Pregnancy in French Bulldogs is often complicated. Careful and thorough preparation is necessary to ensure the mother’s and her puppies’ safety. Read on to arm yourself with proper knowledge about French Bulldog pregnancy.
1. Artificial insemination is better for French Bulldogs than natural mating.
The anatomy of French Bulldogs makes natural breeding difficult to carry out. Males will have a hard time mounting females due to their compact bodies and short legs.
The strain of attempting to mate may make them exhausted and overheated. In some cases, some French Bulldogs end up vomiting due to excessive exertion.
Hence, many French Bulldog owners turn to artificial insemination for less stress and better chances of successful breeding. The success rate of artificial insemination in the breed may vary.
If it involves using fresh semen, the success rate is around 59%–80%. Frozen semen has a lower success rate, which is around 52%–60%.
The cost of artificial insemination in French Bulldogs depends on the vet clinic. It may range from £50 to over £100.
2. Age is crucial for a safe French Bulldog pregnancy.
Female French Bulldogs begin their oestrus cycle at around 5 months old. This means they are in heat and can conceive puppies.
However, it is not recommended for French Bulldog pregnancy to occur around this age. Frenchies have not reached full maturity yet, which can cause difficulties when giving birth.
Thus, it is necessary to wait until they are full-grown. Ideally, female French Bulldogs should at least be around 2 years old for breeding.
3. French Bulldog pregnancy lasts the same as all dog breeds.
Some of the most asked questions of Frenchie owners are: “How long is a French Bulldog pregnancy?” and “How long is a French Bulldog pregnant?”
Much like any other dog breed, French Bulldogs’ gestation period and pregnancy is between 58–68 days, with 63 days being the typical average pregnancy length.
To give you a clearer picture of French Bulldog pregnancy, we listed down the 4 stages of the breed’s reproductive cycle:
Female French Bulldogs will start to have a bloody discharge from their vulva. It is an indicator that she will begin attracting male dogs. This may last around 9 days.
Also known as the mating stage, females are now fertile and receptive to male dogs. It typically lasts for about 9 days. Around this stage, artificial insemination can be carried out.
It would be best to let the vet take blood tests and vaginal smears during the proestrus and oestrus stages. They will help pinpoint when is the best time to breed French Bulldogs.
Pregnancy occurs around this stage. As mentioned earlier, the French Bulldog pregnancy duration lasts for about 58–68 days (8–9 weeks).
It is also called the resting stage. After the French Bulldog pregnancy, recovery begins. Thus, females will have sexual dormancy around this time.
3. Fewer puppies mean safer pregnancy in French Bulldogs.
How many puppies do French Bulldogs have? French Bulldogs have compact bodies that restrict them from conceiving large litter. On average, they can have around 3 puppies each litter. Litter sizes often range around 2–4 puppies.
Having around 5–7 puppies is rare in French Bulldogs. If this does happen, there will be fewer chances of all puppies surviving during or after birth. It also puts the mother’s life at risk of pregnancy complications.
4. Signs of pregnancy in French Bulldogs begin to appear during the 1st trimester.
When do French Bulldogs start showing pregnancy? French Bulldog pregnancy signs appear as early as the 1st or 2nd week of conception. Morning sickness, weight gain, lack of appetite, lethargy, and increased sleeping time are some of the early signs of pregnancy in French Bulldogs.
Around the 2nd trimester, pregnant French Bulldogs will noticeably have darker and bigger nipples. When the 3rd trimester rolls around, their belly will become larger. It is also common for this area of their body to experience hair loss.
5. There are many ways to confirm if your French Bulldog is pregnant.
Beware that in some cases, French Bulldog phantom pregnancy may occur. This condition is also known as false pregnancy or pseudopregnancy. It is characterised by the manifestation of pregnancy symptoms despite the dogs not being pregnant.
To check if your French Bulldog is indeed pregnant, there are several tests in vet clinics that you can let her take, such as:
This French Bulldog pregnancy test involves feeling the fluid-filled sacs covering the foetuses. This method should be carried out between days 21 and 35 (3–5 weeks) of gestation. Anything later than that will make it impossible to feel the sacs. They would lose their shape and turn soft, making them seem like fats.
If your dog is pregnant, you will feel enlarged uterine horns and foetal heartbeat during palpation.
The vet will check if your French Bulldog’s body is producing the hormone relaxin. This hormone is released from the placental tissue only during pregnancy.
Make sure that this French Bulldog pregnancy test is taken at least 30 days into your dog’s gestation. If it is carried out too early, false-negative results are very likely to happen.
An abdominal X-ray is one of the best ways to determine French Bulldog pregnancy. Your pooch can take this once she is 45 days into her gestation.
An X-ray will show the number of puppies in her womb. Moreover, it also determines how big their skulls are. This will help you decide whether or not natural birth is feasible.
