French Bulldogs are adorable and loving pups that many dog lovers find themselves quickly considering as a pet. Aside from the cute French Bulldog tails, these fur babies are friendly with other dogs and people, easy to train, and are the perfect pet for small homes. It’s no surprise that French Bulldogs are such a popular breed.
If you’re looking to get a Frenchie or already have one, and you’re wondering about their tails, you are in the right place. There are several things to understand about the French Bulldog tails, from the types, possible health issues, and what you can do about these issues.
French Bulldog Tail Types
The French Bulldog tails are one of the adorable features of their small, cute body. Frenchies have small tails that most would not think much of and assume are simple to maintain. This is not necessarily the case, but we will get to that later.
Many think French Bulldog tails may be cut off or docked, but this is not the case. Years ago, Frenchies did have longer tails. Since French Bulldogs were used as fighting dogs, short tails were desired because they had less chance of being injured. For this reason, their tails are now naturally short because they have been bred with short-tailed dogs over the years.
While all French Bulldog tails are small, they vary in shape and size (some are smaller than others). There are 3 types of French Bulldog tails:
- straight and low
- twisted and low
- thick root with a slimmer end
Common Issues Related to French Bulldog Tails
While French Bulldog tails are another endearing feature, some shapes and sizes of tails are of concern. Along with other common French Bulldog health issues, their tails can also result in health issues and problems, including tail pocket infections, hemivertebrae, and sunburn.
Tail Pocket Infection
French Bulldogs don’t always have a tail pocket, the dip below their tail and above their rectum, and some may not be born with it but will get it later in life. You will notice a wrinkled area or something like a pocket below their tail. Because a tail pocket has hidden skin in the form of a wrinkle and it’s difficult to keep clean, it’s susceptible to infections.
As for the tail itself, it is often vulnerable to genetic issues. Twisted tails often result in hemivertebrae, a condition that causes spine issues. Since the Frenchie breed has a screw tail, all French Bulldogs are prone to hemivertebrae. These issues cause pressure on the spinal cord making walking difficult. Hemivertebrae can also cause loss of function of their back legs and bladder.
French Bulldog tails have little fur and are a tender area making them prone to sunburn. Sunburns can be extremely uncomfortable, as we know, and they are also harmful. Something many pet owners don’t think about is their Frenchie being susceptible to skin cancer. Since French Bulldog tails are a sensitive area, they can certainly get skin cancer. In fact, the most common type of tumor dogs are diagnosed with are skin tumors.
Signs of an Issue
When it comes to issues with French Bulldog tails, there are signs to determine if your Frenchie has a tail pocket infection, hemivertebrae, or a sunburn.
Tail Pocket Infection
Take note of the tail pocket. Since they are difficult to clean, dirt and bacteria can build up causing an infection. You may notice the following if there’s an infection: swelling, pus formation, severe itchiness, and a foul odor. Since these infections can be painful for your pup and possibly life-threatening, always consult your vet if you notice these symptoms.
The good news with hemivertebrae is that you can easily detect it. You will notice urinary and fecal inconsistencies and weakness of the hind legs. Be aware that these issues don’t always mean there’s a hemivertebrae issue. Contact your vet for a proper diagnosis if you notice any of these symptoms.
Sunburn is also fairly easy to notice in your dog. They are likely sunburned if their tail area, or any other area, is pinker than usual and/or sensitive to touch. If you notice that your Frenchie is severely sunburnt or blistered, call your vet.
Preventing Tail Issues
Since French Bulldog tails are the way they are, tail issues are inevitable. However, there are ways you can possibly avoid these situations.
Tail Pocket Infection
To avoid infection of the tail pocket, it’s important to keep it clean and dry. You can do this by regularly wiping it with a mild wipe and drying it with a soft, clean towel. Bath time is important for a dog and can help with cleaning excess dirt and bacteria from the tail pocket. It may be a good idea to have your vet show you the proper way to keep it clean in order to ensure that you are doing it the best way possible.
Unfortunately, hemivertebrae can only be prevented through responsible breeding. If your Frenchie has hemivertebrae because of how they were bred, this is out of your hands. However, there are ways to alleviate it. More on that below under ‘Diagnose and Treat These Health Issues.’
French Bulldog tails can easily be sunburned due to lack of fur. The upside is sunburn can be prevented. As we know, dogs love to lie in the sun and sunbathing for hours is dog favorite hobby. To ensure that your Frenchie’s tail is safe from the sun, take the following steps:
- Avoid strong sun rays: Midday sun rays are the most intense. It is best to only allow your Frenchie time in the sun early in the morning and during the late afternoon and evening.
- Discuss safe sun-screen options with your vet: Since there are no FDA-approved pet sunscreens, your vet can give you safe options. Keep in mind that zinc oxide is okay for humans to use, but it is actually toxic for dogs if ingested.
- Sun Protective Shirt: This sun protective lightweight shirt can protect your Frenchie from UV rays. For covering the tail area, make sure you purchase it long enough. A medium-size would work for most Frenchies.
- Use shade: When outside on sunny days (even partly sunny), use shade such as pop-up tents, umbrellas, or find an area with many trees. Shady areas are also important when walking your Frenchie during the day.
- Be aware: Sometimes, we forget how strong the sun is. Even when humans sunbathe or spend time outside, we often don’t realize until it’s too late that the sun is affecting us. This can be the same for dogs. So, even if you think they are okay outside, always err on the side of caution.
Diagnose and Treat These Health Issues
Unfortunately, even if we are careful, things can still happen sometimes. Having your vet diagnose a tail issue allows you to treat it properly. As with hemivertebrae, there’s no prevention; but there is treatment.
Tail Pocket Infection
If you sense that your Frenchie has a tail pocket infection, make an appointment with your vet. They can observe the area and easily make a diagnosis.
To treat a tail pocket infection, it’s important to get rid of excess fur. Infectious materials can more easily spread in fur. You can prevent infection from spreading if you get rid of this extra fur. If there’s an open wound, clean it with an antiseptic and dry it well. In addition to these steps, your vet can prescribe an antibiotic. Continue to keep the area clean and dry.
If your pup appears to have signs of hemivertebrae, your vet will examine your Frenchie and perform an X-ray to diagnose these spine issues.
To treat hemivertebrae, there are a couple of options depending on severity. Rest and anti-inflammatories can alleviate the issue if symptoms are mild. For more severe impact, your vet may want to perform a decompressive surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that will alleviate pain.
Your vet can examine French Bulldog tails to determine coat type and skin pigmentation. He or she will ask you, the pet owner, questions regarding your dog’s time in the sun. This is typically all that a vet needs to determine if your dog is sunburnt.
To treat severe sunburn and heat exhaustion, your dog will be provided with fluids to prevent or correct dehydration and stabilize your dog. Cold compresses can be applied to your Frenchie’s skin to relieve pain, cool the skin, and prevent further damage. Your vet may also recommend a cortisone ointment to apply to the area and/or prescribe an antibiotic.
Because of the small-sized, twisted French Bulldog tails, issues aren’t one-hundred percent avoidable. Tail pocket infections, hemivertebrae, and sunburn are all possible health issues that your Frenchie may face due to their tails. If you are aware of signs to look for, contact your vet with concerns and for proper diagnosis, and properly treat these issues, you can ensure that your pup is happy and healthy.