Why Does My French Bulldog Throw Up? 6 Reasons for Vomiting Including Foam


Why Does My French Bulldog Throw Up

Living with a French bulldog is a pure and utter joy! They are a charming and clever dog with an infectious sense of humour and a little bit of a stubborn streak. Anyone who lives with a French Bulldog will know these guys are susceptible to some strange gastrointestinal issues and sick symptoms. This means that they sometimes throw up, vomit, and are sick more often that other dog breeds.

However, us Frenchie lovers often grow used to gagging and vomiting and come to think of it as just a normal everyday occurrence. But when is it normal, when is it a cause for concern, and what French Bulldog sick symptoms should you look out for?

Why does my French Bulldog throw up? One reason why French bulldogs throws up is being a Brachycephalic breed. Their small shortened snout that makes them so cute and popular also makes it difficult for them to eat and digest food properly. This can cause vomiting, gagging and regurgitation, often characterized by the spitting up of frothy foam.

There’s nothing as distressing as seeing your beloved pet being sick and if you are often wondering why your French bulldog throws up, continue reading and I will explain some of the reasons why.

Why does my French bulldog throw up foam?

Brachycephalic refers to a flat and wide skull shape which appears as though it has been compressed from back to front and in some extreme cases may appear that there is no nose present.

As mentioned above, this can lead to digestion issues. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, but if your French Bulldog is vomiting white foam, that’s when you should consult a vet.

A French Bulldog who keeps throwing up white foam vomit can be a sign of stomach dilation or gastric torsion and can be very serious.

I just wanted to get the white foam vomit point out of the way first, it’s really important to look out for.

French bulldog throwing up undigested food

If your French Bulldogs keeps being sick and is throwing up undigested food, then it could be down to a number of reasons. Even vets will sometimes struggle to diagnose why your French Bulldog is throwing up undigested food, but there are a few common possibilities.

It could be:

  • Due to brachycephalic syndrome: this can cause gagging, vomiting, and the regurgitation of undigested food. Brachycephalic syndrome leads to an elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, hypoplastic trachea, stenotic nares, and possible laryngeal/tracheal collapse. However, this is more commonly associated with the throwing up of white foam.
  • Due to an oesophageal disorder: much of this can be hereditary or due to hernias. It can only be diagnosed by a professional vet (I am not one, just a Frenchie owner who has research French Bulldog sick symptoms).
  • Due to a food allergy: Frenchies can become allergic to a variety of foods and they have very delicate stomachs. Vomiting is common in younger puppies, but please do consult with a vet if you’re concerned. 

Did You Know? The act of regurgitation happens when a French Bulldog sicks up food that hasn’t even made it as far as their stomach. Vomiting is slightly different as this refers to when a Frenchie throws up food that has already hit the digestive system.

French Bulldog sick symptoms to look out for

Ever wondered “why does my French bulldog vomit so much?” There are a myriad of reasons which I will discuss on this page, and there are a lot of French Bulldog sick symptoms to look out for. I’ve listed those below, so let’s now explore some of the other reasons why your Frenchie will throw and help you identify the issue.

However, if in any doubt do not hesitate to contact your vet as it is always better to be safe than sorry.

#1: Food Allergies

It is common for French bulldogs to have a sensitive stomach and be allergic to certain types of dog foods. Your Frenchie may also develop new allergies over time so could become allergic to the dog food that they have eaten for the for the past couple of years.

If your French bulldog has developed a food allergy you will likely notice that the vomiting is often accompanied with diarrhoea although that is not always the case.

Other symptoms to looks out for if you suspect your Frenchie has a food allergy include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Dull looking coat – its fur will lose its shine
  • Bloody looking nails
  • Ear infection
  • Watery eyes

If you think your French bulldog has a food allergy, try changing their food and closely monitor their behaviour. If the symptoms persist or grow worse, it’s best to visit your vet and explain to them what you have seen.

#2: Eating and drinking too quickly

As mentioned earlier in this article the French Bulldog is a Brachycephalic dog breed and due to shape of their jaws and faces, they can often inhale too much air if they eat their food very quickly.

This can cause intestinal distress which leads to vomiting. Try to give your French Bulldogs smaller meals more often so that they don’t get too hungry and rush eating their food.

#3: Oesophageal issues and disorders

There are several oesophageal issues and disorders which will affect French bulldogs. What follows isn’t a definitive list, but it does include the ones I have come across.

Vascular Ring

A vascular ring is thought to be hereditary. It is a congenital defect most often caused by the right aortic arch that is normally lost during foetal development.

The persistent right aortic arch then forms a ring around the oesophagus constricting it and making it harder for food to pass through.

Vascular rings aren’t all that common in French bulldogs however it is still important to be aware of them.

Throwing up is a typical symptom and the problem will usually appear within the first 6 months after birth.

A visit to your vet is a must if you suspect that your French bulldog has a vascular ring as it will need to be treated with a course of antibiotics and an oxygen supplement may also be considered. Your vet may also suggest surgery as an option to attempt and repair the vascular entrapment.

