Things You Should Know to Keep Your Frenchie Safe
1. Out of the deaths in cargo holds the airlines reported over the last 5 years, almost half were Brachycephalic, or smush-faced, breeds. Most airlines won't carry dogs when temps are high. If you are traveling and you must take your Frenchie, make sure your frog rides in cabin with you. Read about it here.
2. People may doubt this is true, but don't give your dog grapes or raisins. Dogs can have a reaction to as few as 7 or 8 grapes that will cause kidney damage and, possibly, death. If you have kids, be sure to tell them not to share, and don't leave grapes out. Onions can also be deadly to your dog.
3. Macadamia nuts are a little-known addition to the 'do not feed' list.
4. Though by now most people are aware that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be deadly to your dogs, you should also know that the mulch made from cocoa should probably be avoided. Though the risk depends on the brand you buy and the size of the dog and whether the dog is likely to eat mulch, there are so many other kinds of mulch that it seems not worth the risk.
5. If you live in the southernmost areas of the US, you have particular dangers to be aware of. The bufo toad is one of them. The bufo toad, or cane toad, was yet another brilliant idea gone wrong in the annals of foreign animal introduction. Used to control bugs in sugar cane fields, the bufo toad quickly moved off the fields and into the suburbs. Some of our volunteers have had dogs that enjoy catching toads and they must be vigilant about not allowing their dogs to catch bufo toads, which can poison and kill or harm their dogs very quickly. See this link for more information on how to give first aid to a dog who catches a bufo toad. People who live in more northern states have ordinary toads who may also give off a substance that causes foaming at the dog's mouth, but won't harm them. One of our volunteers has to regularly remove toads from her dog, because their unpleasant taste does not deter the dog from catching them.
6. The sago plant is also deadly to dogs, and is a commonly used landscaping plant, particularly in the south. Are you thinking of landscaping? The ASPCA is compiling a list of toxic plants. The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435. There is a charge to call.
7. Tea tree oil, though touted for its anti-bacterial, flea-fighting and healing qualities, may cause neurological damage to your Frenchie and might well kill your cat. One of volunteers used undiluted tea-tree oil on her Frenchie and almost lost him. Though we applaud the use of many herbal treatments, and the danger of tea-tree oil diminishes if the oil is diluted, our advice is to use something else.
8. Your toothpaste could kill your dog. Pretty silly lead-in, but it's true. Many dogs love mint, and some of our dogs will go to great lengths to get to the toothpaste tube or into our handbags or pockets or even up on the counters to get at the source of that great minty smell! Unfortunately, many mints, chewing gums and toothpastes contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, and eatingxylitol can be deadly for dogs. We recommend extreme vigilance with products that contain xylitol. Consider going for a sugared vs. sugar-free version of mints, chewing gum and other candies. And never use a people toothpaste to brush your dog's teeth!
9. You can buy a seat belt for your dog. So many of us just load our dogs into the car without giving them any restraint or harness at all. It's nice to have them on the front seat beside us. But we know better, and in a crash a dog can become a missile and cause injury, or he can escape from the car and be lost. There are a great range of car seats, restraints and screens for your car. Remember that if a baby can get injured or killed by an airbag, your Frenchie could, too. (Other things to have in the car: cool coat, water, ice and working cell phone in case your engine overheats or your a/c up and quits.)
10. If you haven't seen one before, a Frenchie in a lifevest looks pretty silly. But most bulldogs are bricks when they hit the water. If you are going to the river, lake, or ocean, please put your dog in a lifevest. Even if you are going to the backyard to hang out by the pool. Put a vest on your dog. It only takes a minute for you to go in to the house for a beverage and take a phone call, and your Frenchie could be lost. Every summer we hear of at least two of our adopted dogs who've drowned. It breaks our hearts.
11. Raw Salmon. Even if you are a pretty well educated raw food feeder, you may not have heard of this. The problem is a critter that rides along on a parasite that the salmon picks up from a freshwater snail. If you live in the Pacific Northwest and come across salmon innards a lucky fisherman left behind, or you want to offer a bit of raw salmon to your dog on a fishing trip, don't do it. Cooked salmon is fine. Another reason not to let your dog roam offlead.
12. Mushrooms. Maybe not strange, but it's true that the same Death Cap mushroom that can kill you can kill your dog. Recently, most deaths from Death Cap mushrooms have been in northern California and Oregon. There are other mushrooms that will just make your Frenchie sick, but if you are out walking where there are likely to be toadstools or mushrooms, keep your dog on a leash. If he eats something before you can stop him, at least you can take one home with you to show your vet.
