Why Has My French Bulldog Got Lumps Under Its Fur?


“French Bulldogs often have very sweet and loving personalities and make great companions,” says Stacey Wylie, DVM, DACVIM, a member of the internal medicine team at NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville, New Jersey. No arguments about it, Frenchies are the cutest things to ever walk this earth. Renowned for their easy-going nature, keen intelligence and giant, bat-like ears, French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Being characterized by numerous folds on the face and body, the French bulldog is naturally prone to skin issues, such as the formation of dermatitis of the facial folds, inter digital dermatitis and dermatitis in the armpits, generating significant itching and redness and stimulating scratching, biting or rubbing, thus further worsening the situation. 

Allergies are not necessarily influenced by a dog’s gender, size, breed or age – but some breeds are certainly more susceptible to both food and environmental allergies. Owning a Frenchie or French bulldog means you must be especially aware of your dog’s skin. So here we discuss your Frenchie’s skin related conditions and their best possible solution.

Why does my French bulldog have lumps or hives under their fur?

One of the risks of parenting a French bulldog is an allergic reaction. Amongst all the other allergic skin conditions your frenchie can have, hives are probably one of the most common. Your frenchie doesn’t even have to eat anything, sometimes little things such as bee stings, dust mites, animal dander, airborne pollen, mold spores, contact with poisonous plant or bush, or even vaccinations can be the cause of hives or lumps. 

Hives on dogs, scientifically known as urticaria, are similar to those on human. It is a sudden allergic reaction and outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin that appear suddenly either as a result of the body’s reaction to certain allergens, or for unknown reasons.

As mentioned earlier, hives are a type of allergic reaction. That means different types of allergens are the causative agents.

Firstly we talk about the food allergen; single ingredient present in your pup’s food can cause hives. If you want to find out the exact cause of food allergies that are causing the hives, you can switch dog food brands or going home-cooked for a while. Other reason of hives can be allergic reactions to vaccines. If your pup is developing these bumps after a vaccination, then it’s best to speak to your vet.[1]

How your beloved companion reacts to hives depends on the nature of the pet and the severity of the condition. Some dogs leave the bumps alone, which is a good thing. If it’s something as random as an insect bite, then the possibility of the condition recurring is low. 

How can the lumps or hives be treated?

In order to determine if your Frenchie is allergic to a specific food, the simplest way to figure it out is by doing by an elimination diet. Remove any potential food allergens from your dog diet for 7-10 days and see if the symptoms subside. If they do, slowly add items back into their diet until you find the culprit. Your vet often recommends special grain-free diets or home-cooked meals to remove potential food allergens. [2]

If that protocol doesn’t work, and symptoms are growing, your frenchie may require a detail examination that includes blood and urine tests. This will confirm the presence of any disease, if a disease is not present, than the vet will likely designate prescription food, probiotics, and medication if necessary. 

In order to treat environmental allergies, the vet will usually prescribe the drugs to prevent your Frenchie from scratching. Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, the strength of the medication will be determined by your dog’s vet. Unlike with food allergies, environmental allergies can’t be completely avoided and reduced. That’s why it is important to have a proper approach to treating your dog’s allergies by providing him with right medication, a clean environment, additional grooming and allergy shots, if needed.

In addition, topical ointments prescribed, or over-the-counter, will help heal the scabs or open wounds on your dog’s skin and reduce their irritation [3]. These can be a bit tricky if your dog loves to lick, so make sure you apply the treatments at a time when your Frenchie is sleepy or you can distract them for 15-20 minutes. Using ice or a cold towel to soothe your dog’s skin can also help them to feel better and limit excessive scratching.

How Can I Prevent Hives In My Frenchie?

“The best way to prevent a recurrence of hives in your pet is to avoid exposing your dog to the allergen that caused the reaction.” Szacki says. [4]

If you have identified what your pet has reacted to in the past, particularly for a reaction to a vaccination, you can also pre-treat for the condition. With a reaction to a vaccination, your vet may recommend a shot of antihistamines before the vaccination next time

Fortunately, most cases of hives in dogs are just allergic reactions, so there’s no need to panic if your canine does have a breakout. Just be sure to see a veterinarian and follow their advice for appropriate care. 

