Eye Health and Frenchies
Our Frenchies’ eyes are frequently called “bumpers” because they are protuberant on the sides and front and there is not much snout to protect them. A dash into a rose bush, a hostile meeting with a cat—well, you can imagine the many ways a Frenchie could injure an eye! If your dog’s eye is red, if he’s scratching it, if he’s squinting, if it is teary or there are any spots on the surface of the eye—get to the vet without delay.
Frenchies get eye ulcers very frequently—ask the owner of an elderly Frenchie if their dog has had one, and he’s likely to say, “Oh, yes!” Eye ulcers are generally caused by an injury to the eye or even by dry eye. You will not likely be able to see the injury, but your dog’s eye may be watering or your dog might be squinting or rubbing his eye. Have you ever scratched your cornea? Then you know how much it hurts! Untreated eye ulcers can lead to infection, blindness, and, in the worst cases, your dog can even lose his eye.
Zydeco lost an eye
Nanna has dry eye
Lana has pigmentary keratitis.
We’ve had many, many foster dogs who’ve come to us with untreated eye ulcers. Some have had to lose their eyes, some are blind or vision-impaired. There are various degrees of ulcers, ranging from relatively mild to very serious, as you can imagine. If your dog is squinting or rubbing her eye, don’t wait—get to the vet. This injury will require the hard-plastic cone of shame for at least a few days. Stock up on treats.
Another very common problem for Frenchies is dry eye, and as mentioned above, dry eye is one of the causes of corneal ulcers in Frenchies. Dry eye means tears aren’t being produced properly, whether from injury, age, or some other cause. You may know your dog is having trouble in a few different ways, but sometimes there will be a thick or gooey discharge instead of proper tears. Or your dog’s eye might look cloudy or not have the usual bright appearance. The fix for dry eye is easy, but you must be diligent with giving eye drops or applying the ointment your vet will prescribe. Over the counter eye drops or saline are not going to work, unfortunately.
Cherry eye is the condition that looks most dire but may be least dangerous in fact. You’ll notice a cherry-red bulge in the corner of your dog’s eye. It’s caused by the prolapse of the third membrane of the eye. Sometimes you can press the bulge gently back into place, but it will almost certainly reappear at some point, and you should make a vet appointment to discuss your dog’s specific situation.
Pigmentary keratitis can be hard to see, but it often means that some constant or chronic irritation to the surface of the eye has caused discoloration or scar tissue deposits on the eye. Our available dog Lana currently suffers from this condition, and she is visually impaired as a consequence. There are many reasons for that constant scarring, including dry eye, including a condition called entropion, where a number of eyelashes form on the inside of the eyelid. There’s a surgery to take care of serious cases, or vets can pluck the lashes every few weeks. There are a number of other constant irritants to the eye, so if you see a brownish spot or patch on the surface of your dog’s eye or spreading over the conjunctiva or white part, mention it to your vet.
Owning a Frenchie means constant vigilance! Between palate and tail, a lot can go wrong, and many Frenchie owners joke about sending our vet's kids to college--or at least a study-abroad semester--while ruefully offering up our credit cards at the counter. Understanding that your Frenchie will likely require more medical attention, and in the long run will very likely be more expensive than another breed, may help you decide whether a Frenchie is for you.
Dogs and Sunburn
Every summer we post a homepage article about the particular dangers summer poses to Frenchies. About the hazards of heat for Frenchies: Don't leave your dog in the car in summer, even for a few minutes. Leave your dog at home when you run errands--what if your a/c quits? What if you run inside for just a minute and while in there, you a. have a stroke; b. get shot by an armed robber; c. slip on a puddle and crack your head and wake up with amnesia? Don't do it. Don't walk your frog in the heat of the day. Don't let your dog (or kids) swim in an algae-filled pond or lake. We've covered all that stuff, plus what to do if your dog DOES get over-heated, God forbid.
Here's a new one on us, though. Dogs can get sunburned. Especially dogs like Frenchies.
White ones are particularly prone to sunburn, and just as it can for people, repeated sunburn can set your frog up for skin cancer.