13. Dental floss. I had a dog who needed surgery because she got a box of mint-flavored dental floss and ate the the whole wheel of floss except for the several feet that were hanging out of her mouth. Floss can cut through your dog's intestines and dump all the contents of their intestines into the abdominal cavity. Dispose of your dental floss carefully'now I flush mine'and maybe choose a floss that is not flavored.
14. Dog doors. The AKC reports that dog thefts are on the rise. Dog doors may be one way thieves are finding it easy to get at dogs. Even people with high brick walls you wouldn't think thieves could see over are coming home to find one or more of their Frenchies are gone. Dog doors can be a great convenience in terms of housetraining, but at least judging by the stolen dog reports we've gotten, if you live in California or Texas, beware. Dog thieves are looking to take your dog.
Sure, you may never run into a cane toad, and maybe you wouldn't know a sago plant if you fell over one, but we wanted you to know about this stuff. Until someone told us or we found out the hard way, we didn't know, either.
Dogs get loose. They just do. Whether it prances out through an unsecured gate, or it slips out between your feet, or the wind blows an unlatched door open and he follows his nose into the breeze--dogs get loose. You are fortunate indeed if you've never had to go looking for your dog, your heart in your throat, hoping to find him.
Dogs get stolen. French bulldogs are being stolen more and more often, particularly in cities. They are not held for ransom, but are either kept or sold on Craigslist or otherwise disposed of for money.
Once you buy the chip, have it inserted by your vet and then don't forget to register the chip number. Many shelters find strays with chips that have never been registered.
Having a chip on your dog can mean getting your dog back if it's stolen or lost. That alone is worth the cost and small amount of trouble to register your dog with the company.
Food Allergies and Ear Infections
Does your dog lick her paws? Do his ears or paws smell yeasty—a little like Fritos corn chips? Does he scratch himself, shake or cock his head, or rub his bottom on the floor? If so, your hairy pal may be suffering from allergies and the skin irritation and infections that can come with them.
One of the most common culprits is allergies to food, often to the proteins in grains, but many dogs are also sensitive or allergic to familiar protein sources and their by-products, like chicken, beef, and turkey. Another allergen found in dried food sounds especially nasty and is virtually everywhere that dried food—breakfast cereal, pasta, flour—is stored: “storage mites.” These microscopic animals love kibble, but they cause many dogs to suffer severe and/or chronic allergic reactions.
So many of the dogs we get into rescue have had multiple untreated ear infections that come out of allergies to food as well as other things, and the results can be shocking to see. Take Brenda. Though we probably get a half dozen dogs a year who need to have total ear canal ablation (TECA), whether on one side or both, the cause is always frequent, untreated ear infections. In Brenda’s case, her chronic, untreated ear infections caused terrible scarring which blocked in the infections, leaving no way for the infected material to exit the ear canal. Can you imagine the pain? And someone had viciously mangled the job of cutting off her beautiful Frenchie ears, God alone knows why, and the outer ears were also infected when she came to us. By the time the surgeries were done, Brenda’s inner ears had been removed, and her outer ears were also gone, leaving her deaf and looking bizarrely mutilated. Though she has lost her hearing and her pretty ears, she is pain free for the first time in a long while.
Though Brenda’s case is a horrific example of owner cruelty and neglect, and most owners are far more observant and responsive, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s ears and do occasional cleanings to check for things like ear mites and yeast. Your dog may suffer seasonal reactions unrelated to food, so at least once a month, you should be taking a look and cleaning the ears.
If your dog does suffer from repeated infections or yeast, you may want to ask the vet to talk to you about an elimination diet. Some of our foster dogs are allergic to virtually all the meat and meat products found even in expensive kibbles, so we must look to proteins like goat. Some dogs can’t tolerate carbohydrates or sugars—even in vegetables—and you can help control yeast infections by controlling the amount and type of carbohydrate in their diets.
Ask your vet how often you should be cleaning your dog’s ears and ask her to show you how to do it with the product she recommends. If you decide to try feeding your dog home-cooked or raw meals, be sure to research the nutritional needs of your dog, according to weight and activity level. If you feed kibble, one way to control storage mites is to buy smaller quantities and keep the bag in the freezer.
Repeated ear infections are a sign that your dog is trying to deal with some kind of sensitivity and there is a problem with her immune response. Something is wrong.