Esophagitis

Esophagitis is an inflammation of the oesophagus which can be caused by acid reflux or a food allergy. Symptoms of esophagitis in your French bulldog may include:

  • Signs of pain when your French bulldog is swallowing food
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Your French bulldog may not want to lie down
  • Unusual movements
  • Pain in the neck or throat

Esophagitis will usually mean a trip to the vet for your Frenchie and the condition can usually be managed with medicine or a change in diet.

A high in carbs and low fat diet that contains low protein foods with no allergens in them can help heal the oesophagus.

Antacids may be prescribed along with other drugs to help your French bulldog swallow.

In extreme cases a balloon catheter can be installed to help manage the narrowing of the oesophagus.

Megaoesophagus

This condition happens when your French bulldog’s oesophagus becomes dilated due to lack of peristaltic activity which is basically the process that moves food along the muscular tract.

In layman’s terms this occurs when the oesophagus becomes weak and food can’t be pushed into the stomach meaning it stays there in the oesophagus.

This condition is often hereditary and diagnosed by barium swallows and x-rays, so again this will mean another trip to the vet for your four-legged friend.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this problem and will have to be managed over the life of your Frenchie. Managing it is not particularly easy. It requires your dog to be in a vertical and upright position whilst feeding and drinking.

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is usually detected when your dog is exercising or particularly excited. This causes an opening in the diaphragm called the oesophageal hiatus which the oesophagus passed through prior to entering the stomach.

A hernia can sometimes develop in this location due to an issue caused by one of the below:

  • A protrusion of the oesophagus
  • Lower oesophageal sphincter
  • Part of the stomach

A hiatal hernia will mean a trip to the vet again for your French bulldog and quite possibly some surgery.

Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to help reduce inflammation inside the oesophagus.

However medication will only reduce the frequency and severity of the hiatal hernia but will not remove it totally.

Surgery may be needed to put the oesophagus and stomach back to what is considered the normal position.

Related questions about Frenchie vomiting

Why does my French bulldog throw up after drinking water?

Frenchies wolf down their food and water. Our own dog Claude will lap his water and food up really quickly, which will often lead to vomiting.

It was a lot worse when he was a puppy – I believe that’s because he had come from a litter where it was a case of the strongest survive!

How can I help my French bulldog after he has been sick?

Where the problem is mild and controllable you could try switching your Frenchie’s diet for a few days.

A few days of boiled rice and boiled chicken will often help your pal’s gastric problems improve.

If the problem is down to a food allergy, they will require a specific food for life. Your vet will be able to advise you with this.

If the vet advises any particular treatment so that your French bulldog doesn’t suffer from throwing up so frequently it is extremely important to follow it properly.

Never self-medicate your French bulldog as you could end up doing them more harm.

French bulldogs often become frightened and distressed after throwing up.

You should offer them plenty of comfort and cuddles and monitor them very closely to ensure that they are able to breathe properly.

How can I prevent my French bulldog from vomiting in the future?

If you think that your French bulldog has food allergies you can buy specially formulated dog food for them; but always consult your vet first before making any dietary changes.

You can also buy your Frenchie a food bowl which has been designed specifically to slow down the eating process which in turn makes it easier for them to eat without gulping so much air.

Do French bulldogs throw up less as they get older?

As your French bulldog matures it is likely that they will vomit less frequently.

Vomiting is more common in French bulldogs when they are puppies and it is not uncommon for them to throw up two to three times a day.

This will decrease as they age, and your French bulldog can end up going for years without throwing up.

Talking from personal experience, when Claude was a puppy, it seemed like he was throwing up on an almost daily basis. Thankfully it’s a lot rarer now, with perhaps a vomit every couple of months at the most.

When should I take my Frenchie to the vet after throwing up?

It is always better to be safe than sorry and don’t try and second guess anything.

If your French bulldog is vomiting frequently and seems to be distressed and in pain it is always better to get professional advice.

Try and remain calm and just explain exactly what it is that you saw.

As unpleasant as it sounds, if you can video your French bulldog whilst being sick or even take a photo of what they produce it would help the vet to identify the problem and therefore get your dog the best treatment.

All Frenchies throw up.

Nine times out of ten its usually nothing to worry about.

If it begins to dramatically affect their personality and is persistent then please give your vet a call. There’s a good chance that it can be resolved simply with medication or dietary changes. 

What other health problems should I look for?

Frenchies are notorious for having various health issues. I’ve compiled a huge list of all the health concerns you should be aware of, including the symptoms to look out for. Click here to view the list of French Bulldog health issues.

Final thoughts

I honestly can’t stress enough how much our own French bulldog threw up and vomited during the first 6 months of his life.

It seemed like every few hours we were having to get paper towels and anti-bacterial wipes to clean up the kitchen floor. We very quickly started to learn what the sick symptoms of a French Bulldog were and what we needed to keep an eye on.

It was vomited food, sometimes undigested. Grass from the garden (see why they eat grass). Small pieces of Lego that he had chewed up. Fur from our cat.

You name it, he vomited it.

He’s now 2 and half years old, and we rarely get any vomiting.

We’ve never had anything that appeared serious, like the points I researched in this guide, so never had to go to the vets.

If you do see anything unusual though, please do get your Frenchie looked at, as it could be the sign of something more serious.

Marc Aaron

I am one of Claude the French Bulldog's human parents. I write about all the things I've learned about owning a Frenchie, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way. Read more about Marc Aaron.

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