French Bulldogs typically weigh in at less than 13 kg (around 30 lbs), yet their cute little paws still do a lot of the unsung heavy lifting in helping these pups navigate their world.
This is why French Bulldog paw care is so vitally important. Yet many Frenchie pawrents honestly aren’t sure what to look for and what kind of care to provide.
If this describes you, this is definitely the article you need to read!
Understanding the Anatomy of the French Bulldog Paw
The first stop on the road to proper paw care is to develop a basic understanding of your French Bulldog’s paw anatomy.
Description of French Bulldog paw anatomy.
The following list gives you the scoop on what each basic part of a French Bulldog paw is called in “dog language”.
· Your dog’s toes are called digits.
· Your dog’s first digit is called the dew claw (not all dogs have these, but Frenchies do and they are typically left intact).
· Your dog’s wrist is called the carpus or carpal.
· Your dog’s ankle is called the hock or tarsus.
· The wrist system includes five (on the front paws) and four (on the back paws) small bones called the metacarpals.
· Your dog’s toenails are called nails or claws.
Like all dogs, French Bulldogs also have paw pads on the bottoms of their paws. These are equivalent to the shock absorbers in your car in that they help your pup walk, run and jump without discomfort.
French Bulldogs have four small carpal paw pads and one larger metacarpal (on the front paws) or metatarsal (on the back paws) paw pad.
Common problems with French Bulldog Paws.
Now we can dive in deeper to examine common Frenchie paw problems.
There are two basic categories of French Bulldog paw problems: external and internal. You can do a lot at home to care for many of the external paw problems your Frenchie may experience.
However, if you suspect a problem with the internal structure of your dog’s paws, such as a sprain, break or dislocation, always consult your canine veterinarian right away.
Importance of regular Frenchie paw care.
Simple, regular Frenchie paw care will typically prevent a lot of paw issues from ever arising. So all you have to do is learn how to properly care for your French Bulldog’s paws and you may never have any cause to visit the veterinarian for additional diagnosis or treatment.
Read on now to learn exactly what to do and how to do it.
Tips for Keeping French Bulldog Paws Healthy and Clean
Frenchie paw pad care begins with always keeping your dog’s paws clean. You may be thinking this is harder than it sounds since, well, dogs will be dogs!
But even if your French Bulldog loves a good romp in the mud or snow, you just need to know how to clean and examine your dog’s paws when playtime is over.
Regular Frenchie Paw cleaning and grooming techniques.
Each day, make time to have a look at your dog’s paws. Pay particularly close attention to the areas between each paw pad and the spaces in between each toe. These areas tend to collect debris and pathogens like bacteria and fungi that can breed infection and odors.
Next, use a gentle round-tip bristle brush or fine-tooth stainless-steel round-tip comb to work through any tangles or mats on your Frenchie’s paws. Also have some small round-tip shears handy to clip out tangles or mats.
Finally, give your dog’s paws and pads a good wipe-down and trim any longer hair in between the pads that might interfere with gait, trap pathogens or cause mats.
Proper French Bulldog nail trimming and filing.
When you see gait instability like stumbling, shuffling, favoring one paw or reluctance to walk, the first place you want to check is always going to be your dog’s toenails.
Uneven, cracked or injured toenails will hinder your dog’s ability to place each paw down evenly and walk comfortably. This is why regular nail trimming and filing is a critical aspect of French Bulldog paw pad care.
Your job as the Frenchie pawrent is to keep all the nails trimmed and filed so your dog can place each paw on the ground evenly. Interestingly, some Frenchies may have naturally uneven toenail wear due to their unique anatomy.
So rather than aiming for a uniform trim, work to find the right length for each claw that works best for your dog’s individual and unique gait habits and needs.
Moisturizing and protecting paw pads.
You have lots of options for moisturizing and protecting your Frenchie’s paw pads. The most popular products are paw waxes and creams formulated for canine pH. Never use moisturizers or balms formulated for human skin pH!
You can also consider training your Frenchie to walk in dog boots, especially if your pup insists on licking off the paw balm or cream the moment you apply it.
If you’re looking for a great moisturizer for protecting your Frenchie’s little paws (and nose), we highly recommend Burt’s Bees All-Natural Paw & Nose Lotion with Rosemary & Olive Oil.
