French Bulldog Ear Problems

French Bulldogs have the cutest ears. Unfortunately, they’re prone to all sorts of issues related to those gorgeous ears. In this article, we unpack the most common issues French Bulldog owners encounter, along with likely causes and treatments.

Ear Shape

Before we get started, it’s important to note that French Bulldogs can have two distinct ear shapes: bat-eared, or rose. Initially, the breed had rose-shaped ears – these are folded in, similar to that of the English Bulldogs. The Americans, however, decided that this isn’t distinctive enough, so they opted for the bat-eared shape. Note that bat ears are known by the shape of their ears and their proportion to the head. If you’re living in America, your rose-eared Frenchie will be disqualified when entering a competition hosted by the American Kennel Club.

Infections

Dogs scratch. It’s a fact. They scratch themselves, the floor, their beds, heck, anything within reach. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about – your pooch probably just has an itch to take care of. However, if your Frenchie is having a regular go at his ears, you might want to take a closer look. These poor pooches are prone to all kinds of ear infections, and it’s not fun. Picking up on it in the early stages will definitely help in the recovery process.

Ear infections can be pretty severe for our beloved Frenchies, leading to deafness in severe cases. Ouchies. If you suspect anything amiss, consult your vet. These guys know what they’re doing, and they’ll help you get your pooch back to health in two ticks.

As a precautionary measure, it’s a good idea to clean your pup’s ears regularly – and reading this article will tell you what you should use. This will remove all sorts of bugs and nasties, preventing infections. An added benefit is bonding time with your pooch, and, since you inspect those ears regularly, you’ll be quick to notice anything amiss.

If your Frenchie has an ear infection, you can usually spot some blood-filled blisters (hematoma) in their ears. These painful blisters are caused by severe head shaking and excessive scratching, forming in spots where blood vessels burst in the ear. Foreign objects stuck in your pup’s ear could also be to blame. Added to this, they might have some painful, swollen, discolored areas in their ears, which they probably won’t let you touch. Can’t blame them. As if that’s not enough, they can develop a fever too, and have some yellowy-brown discharge coming from their ears. Poor babies.

Depending on the severity, your Winston’s ear infection could sort itself out, or you might need some serious surgical intervention. In more severe cases, the vet will probably drain the blood from the hematoma to prevent scarring and ear deformity, before opting for surgery.

Bugs

Speaking of ticks, Frenchies get them too. These poor pups tend to get them in the ears, though, since those cute, perky ears are the ideal hiding place for ticks, fleas, mites, and other nasties. Oh, man.

Some dogs are allergic to fleas and mites, too. That sucks and could lead to allergic dermatitis, where your pup is allergic to the flea’s saliva. Yikes. Don’t worry, though. Fleas are a common ailment for dogs and cats alike, regardless of how clean your home is. It’s also easy to treat. Chat to your vet about flea collars or spot treatment, and give Fido’s bedding a good scrub. That way, you remove the fleas and their eggs.

Mites are a slightly different ball game. These parasites make a home in Luna’s ear, on the ear canal’s lining. For food, they dig into this tender skin or feed off the oils and ear wax in the ear canal. Gross. Ear mites usually affect puppies and young dogs, although they can strike at any age. 

But, as with fleas, they’re usually easy to treat. Talk to your vet for the best solution – these include ear cleaning, medication, and insecticidal ear drops. Bear in mind that ear mites are extremely contagious, quickly jumping from dog to dog, and even to other types of animals. So, catching them early is essential; otherwise, you have a full-on war on your hands. You should also treat the other pets in your home (cats included) since they’re so contagious. 

If you have a severe infestation on hand, your Luna’s ears could become entirely blocked by the debris that the mites generate. This stuff looks a lot like coffee grounds, and it builds up in the ear over time.

Your pup will get super irritated with these unwelcome guests in her ear, shaking her head vigorously and scratching away at those cute ears as one possessed. This, along with potential infections in the ear, could cause ear hematomas (we mentioned this before – it’s when the blood vessels in the ears burst, causing pain and inflammation).

Unfortunately, some Frenchies are super sensitive to ear mites, though, which complicates matters. If your pup suffers from immune hypersensitivity reactions, he’s in for a wild ride with those ear mites. When the ear mites pierce the skin in your pup’s ear, it could cause bacterial infections. If you don’t spot and treat the irritation in time, your puppy could become deaf.

Ear mite-related infections show the same symptoms as general ear infections: excessive scratching, head shaking, restlessness, reddish swelling on the inside of the ears, discolored discharge, and a bad smell.

For once, our Frenchies have the upper hand on their floppy-eared cousins, though. The Frenchie’s rose or bat ears allow for plenty of ventilation, so they’re less prone to ear mite infestations than floppy-eared Spaniels. 

Allergies

Your poor Frankie might be prone to allergies. These poor pups can be allergic to just about anything – material, food, fleas, grass, pollen – the list goes on. Luckily, most of these are easily remedied: Just remove the offending thing from their environment. So, if you see your pup scratching away like a mad person, have the vet check him out. If you find that the culprit is allergies, use the process of elimination to find the offending item or situation.

In Frenchies, allergies generally show up around the ears of bellies, so scratching in that area is usually a helpful hint.

Hair Loss

Frenchies sometimes lose hair around their eyes and ears. This weird phenomenon could be the result of mange. Here, as with some other ear-related issues, mites are the culprit – specifically, the Demodex mite species. These little critters burrow into the hair follicle, usually in localized areas, causing the hair to fall out. 

If you notice that Bella is developing bald spots around her eyes and ears, get her to the vet for a check-up. Treating these things quickly prevents further complications and irritations for your pup.

Hair loss can also be a result of hormonal imbalances, just like in humans. There’s a whole host of hormones that can influence hair growth, or hair loss, in French Bulldogs, including estrogen, melatonin, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisol, and thyroxin. So, if mites aren’t to blame, you might want to ask your vet to check Bella’s hormone levels. Poor pup.

Dog Bites

This one is obvious but deserves mention. If your pup got into an altercation with another dog (or any other animal), he might have sustained some injuries. Since animals have all kinds of stuff lurking in their saliva, these bites could get infected, causing some severe complications. If your pup suffered any of this type of injury, have him checked out by the vet to prevent any further issues.

Cold Ears

Any Frenchie mom will tell you that their furbabies get cold super quickly. Unlike other dog breeds, Frenchies can’t regulate their body temperature effectively. This is in part due to their short coats and brachycephalic skulls. So, Frenchies can’t sleep outside, it’s way too cold for them, especially in colder regions.

The first signal indicating that Luna is too cold is when her ears are cold. That’s when you know to put her in pajamas or give her an extra blanket. Giving your Frenchie some PJ’s has the added benefits of keeping her clean and keeping those hard-to-clean dog hairs from your furniture and carpets. Bear in mind that Frenchies are prone to skin allergies, so stick to cotton pajamas if you can.

In Closing

Frenchies have the cutest ears, regardless of whether they’re rose-shaped or bat-eared. These poor pups can suffer from a host of ailments related to their ears, though. So, if you see your puppy shaking his head excessively, or scratching his ears like mad, take a closer look to see what’s up. We hope this article sheds some light on the issues you’re likely to experience with your beloved fur kid’s ears.