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How Should French Bulldogs Be Carried (and How Do You Pick Them Up)?

It's always tempting to pick up your cuddly Frenchie and most of the time, they don't mind it. But since they have fragile bodies, you should know how to pick them up the right way.
How Should French Bulldogs Be Carried?

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Does your Frenchie love to cuddle? Chances are, they do. And for you to do this, sometimes you need to lift them.

But there are many carrying habits you need to unlearn. Carrying Frenchies by the scruff, for example, is bad for them. Many of these habits cause them a lot of pain.

So as the protector of your lovable Frenchie, you need to know the dos and don’ts of picking them up.

How to Pick Up a French Bulldog

It may be tempting to pick up your Frenchie whenever you want since they are very cuddly. But there are dangers to carrying them the wrong way. To make sure you are not hurting them, here is how you should pick them up.

Let Them Know Verbally

Using a verbal cue will let your Frenchie know what to expect. This way, they will not squirm around and risk hurting themselves.

Doing this often will also help them learn what the verbal cue means. So next time, they get to prepare themselves before you pick them up.

Get Ready to Lift Them Up

Use your dominant hand and scoop your Frenchie from underneath. Your hand should be between his front legs and on his chest.

With your free hand, scoop your Frenchie underneath again. This time, you should lift their hind legs. Make sure you tuck your arm under their legs and rear end.

Lift Them With Care

Make sure your Frenchie is stable in your arms first before lifting them. After that, you can slowly lift them. Stay calm during the whole process since they tend to mirror your mood.

Your Frenchie will get used to this the more you pick them up. As long as you make this a positive experience for them, this should be a breeze!

The method above is great for lighter dogs who are 25 lbs (11 kg) and below. Some Frenchies are heavier than this and there is another way you can carry them.

Secure Their Arms

Using both your arms, grab their forelegs and hind legs from their front and back. This will look like you are hugging them from the side. Then with your hand, clutch the legs that are facing away from you to secure your Frenchie.

Hold Them Close

This method does not feel very secure, so you need to keep your Frenchie close to your chest. If they are wriggling in this position, they may not like this. So you need to put them down before they break free and fall.

Lift Them Up

If your Frenchie stays calm, you can lift them gently. Not all Frenchies will like this method because it does not feel the best. So if your Frenchie is one of these, you may need to go back to the first method.

How to Hold a French Bulldog Puppy

Holding a Frenchie pup is not much different from holding an adult one. Since puppies are lighter, another method works best for them.

First, verbally let your Frenchie know that you are going to pick them up. Words like “carry” and “up” will help to prepare them for what you will do.

Now, try to put your Frenchie pup into a carrying position. Use your dominant hand to go under them, placing it on their chest and between their front legs. Do the same with your other hand, but grab their hind legs this time.

After this, you can lift your Frenchie puppy. Use your arm as a shelf that they can sit on. And hold them near your chest to secure them.

Holding them close is crucial since they might fight their way out and accidentally fall. Frenchies are fragile, even more so when they are puppies. So a fall from this height could injure their paws.

How to Carry a French Bulldog With Back Problems

If your Frenchie has back problems, you need to use either a stretcher or blanket to carry them. Using these will help you to stabilize their spines so that they will not get hurt. Carrying them by hand alone will not give them much support.

Lifting a dog with back problems has a lot of things to consider. Sometimes, they will not let you get near them because they are in pain. So if your Frenchie has back problems, below is how you can make lifting them easier.

Getting Ready

Approach your Frenchie from the side with a calm voice to comfort them. Do not go near their mouth as they may try to bite you. Unfortunately, sometimes they do not understand that you are trying to help them.

If your Frenchie is a bit aggressive due to the pain, you can use a muzzle to avoid nipping. Be sure to have their first aid kid ready in case this all goes south.

Lifting Them With a Stretcher

Take a flat board that is sturdy enough to support your Frenchie’s weight. This can be anything as long as it is big enough for its size. An ironing board, a cutting board, or whatever flat-surfaced item you may have at home.

Place a few long strips of cloth under the board. Or you can also use a rope that is not very abrasive. Do not place the cloth or rope on the area of the board where their head will lie.

Make sure your Frenchie is lying down on their side first. Then take them by placing one hand under their chest and another hand under his behind. Gently lift them and transfer them onto the board.

Using the strips of cloth or rope, tie your Frenchie to the board. Make sure it is firm enough so they do not shuffle around. But it should not be tight enough to cause any discomfort.

Now you can take your Frenchie to your car and go to the vet.

Lifting Them With a Blanket

Take a blanket that is larger than your Frenchie’s size. Lay the blanket down on a flat surface first.

With your Frenchie lying down on their side, put your hand underneath their chest. With your other hand, place it underneath their behind. Then lift them with care onto the blanket.

Lift the blanket by grabbing the longer ends. This should be the ends by their head and their hind. Your Frenchie will look like they are on a hammock.

How Not to Hold a French Bulldog

It may be tempting to pick your Frenchie up by the scruff, especially when they’re puppies. But that is one of the many incorrect ways to carry them. Carrying them the wrong way is not only painful, but it can also cause your Frenchie injuries.

So to prevent these from happening, here is how you should not handle your Frenchie.

Not by the Collar

Collars on Frenchies are not good in the first place. If you are walking your Frenchie on a collar and they tug on it a lot, it hurts their neck. You are doing the same thing by grabbing them by the collar.