Burt's Bees All-Natural Paw & Nose Lotion
Burt’s Bees for Pets All-Natural Paw & Nose Lotion is a gentle, nourishing treatment with Rosemary & Olive Oil to protect and soothe your French Bulldog’s delicate skin.
Made from all-natural ingredients
PH balanced for dogs
Effectively moisturizes and protects your dog's paws AND nose
Some users may find the scent too strong
Can take time for the lotion to absorb fully
Other top product picks for French Bulldog Paw Care
Avoiding common irritants and hazards for your French Bulldog’s Paws.
One of the most common hazards pawrents innocently overlook is too-hot or too-cold surfaces. Searing asphalt and freezing cold ice-covered sidewalks can cause emergency burns and even frostbite.
Try to avoid walking your dog in places where seasonal hazards like stickers and burrs or foxtails are growing. Similarly, avoid taking walks in areas freshly sprayed with pesticides and herbicides or anywhere that has been treated with de-icing salts or solutions.
Dealing with Common Problems with French Bulldog Paws
Paw infections, allergies and injuries are all too common and sometimes even unavoidable. In this section, learn what to do to deal with these types of common French Bulldog paw problems.
How to recognize and treat French bulldog paw infections.
If you notice a corn chip smell – (hint: some pawrents call this the “frito feet” smell) – your Frenchie may have a yeast infection brewing.
Pododermatitis is another common paw infection that can have many triggers. For this reason, you will need to make a veterinary appointment to be sure the treatment is a match for the cause.
Early warning symptoms include redness, swelling, allergies, pus and odor.
Addressing allergies and skin irritations.
Dogs can experience environmental, food and seasonal allergies just like people can. But where your symptoms may be primarily respiratory, your dog’s allergy symptoms are much more likely to express through skin and paw itching and gastrointestinal symptoms.
However, you will still need your veterinarian’s help to track down the cause and match it to the appropriate treatment.
Caring for paw injuries and cuts.
Imagine if you walked around barefoot all day and night. You might pick up all kinds of small abrasions like cuts and scrapes that lead to worse health problems.
In the same way, Frenchie paw pad injuries and cuts can easily admit pathogens like bacteria that can breed infection. So you want to clean, sterilize, dry and bandage the affected area right away.
However, be aware that foreign objects may cause bleeding if you try to remove them at home. When in doubt, always take your dog to the veterinarian for professional treatment.
Beyond the Basics: Advanced French Bulldog Paw Care
Certain situations warrant special consideration when you are caring for your Frenchie’s paws and paw pads.
In this final section, learn how to care for your French Bulldog’s paws in advanced age, during seasonal shifts, when enjoying canine sports and even while taking walks in new places.
Special considerations for older French Bulldogs.
As your French Bulldog ages, their immune system may struggle a bit more to take care of minor healing needs without veterinary intervention. This is a time in your Frenchie’s life when you need to be especially vigilant about preventative paw care and maintenance.
Tips for paw care during seasonal changes.
French Bulldogs have a natural zest for life that makes them irresistible. But before you let your Frenchie out to romp in the first fresh snowfall or splash around in the kiddie pool, be sure to take some safety precautions.
Check the area for irritants, heat, cold, stickers and burrs, slippery surfaces and overall cleanliness. You may want to apply paw balm or protectant or use dog booties if you have any concerns.
Preparing Your French Bulldog Paws for outdoor activities.
This same precautionary approach is especially vital when you and your dog are heading out for an outdoor adventure together.
From tick bites to briars, human-made chemicals to poison ivy, there is no substitute for a preventative strategy to keep your French Bulldog’s paws healthy and safe.
Now you have a much deeper understanding of French Bulldog paw anatomy, what dangers await your pup’s bare paws and what you as a pawrent can do to protect your Frenchie.
It is true French Bulldog paw pad care is not a glamorous job. Add to it that your Frenchie may not like having their paws handled, examined and groomed.
Still, when you take time to examine and clean your dog’s paws each day, you can catch small issues before they become big problems. This simple gift of love will go a long way to giving your Frenchie the happiest, healthiest life with you.