If you have a black or brindle Frenchie who likes to sunbathe on his back with his belly up, beware. That tender skin is really prone to burning, and a burn on a dog is no less painful than the burn you get. If your dog has had or has a skin condition--lots of our rescued Frenchies have had mange, for instance, and then the secondary skin infection that follows--your dog is more likely to have sensitive skin. Dogs with an autoimmune disease or condition must take special care to avoid sunburn
What to do, what to do? If your dog is lolling about in the sun for more than 20 or so minutes at a time (really, that's not a good idea, but we know it's hard to interrupt what is obviously giving them pleasure!), be sure to put some SPF waterproof sunscreen 30 or a zincy sunblock on their ears, what passes for their nose, and their tummies. Don't let them sunbathe from 10-2 at all. If they have thin hair from past skin problems, seasonal allergies, or thyroid issues, put some where the hair is thin. If their tails are bald, as some Frenchies' tail nubbins are, give their tails a squirt and massage that stuff on. If you are suspicious about the chemicals in sunblock, get a toddler's shirt--polo shirts are great for Frenchies' big ol' heads and thick necks--and stuff them in the shirt before they go out. Pay no attention to the dirty looks.
Finally, keep an eye on your dogs. They may not seem to be getting overheated and they may not seem to be uncomfortable, but think back to your sunbathing days--you didn't feel the burn while it was happening, did you? Neither do they, and even if they did feel it, as one of our Frenchie-loving friends said when we doubtfully asked, "Well, but wouldn't they just come out of the sun if they got too hot?" "No," she said, "God love them, they don't have the brains God gave grass." Neither did we, if our baby-oil frying habits of old are any indication, but that's neither here nor there.
With luck, your dog will not get sunburned this summer, but if he does get a burn, move him to a cooler area and put room temperature or just slightly cooler water or a cool compress on the burned area (hose water is probably too cold). If the burn is severe, get the dog to the vet. Your dog might need cortisone or antibiotics. Needless to say, if your dog overheats, don't waste time with home remedies, just wrap him in a cool, wet towel and go to the ER vet!
For more information about sunburning and pets, you can check out this article. Some of the information here comes from that article.
Veterinary Costs Are Our #1 Expense
Thanks to Trevor Wood of the Nova Scotia Community College for putting this infographic together for us!
Like balloons, like yeasty dough, like young people's spirits in springtime, vet costs rise and rise. The better the technology and services available, the more clients pay, and that's a good thing! It's wonderful that we have MRI's available nearly everywhere nowadays--we remember not so long ago when MRI's were only for people, and animals had to be sneaked in after hours if at all.
Take a look at these numbers for routine procedures. If you live in New York or Los Angeles, you will laugh ruefully at the idea of a neuter costing only $350, but in much of the country, especially the Midwest, that is the going rate. For some people, the cost of a spinal surgery is way out of reach no matter where they live.
We are so grateful to our monthly donors and sponsors who help us pay the bills and make it possible to take in truly needy rescues who don't have anywhere to go. Thank you for your steadfast dedication to our Frenchies. We could not do it without our sponsors, donors, and friends.
If you are thinking of adopting a dog from us, be sure your expectations are in line with reality.
Many rescue dogs come with baggage, whether emotional or physical, and before you think about applying for a rescue dog, think about what you can manage. Rescue dogs aren't for everyone, and they are certainly not a way to get an inexpensive Frenchie. Many adopters find they will spend as much on a rescue dog in vet bills as they would had they bought a Frenchie from a reputable breeder.
The biographies of our dogs are extensive, so you should have a good idea of whether the dog is good with kids or other dogs, whether the dog is house trained and crate-trained, and any ongoing medical concerns he may have.
Once you apply, you should be prepared for a call from the foster parent, and you should know we'll be calling your vet to make sure your animals are well cared-for. If the calls are positive and your family seems a good fit for the dog, we'll move on to a home visit. It's important you know that this is a required step. A volunteer will come to your home and make sure the fence (if there is one) is in good shape, make sure everyone in the family is on board with the idea of a new dog, make sure the house doesn't have any dangerous plants or wide-set railings a dog could fall through, and go over your questions with you.
Once the home visit is completed, the application and home visit are forwarded to the Board of Directors, who will look over the documents and vote whether to approve the adoption.
When your adoption is approved, pick up can be arranged. You'll be asked to sign a contract that assures FBRN that in the event you can no longer take care of the dog, you will return the dog to our care.