This type of French Bulldog pregnancy examination is the quickest way to find out if your dog has a successful conception. It is recommended to take an ultrasound between days 25 and 35 of gestation.
There are many benefits to getting an ultrasound. It helps distinguish the gestational age of the foetus. It also checks if all foetus is alive by detecting their heartbeats.
The ultrasound is handy in determining the number of puppies to expect too. However, it produces more accurate results on small litters than the large ones. That’s because puppies tend to overlap each other as there are many of them in the litter.
5. Be ready to change your pregnant French Bulldog’s diet and lifestyle.
Pregnancy can be taxing to your Frenchie’s body. Thus, slight adjustments should be made to keep her comfortable, happy, and healthy. Here is a short French Bulldog pregnancy guide on how to care for your expecting Frenchie:
Consider switching to puppy food.
Many breeders recommend feeding high-quality puppy food to pregnant small-breed dogs. It contains more proteins, vitamins, and minerals compared to regular dog food. Thus, your pregnant French Bulldog will acquire better nutrition and more energy from it.
When looking for puppy food, check the ingredients list. Make sure that the first ingredient is high-quality meat that you know.
Do not go for puppy food predominantly made up of by-products as they offer fewer nutrients to your pregnant French Bulldog.
Split her meals into small portions.
French Bulldogs are bound to gain around 20% extra weight due to pregnancy. Thus, pet owners should avoid overfeeding as gaining unhealthy weight can contribute to birthing complications.
Avoid feeding your pregnant French Bulldog 2 large portions of food a day to prevent these dangers. Divide them into small meals, so she does not gorge on them. This will allow more space for her puppies to grow and prevent gas from accumulating in her stomach.
Supervise her interactions with people.
It is common for pregnant French Bulldogs to have mood swings. They may become irritable and aggressive even to their human companions.
Keep a close eye on your dog when she spends time with people, especially children. Make sure they do not rub her belly, which she might become protective of.
It is also crucial to inform your family and guests about your Frenchie’s predicament. This way they will know not to overdo their interactions with her.
Limit changes in her environment.
Maintaining a stable routine and familiar environment will keep your pregnant French Bulldog from getting stressed. Place her whelping box in a quiet area where there is less foot traffic. As much as possible, also avoid introducing new pets as she might become aggressive toward them.
Ensure that the temperature in your home is not excessively cold or warm to avoid the risk of hyperthermia and hypothermia. Always check and make sure the temperature does not go lower or exceed 73°F.
6. Look out for signs of labour in pregnant French Bulldogs.
Your French Bulldog may start to show signs of labour around week 8 or 9 of her pregnancy. Here are some changes in her behaviour that hints she is about to give birth:
- Excessive panting
- Lack of appetite
There will also be a noticeable drop in your Frenchie’s body temperature. Use a rectal thermometer to monitor any changes.
Typically, her normal temperature should be around 100°F. If it goes down to 97°F for 2 consecutive readings, this means she is about to go into labour in the next 24 hours.
7. C-Section is the preferred method for delivering French Bulldog puppies.
Can a French Bulldog deliver puppies naturally? Yes, they can, but this is highly discouraged. One of the biggest French Bulldog pregnancy problems is natural delivery.
The breed has narrow hips, making it nearly impossible for French Bulldog puppies to pass through. Their large heads may accidentally get stuck in the birth canal. It can leave the mother and her offspring in a precarious situation.
For this reason, most Frenchie owners opt for C-section delivery as it has less risk of birth complications. It is estimated that around 80% of French Bulldog puppies are delivered through this method.
However, mind that the cost of C-sections can be hefty. It ranges from around £490 to £1,500. This may lead some pet owners to wonder: “Do all French Bulldogs need C sections?”
A fair few Frenchies do not need to undergo C-section. However, whilst natural birthing cost less than C-sections, it is a more dangerous route to take.
Thus, careful deliberation should be done with the vet before making a decision. They may carry out an X-ray exam to check each of the puppies’ skulls. If they are small enough to pass through the birth canal, natural delivery might be possible.
8. Frenchie pregnancy should only happen a few times.
How many pregnancies can a French Bulldog have? On average, French Bulldogs can have around 4 litters in their lifetime.
Exceeding that number can take a serious toll on their health. They will become more vulnerable to French Bulldog pregnancy problems such as haemorrhaging and blood clotting.
Also, take note that after French Bulldogs give birth, it would take at least 18 months to fully recover. Within this period, breeding must be avoided to keep them in good health.
Once French Bulldogs reach 8 years old, it is a good time to stop breeding them. Their bodies are unable to carry puppies more normally than when they are younger. This increases the risk of miscarriages and loss of the mother’s life during labour.
Pregnancy in French Bulldogs is quite complex. Thus, pet owners need to navigate it with extreme care. By remembering the information we have imparted, you will be able to make the decisions needed to keep your pregnant Frenchie and her offspring safe until delivery.