Why Is My French Bulldog Throwing Up?


The French Bulldog is prone to regurgitation. This breed has a somewhat delicate stomach and its short palate doesn’t help when it comes to chewing and then digesting food properly.

Why is my French Bulldog throwing up? A French Bulldog is often sick because it has eaten something that disagrees with it, so vomiting doesn’t necessarily mean it has a health issue. Bear in mind when a Frenchie throws up it can also be due to a stomach bug or something more serious.

If your Frenchie is older than six months, behaving unusually and not keeping down their food, you should contact your vet.

Dogs don’t vomit that frequently as adults so when they do, it’s understandable to feel concerned. French Bulldogs are known to vomit more than other breeds but that shouldn’t mean you become complacent. How do you do know when to become worried and go to the vets?

When do you know whether it’s safe to leave it for a bit? If you’re anything like me then you worry first and relax later. This article looks into the main reasons why your French Bulldog throws up and what you should do about it.

Digest the different symptoms below to help you identify the cause of the issue but if in any doubt, contact your vet. Most of the time there will be nothing to worry about but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Do Different Rules apply to the French Bulldog?

Why Is My French Bulldog Throwing Up?

Well, I think we all know the answer! Frenchies are of course unique but do they throw up more often than other dogs? It seems they do, yes. They are known to suffer from gastrointestinal issues and that doesn’t just include the gas-related ones!

My point here is all dogs are different, have their different mannerisms and different problems and the Frenchie is no different. You’ll find a lot of dogs that have short faces (brachycephalic) tend to have more problems with gastro issues. It could be as simple as the fact that they do tend to gulp their food down quicker than other dogs without chewing it.

Does the French Bulldog Throw Up Less When Older?

Yes, your Bulldog will throw up less when they’re older. In fact, it’s not unusual for her to throw up once or twice every day when they’re still a puppy. This will decrease though as they age though and although it’s not always the case, your French Bulldog can end up going years without throwing up.

Is the French Bulldog Actually Being Sick?

Before I continue, let’s just make sure we’re talking about the same thing here. Throwing up is regarded as something different from regurgitating food so let’s take a quick look at the differences. Why this is important is that they are two different things and repeatedly vomiting, for example, is more serious than just regurgitating, although this shouldn’t be ignored if it continues of course.

Regurgitation

This is slightly different to her actually being sick and it will almost seem effortless for her to do. This is when either liquid or food is consumed but then expelled from either the esophagus or throat before it even reached the stomach. It’ll look pretty similar coming out to how it looked going in and your dog won’t be in any way bothered about it. In fact, they may try and eat whatever it is that they just regurgitated again (yuk!)

Vomiting

Vomiting occurs when food is expelled violently from the stomach. The output of which may be in different forms of digestion. Your dog will appear in discomfort as it is being sick (we know how that feels). Not only this, but it may also act slightly differently beforehand. It might walk around or dribble in a way that you’re not used to seeing. 

What Specific Problems Relates To French Bulldog?

Some people call it spewing or urping but they mean the same thing. It’s almost like projectile vomit but is when she’ll appear to sick-up a clear liquid (that’s quite warm if you happen to touch it) that comes from its nose or mouth. If you notice this happening with any kind of frequency, then explain the symptoms to your vet as you may need to take her in for a check-over

What Might The Problem Be?

Esophageal Disorders

This certainly isn’t a definitive list but it does include the main ones that I’ve come across.

Hiatal Hernia

Note that this can be the cause of both regurgitation AND vomiting and is usually noticed when the dog is particularly excited, for instance during exercise. There is an opening in the diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus, you’ll find the esophagus passes through this prior to it entering the stomach. If a hernia develops in this location it may be because one of the below has caused an issue, most likely because it has protruded into the thoracic cavity. :

  • There is a protrusion of the esophagus
  • Part of the stomach
  • Lower esophageal sphincter

Now, I know the above won’t mean a lot to you, that’s fine. But at least when you see the vet and they possibly mention something like the above, you’ll have a slightly better understanding of what they’re going on about. 

A Hiatal Hernia can be managed, typically, by either a surgical or medical option. If the medicinal route is chosen, then anti-inflammatory drugs will be used to reduce the inflammation inside the esophagus. Note that this path can usually reduce the frequency and the severity of the symptoms but will probably not remove it totally as the underlying problem will remain.

If a surgical direction is recommended then they may reduce the opening in the diaphragm and then use stitching to put the esophagus and stomach back to what is regarded as a normal position.