When you arrive to pick up the dog, it's a great idea to have a tag with your information on it ready to go. Many dogs are lost during transports, and having your current information on the dog will be key to getting the dog back. There will likely be toys or some personal items coming home with you from the foster family residence.
Try to take a few days to settle in with your dog. If you have a dog, for the first day or two allow the Frenchie to hang out with you in a room separate from other dogs. Be calm and let her come to you. If she wants to stay in her crate, let her. You can stop by with treats from time to time. Let her get used to the new sounds and smells and the rhythm of the house. Your dog's foster parent will describe slow introductions to resident dogs to you.
Start familiarizing your Frenchie with her new schedule as soon as you can. You should absolutely expect the stress of changing homes may cause your dog to lose her housebreaking for a time, and you may have to go back to square one, crating when you aren't paying attention, taking her outside immediately, giving exuberant praise for pottying outdoors, etc. Being realistic about the fact that most dogs are not plug and play will prevent stress and disappointment.
If you have children, it's key that all interactions between dogs and kids must be supervised, for everyone's safety. Children aren't born knowing how to be with dogs, and even if you already have a dog or two, not every dog is the same. While one dog will allow a child to poke him in the eye and pull his lips and ride on his back, others will object. If you can't be in the room with your child and the dog, the dog should be in a room by himself or safely in his crate with a toy. Children are especially liable in the first days following adoption to be excitable and to want to carry the dog or show them affection. Difficult as it is to ask your kids to restrain themselves, your dog will be happier if you can ask children to remember to be calm and gentle.
Wait a few days to introduce your new dog to your friends. Let him get to know and trust you first, then widen his circle of familiar and trusted people.
Sign up for pet insurance.
Dog-thefts are on the rise all over the country. It's not safe to leave your dog outside in the yard unattended. Dog-doors are not safe, either. Many areas are experiencing a rise in coyote and cougar sightings, and we recently heard of a California family who lost two Frenchies to cougars on two different occasions. Walk your dog on a lead or exercise him in the yard in your company.
Be aware that dogs take time to reveal themselves. For the first 3-6 weeks, dogs are learning who's the boss, where the treats are, what the routine is, who is a good belly-rubber, and who to avoid. Their true personalities may be evident right from the start, but it's likely that your new dog will be holding back until he is confident of his place and the routine.
Remember, you are adopting a rescue dog to give a homeless Frenchie a second chance. Adoption is something you do to make both your lives better. Keep in mind that your Frenchie wants to fulfill his purpose to be a loving companion dog, but his first instinct in the first few days will be to survive and be sure the new place is safe for him and that you are trustworthy. By the time you take your dog home, FBRN will have been convinced you are a trustworthy family, but your dog has to learn that too.
A Proud Moment for FBRN
Volunteer. Donate. Review.
We're proud to say that Guidestar, an organization that provides information about non-profits and charities to prospective donors, has recognized FBRN as one of 157 top-rated non-profits for 2014. Top-rated organizations are well-reviewed by donors, beneficiaries, and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who took a moment to comment on their experience with FBRN. We're delighted to have received this distinction.
When she came to us, Lana appeared to have been rode hard and put away wet. Since then, she's had some time to get accustomed to life in a house, and though she's never likely to enjoy the company of dogs, she can't get enough of people, be they postman or pinup. She is ready to be discovered by passersby in any venue you choose--pavement cafe, drugstore, Park Avenue. She's not choosy. But she's hoping someone will choose her. This girl is ready for a retirement from puppy-making, and she is looking for a future rich in tummy rubs and tickled ears. Check out the bio on this classic Frenchie blonde, and see if you might be meant for each other.
The Rubit (roo'-bit') Dog Tag Clip is a simple, stylish, and secure clip that let's you swiftly transition tags to different collars. When you want to change collars, you just unclip the Rubit from your old collar and clip it to the new one. It's that easy!
Check them out HERE!
FBRN's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home French Bulldogs in need from commercial breeding kennels, import brokers, public shelters, private rescue groups, owners or Good Samaritans. Our organization is comprised solely of volunteers who nurture and foster these dogs as well as provide education and training. Our goal is to place healthy and happy French Bulldogs into forever homes.