, your pup may not be eating enough for some reason, such as pain or a medical condition, even if you are providing the right amount of food.|
|Feeding the Wrong Food: The food that you feed may simply be inappropriate as well. If you feed something that your dog has an intolerance to, you can cause all sorts of issues. If your dog can’t process and digest the food, you won’t be able to keep the weight on him or her.|
|Worms or Other Parasites: Worms or other parasites can also cause weight loss and an inability to put any weight on. These are most notable by looking at the dog’s stool to see if you can see signs of them. However, not all parasites are as visible. A vet should be able to diagnose parasites if they are present.|
|Other Medical Conditions: Other medical conditions can lead to weight loss and being underweight. Diabetes can cause the dog to lose weight because your Frenchie won’t process glucose to use as energy. Cancer, kidney problems, heart disease, allergies, and even anxiety may also cause problems with weight loss or putting weight on for your pup.|
When Should I See the Vet about my French Bulldog Being Skinny?
Any time you are worried about your dog’s health, going to a vet is usually recommended. It’s good for you to make sure that your pup is healthy. There are a few signs that you’ll want to look out for. If you notice these signs, you probably should reach out to the vet for a thorough evaluation.
|Are They Eating Regularly?: If you notice a change in your dog’s eating habits or your dog doesn’t regularly eat enough food for their size, you should speak to the vet. Irregular eating habits or suddenly changing habits usually shows that there is a problem.|
|Are They Drinking too Much or Not Enough?: If your dog seems to drink constantly, or not enough, there is probably a more serious sign. Problems with drinking can become quite serious if left unchecked. Too much water could imply diabetes while not enough could be related to issues with the kidneys.|
|Are There Toilet Issues?: Is your dog’s toileting unusual? Not going enough implies the dog isn’t eating enough. Going too much and having runny stools implies that their stomach cannot handle the food consumed. You may even notice worms in the stool.|
|How is Their Energy?: A dog that becomes listless, tired, and doesn’t move much is a dog that needs to be checked out. You should not hesitate to go to the vet if you notice that your pup struggles to find the energy for normal daily habits.|
|Are There Any Other Concerns?: Any other concerns, such as itchiness, lumps, pain, wounds, hair loss, or other strange symptoms also always warrant vet visits. If you’re concerned about anything, it’s always worth asking for the opinion of a professional.|
What Can I Do to Fatten up My French Bulldog?
Suppose you want to fatten up your Frenchie. In that case, you have three primary options: You can put on fat, build muscle, or you can treat an underlying condition or cause that is causing weight loss in the first place. How you do each is a bit different. However, both options will involve increasing calorie content, so either fat or muscle can be developed.
|Building Muscle: Building muscle is done just like it is in people. To build muscle in your Frenchie, you’ll need to take them for more exercise while also upping their caloric intake. By adding more food, you give the dog’s body the energy to start putting on muscle. |
And, by exercising, you encourage the muscles to develop as well. While it might seem counterintuitive to exercise to help add weight, Frenchies are meant to be stocky and muscular.
|Gaining Fat: If your dog is truly underweight or too skinny, you may need to up the fat content on its body. Gaining fat is as simple as upping calories. Stick to high-quality foods with high-quality ingredients. |
Ideally, all dogs would be fed a raw, whole food diet, but this is expensive and time-consuming. If you are feeding kibble, make sure that you pick those that have real meat as the primary ingredients and avoid filler ingredients.
|Treat Underlying Conditions: Finally, if you want to have your dog gain weight, you must ensure no underlying causes that are keeping weight off. Ensure your dog gets a clean bill of health and putting on weight should be as simple as upping food intake and adding extra calories.|
Are There Any Things I Should Be Aware of?
Before you head off to start fattening up your dog, there are a few more things to consider.
Feeding Your Dog the Right Way
First, make sure you feed your dog the right way. Adults require food twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Puppies under the age of 8 months generally eat as much as 6 times daily. Your Frenchie should be eating between 25 and 35 calories per pound of body weight per day to stay healthy. Healthy food is generally 18% lean protein and 5% fat, with the remainder being a high-quality carbohydrate.
Genetics and Your French Bulldog
Genetics will influence your dog’s weight. It could be that your dog is naturally petite, or is naturally larger than average. Or, your dog could be predisposed to certain medical conditions that could influence your dog’s weight. If possible, look to your dog’s parents or littermates to better understand what your dog is likely to be.
These days, 1 in 2 dogs is overweight or obese, so before you move forward in adding weight to your dog, make sure it is necessary. If your dog truly is underweight, you’ll want to take time to add weight healthily.
Frenchies are small dogs, so even a few pounds of weight change can make a big difference. At the end of the day, a healthy weight will help your pup live a happier, longer life and is worth the effort.