What are French Bulldogs Most Allergic To?

Food allergies are the most common ones in canines. When your Frenchie is allergic to some kind of food, usually these signs are exhibited: excessive gas release, diarrhea, vomiting, itchy skin, painful hives and infections.

Most of food allergens are present in meat or dairy products, so if your dog has some of these included in his diet, chances are you will have to change the food he eats.

1.) Beef – 34%7.) Corn – 4%
2.) Dairy Products – 17%8.) Egg – 4%
3.) Chicken – 15%9.) Pork – 2%
4.) Wheat – 13%10.) Fish – 2%
5.) Soy – 6%11.) Rice – 2% 
6.) Lamb – 5%

A third of all dog food allergies are caused by beef. Only after it, come the dairy product and chicken. Check if the food you feed your French bulldog with contains some of these top 10 food allergens. [5]  If that’s the case, you should consult your vet and explore the right diet options for your dog.

Environmental allergies are the second most common type of allergies. Environmental allergies have similar symptoms like food allergies, but they are caused by other allergens. The most common environmental allergens are: dust mites, airborne pollen, mold spores, and animal or human dander.

Atopic dermatitis can be the ultimate stage of skin rashes caused by allergies. Commonly, atopic dermatitis is caused by fleabites. That’s why it’s very important to protect your dog from fleas.

What are common skin problems for French bulldogs?

The most common skin problems for French Bulldogs are food and environmental allergies and fleas. If your French bulldog has skin allergies, it’s common for secondary bacterial infections and yeast infections to form.

Less common skin problems include autoimmune skin disease, keratinization abnormalities, ringworm, sarcoptic mange mites, Demodex red mites, and skin cancer.

Can French bulldogs suffer from yeast infections?

Your French bulldog’s wrinkles give him a unique look and character unlike most other dogs. Unfortunately, these delightful wrinkles also might harbor yucky yeast that can cause painful skin irritations. Yeast Infection in French Bulldogs is common to their skin, ears and skin folds (facial, nasal, tail, toes, and vaginal folds).

Bulldogs are prone to yeast infections of the skin because of their wrinkles and secondly the breed also is predisposed to immune deficiency issues that open them up to infections of yeast. Usually this harmless yeast is regularly present on the surface of your Frenchie’s skin, but if his immune system isn’t working correctly, it can become invasive and cause yeast infection. It is most commonly known as “YEASTY BULLY” .

Yeast Infection is typically manifested by itching & scratching, skin color change usually darker (hyperpigmentation), crust, scales, dry skin or greasy skin , skin thickening (elephant skin) and moldy musty odor (yeasty smell). Mostly yeast organism colonizes at skin, toes and ears of your puppy. Yeast Infection in bulldogs and French bulldogs is boosted by excessive production of lipids. [6]

If you suspect that your puppy is suffering from yeast infection than visit your veterinarian.

Your vet can take a skin scraping to determine whether yeast is to blame or not. He or she will likely give you some oral anti-fungal medication or shampoos and creams to apply to his skin to get rid of the yeast and soothe any inflammation. [7]

Why is my Frenchie losing hair in patches?

There is a saying that a dog’s coat presents the mirror of his/her health and I must say it’s true. The dog’s hair tells a lot about your dog’s menu and the care he/she get. The Frenchie just like every other dog breed looks beautiful with his hair. Generally, regardless of whether its hair is long or short, silky or wiry, curly or thick, the hair is one of the best features of any fur baby. So, why would your beloved companion suddenly begin to lose his hair?  

Hair loss is part of the normal body process for Frenchies, which may be happening seasonally, with that they are able to grow a new set of hair for another season. But if the hair loss becomes excessive, it may be due to a disease or a particular health condition. There are several factors like allergy, inappropriate nutrition, dermatitis, genetics, mange, dandruff and hormonal imbalance.

Brittleness and hair loss are some of the indications that your Frenchie hair is not in good health, if you notice this, hurry to the nearest vet to avoid any further damage. [8]