My French Bulldog Needs Vaccinations: What To Expect

My French Bulldog Needs Vaccinations

One of the first steps you’ll take as a French Bulldog owner is to take your puppy or dog to a vet to ensure that your pet is up to date and current on vaccinations.

This may be a little nerve-wracking as you might be worried about any adverse side effects that may occur from vaccines for your Frenchie. However, most reactions to and side effects of vaccinations in canines tend to be relatively mild, ranging from soreness to lethargy or a slight temperature, so there is not often a reason to be greatly concerned.

Some puppies or dogs may present with a small lump at the injection site or sneezing and sniffling from a spray vaccine. In rare cases, your French Bulldog may have a more serious adverse or allergic reaction that can result in anaphylaxis or an infection or abscess at the injection site.

What vaccines do French Bulldogs need?

French Bulldogs should follow a canine vaccine schedule similar to most dogs nationally, although certain states and localities have varying requirements on this schedule.

The most common set of canine vaccines includes vaccines for:

ParvovirusAdenovirus type 1 (canine hepatitis)
Adenovirus type 2 (kennel cough)Lyme disease
BordetellaLeptospirosis, and Parainfluenza.

While a young puppy or French Bulldog is still small and has not completed the core vaccinations, it would be best to keep them away from kennels, dog parks, or spaces and places where they could contract various illnesses that they have not yet formed any immunity to.

At what age should my French Bulldog be vaccinated?

The age at which you should get your French Bulldog vaccinated will vary depending on which vaccine it is and may come in doses rather than a single shot.

A puppy as young as six weeks can begin a series of shots for distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus type 1 for hepatitis, adenovirus type 2 for kennel cough, parainfluenza, and Bordetella (optional).
At 16 weeks or three months, your French Bulldog should receive its first rabies shot, although some may vaccinate for rabies as early as 12 weeks.
The rabies vaccination can be done in a single shot or dose and is often regulated by the state the age at which your French Bulldog should be vaccinated.
If you choose to vaccinate your French Bulldog for Lyme disease, this can be done at week nine and require two doses to complete, two to four weeks apart.
At eight weeks old, you may choose to vaccinate your puppy for Leptospirosis. This blood infection can be caused by mucous membrane contact with an infected animal’s urine or a bite from an infected animal.
The Leptospirosis vaccine must also be completed in two doses two to four weeks apart.
A vaccine is available for Canine Influenza and can be administered at 6-8 weeks, and is also completed in two doses two to four weeks apart.

What is the purpose of the main vaccinations?

The main vaccinations, also called “core” vaccinations for your French Bulldog or puppy, are distemper, adenovirus type 1, adenovirus type 2, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and rabies.

These vaccines are crucial barriers to protecting your French Bulldog from very serious diseases and infections that could endanger their lives and other dogs or wildlife. While many are aware of rabies and its destructive nature to dogs due to the lack of a cure, familiarity with the other core vaccines and their purpose is not as common.

Distemper is a serious, extremely contagious, and often fatal disease in dogs that is very much like rabies. The disease can cause coughing, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite in your French Bulldog. Seizures are common, and a common initial symptom is a puss-like discharge in their eyes. Distemper attacks your dog’s nervous system, which can cause many erratic behaviors.

Adenovirus type 1 protects your dog from infectious canine hepatitis, which is not unlike human hepatitis, a disease that attacks the liver. Adenovirus type 2 helps prevent kennel cough, an acute respiratory infection in dogs that causes coughing and sneezing, much like a cold in humans. Parvovirus in canines is an extremely contagious infection that causes vomiting, fever, nausea, and bloody diarrhea. The mortality rate of dogs that contract parvovirus is 91% when left untreated.

Parainfluenza is another highly contagious infection that acts as respiratory disease, causing cough and canine cough. Much like a human virus, parainfluenza can cause a cough, sneezing, a fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Kennel Cough are often accompanied by some bacterial infections such as Bordetella. For this reason, many dog owners choose to vaccinate their dogs for Bordetella along with the core vaccines.

french bulldog vaccine reaction

What are some common side effects of vaccination?

The most common side effect of vaccination in your French Bulldog or puppy will likely be feeling sore or lethargic. This occurs because your dog’s immune system begins to react to and build immunity to the vaccination.

Most puppies and dogs are back to normal energy and behavior within a couple of days.

Sometimes small lumps or bumps that may be sensitive to touch can be found at the injection site of vaccination. These should dissipate within a day or two, but if they remain for weeks, you should make an appointment to see your French Bulldog’s vet.

New ways to implement vaccines, such as the Bordetella spray vaccine, were developed to create immunities in the first place where a dog might develop or be prone to infection from the disease, may have the adverse effect of causing your French Bulldog to have the sniffles or sneeze.

As with regular vaccinations, the vaccine merely stimulates your dog’s immune system into this reaction and should resolve on its own within a few days.

Very serious reactions, such as anaphylaxis or infections and abscesses at the site of vaccine infection, are exceedingly rare. Adverse reactions of this degree often occur within hours of vaccination, and your veterinarian should be contacted and seen immediately to treat these issues.

What should I expect from the veterinarian?

On your first visit to the veterinarian with your French Bulldog puppy’s vaccinations, you should have all paperwork of previous visits and vaccinations from the breeder or shelter that you picked your pup up from. The veterinarian will do a full-scale physical examination of your puppy, checking weight, temperature, and lymph nodes, then do a brief behavioral observation allowing your pup to walk around the room.

Your veterinarian should explain the vaccination schedule for your puppy, appropriate to its age and any previous vaccination history. Then the veterinarian will administer the shots as necessary in a relatively quick and mostly painless process.

My French Bulldog Needs Vaccinations: What To Expect 1
french bulldog vaccinations cost

How much do dog vaccinations and shots cost?

Vaccinations for your French Bulldog or French Bulldog puppy will vary depending upon what veterinarian services your dog.

If you got your French Bulldog or French Bulldog puppy from a shelter, it is more than likely that the shelter has already paid for and administered the necessary vaccines for your dog. Sometimes such shelters offer a low fee of $20 for core vaccinations as well. If such a shelter or animal hospital is not available to you, the core vaccines at a regular vet will often cost between $75-$100. The rabies vaccine may cost anywhere from $15-$30, depending on your dog’s care provider.

The cost for non-core vaccines, such as Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis, and Canine Coronavirus, will vary within the range of $15-$30 as well.

Should I vaccinate my French Bulldog every year?

Most vaccine schedules propose that dog owners bring their pets and dogs in for a booster shot at least once a year. The core vaccination shots for distemper, adenovirus types 1 and 2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza should be taken one year after initial series completion.

Once the vaccination has been administered in this timeline, the best practice is to administer a booster once every three years. After the first year of a successful Rabies shot administration, most dogs are eligible to get the three-year rabies shot, a dosage that will only require a booster every three years. Non-core vaccinations are optional but are often recommended boosters of one year if dog owners choose to get them.


French Bulldog Vaccinations don’t have to be painful. If you find yourself thinking, “My French Bulldog may need vaccinations,” there are many resources available to assuage any concerns or questions about side effects, costs, and schedules.

Your local veterinarian or canine care provider will be able to walk you through the process, ensuring the best practices are followed for your French Bulldog. Vaccinations are a key component of canine health for your beloved French Bulldog and will help your French Bulldog or puppy live their healthiest, longest, and most enjoyable life.

While there are some mild reactions and side effects to dog and puppy vaccination, more likely than not, these issues will resolve in a short period and will be well worth the initial discomfort your French Bulldog might feel.

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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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