The outlook for your dog after this surgery is actually very good however if symptoms return they may be able to be controlled via medicine.

Megaesophagus

Your French Bulldog may either vomit or regurgitate their food if they have this condition. Some dogs are also known to have a discharge from the nose. This problem occurs when the esophagus is dilated due to a lack of peristaltic activity. What? You’ve never heard of the peristaltic activity?

This is basically the process that moves food along the muscular tract, why do they always have these big words that mean simple things? Okay, in more layman’s terms, this condition occurs when the esophagus becomes weak and food can’t be pushed into the stomach and just stays in the esophagus. This problem may be hereditary or caused by other problems and is diagnosed by barium swallows, radiographs (X-Rays) and other mechanisms.

Note that some dogs can be born with this condition. There is no known cure for this problem and it has to be managed over the life of the dog. This management is not particularly easy as it requires the dog to be upright (in a vertical position) during feeding or drinking. Unfortunately, the long-term outlook for this condition is considered quite poor.

Vascular Ring

Now, these are most likely to be hereditary but they’re not really that common in French Bulldogs, still good to be aware of though. Typically, symptoms are regurgitation and in young (less than 6 months) dogs.

When you first get your Frenchie, one of the questions you should ask the breeder (if this is where you got her from) is whether their mother had any hereditary diseases. Without going into too much detail, this is related to an artery that has been lost during development when still a fetus.

Treatment is typically a course of antibiotics but an oxygen supplement may be considered. Surgery is also an option and they may attempt to repair the vascular entrapment. 

Esophagitis 

This is inflammation of the esophagus and is diagnosed via radiography, biopsy or the use of an endoscope. The causes are varied but may be due to acid reflux or a food allergy. There are different levels of this condition but it can typically be managed via medicine.

The symptoms of esophagitis in your Frenchie do depend on how severe the condition is and you may not notice anything at all. However, symptoms can be quite severe in extreme examples and here are a few signs that she has this problem:

  • Problems swallowing food (obvious signs of pain when doing so)
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Weight Loss
  • Pain in the throat or neck area
  • Unusual movements
  • Unwilling to lie down

Treatment is varied depending on the cause but often it is managed by a diet that can heal the esophagus. This includes high-carb, low fat, low protein foods that have little or no allergens. If the cause is acid reflux, then antacids may be provided along with other drugs that can help her to swallow. For more severe cases, a narrowing of the esophagus can be helped by having a balloon catheter installed surgically.

Food Allergies

Why Is My French Bulldog Throwing Up?

Similar to us, a French Bulldog may be allergic to ingredients in its daily diet. You will most likely notice that not only is there vomiting but there will be inconsistent bowel movements along with it, although this isn’t always the case. There are, less known symptoms that may suggest your dog has a food allergy:

  • Bloody looking nails
  • Itchy skin and their coat is no longer glossy
  • An ear infection
  • Her eyes are watering more often than normal

Of course, identifying that your dog has a food allergy is only the first part of the problem. Next, you need to find what is causing it. This shouldn’t actually be too difficult as the diet of a dog isn’t as varied and complex as ours. Change the food that they eat and monitor, watching carefully their behavior after every swap.

If you can’t work out what’s causing the problem or if you can see the symptoms are getting worse, explain what you’ve seen to your vet and ideally make a note of the food that you’re providing to her. If possible, take the packaging with you when you see them.

Advice If You Need To See The Vet

Don’t try and second-guess anything. Don’t assume the cause is this or that. Just explain exactly what you’ve seen and how often you’ve seen it. Let the professionals come to the right conclusion. If you start saying she has been regurgitating when actually she’s been vomiting, for example, it could lead your pet down the wrong road.

Another idea is to make use of technology. We’ve all typically got a phone not too far away from us. If you can video her whilst she’s being sick, do it. Or, as unpleasant as it sounds, take a photo of what she produces. Do me a favor though, don’t post it on facebook 🙂

The Bottom Line

All French Bulldogs will throw up and so 99 times out of a 100, it’s absolutely nothing to be worried about. You’ll know when it’s time to call your vet. If it’s persistent or if there’s something dramatically different about her personality, that’s the time.

There’s a good chance the problem will be resolved by simple dietary changes. Finally, if you’re noticing other symptoms, like for instance your French Bulldog shaking more than normal then check out the article here (opens in a new tab).

Remember, always seek professional advice. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for online but that doesn’t mean it’s what you really needed to find. Talk to your vet or look at authoritative websites, such as the RSPCA. 

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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