Remember that Frenchies have sensitive spines and necks. Any significant pressure that is constantly put on these can lead to IVDD. This will affect your Frenchie’s mobility and sometimes the only cure is surgery.

Not by the Legs

Some dog owners like to grab their dogs by the leg. But never do this to your Frenchie. Not only is it very painful, but it can also damage their bone joints or disfigure them.

Not by the Tail

Frenchies may not have the height, but they may have the weight. Picking them up by their small tail is never a good thing. Doing this will put them in so much pain and can lead to serious issues.

Not by the Scruff

Holding puppies by the scruff is a common thing many people do. But this is a bad way of picking up Frenchies, no matter what their age is. This is another painful and irresponsible way of picking them up.

Not only that, there is a risk of them slipping from your hand. If they fall, this can lead to injuring different parts of their body.

Is It Bad to Pick Up a French Bulldog?

Picking up your Frenchie is not bad as long as you do it properly. They may even love it since they are a very cuddly and affectionate breed. But part of loving your Frenchie back is to make sure that you are not causing them pain.

So when picking them up, always remember that you should support their spine and neck. And never handle them by the collar, legs, tail, and scruff.

If you do it the wrong way, it can lead to many serious issues. Dislocations, choking, injuries, and even IVDD. So while it is tempting to pick them up in a silly way, have their best interest always in mind.

Why Does My French Bulldog Yelps When Picked Up?

When your Frenchie yelps when you carry them, it is because they are either excited or are in pain. Unfortunately, most of the time it is the latter.

The fact that you are reading this means that you are a responsible Frenchie owner. And being one means that you have to figure out what is causing their yelping. To give you a headstart, below are reasons why they yelp when picked up.

They Are Showing Excitement

Frenchies are one of the cuddliest dog breeds out there. They love it when they get your attention, and sometimes, they get too excited. So when you pick them up, they may yelp in joy.

But it is crucial that you know when they are happy or are in pain. Frenchies who yelp out of excitement show these signs:

  • Their Eyes Open Widely
  • Their Tails Wag
  • Their Tongue Shows

So if they show these three signs, you do not have to worry about the yelping. Cuddle away!

They Got Scared

If you have a Frenchie puppy, this is the more likely reason for their yelping. They are not used to getting picked up yet, so they will react in fear.

That is why you need to have a verbal cue before picking them up. To lessen their agitation, make sure to approach them from their side so that they see you coming.

Puppies will learn not to fear this after a while. In the meantime, practice picking them up and make these sessions short.

You’re Picking Them Up Wrong

As mentioned in a previous section, there is a right and wrong way to pick up your Frenchie. An incorrect method can cause them great pain. This includes picking them up by the nail, scruff, legs, and collar.

They Have Cramps

With overexertion, your Frenchie can get muscle spasms and cramps. The good news is that this is temporary. Until then, your Frenchie will not enjoy getting lifted.

Other than yelping when carried, your Frenchie may show other symptoms like:

  • Twitching
  • Limping
  • Struggling to Straighten Their Legs
  • Slower Movements

Problems With Their Spine

Unfortunately, Frenchies have a genetic predisposition to spinal problems. This can make their backs and necks hurt, which makes it hard to pick them up.

Anything from a slipped disc, ruptured disc, or a pinched nerve is an issue with their spine. If you suspect that your Frenchie has this, watch out for the following:

  • Reluctance to Jump
  • Their Head Hangs Low
  • Slow Movements

The best way to resolve this is to take your Frenchie to the vet as soon as possible.

They Have an Infection

Any skin infection or unusual growths is painful to the touch. If these are in areas where you touch your Frenchie when picking them up, they may yelp out of pain.

They Have Musculoskeletal Problems

If your Frenchie is older, their joints may weaken as a result of the aging process. Arthritis makes them sensitive to any movement, even when you pick them up.

Frenchies can also develop certain health issues. They have a genetic predisposition to many health issues. Especially ones related to their skeleton.

This includes hip dysplasia, a condition where the socket and ball of the joint do not align right. This is a painful health issue that hurts their quality of life.

Another one is Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). This condition occurs when their intervertebral disc ruptures, bulges, or slips. IVDD can cause mild to severe pain, and in extreme cases, paralysis.

What Size Cage Does a French Bulldog Need?

For a standard-sized adult Frenchie, a medium crate is ideal for them. Their crate should be 30 inches in length, 19 inches in width, and 21 inches in height (762 mm x 483 mm x 533 mm).

You will know that their crate is too small if their hind and nose touch the ends of the crate at the same time. Their crate should be big enough for them to sit, stand up, lie down, and stretch out without problems.

But too big of a crate is also not a good idea as they will not treat it as one anymore. It will become their toilet area or their playpen, which defeats the purpose. So if your Frenchie is a nonstandard size, you need to measure them before buying a crate.

What Size Dog Crate Do I Need for a French Bulldog?

Frenchies are a medium to small breed, so a medium-sized crate that is about 30 inches (762 mm) is best. But this is for standard Frenchies, and not all Frenchies are. There are mini or micro ones, or Frenchies that are larger than normal.

So if your Frenchie is one of these, a medium crate may not work. You need to measure your Frenchie to find the perfect crate size for them. Below is how you can do this.

Measure Your Frenchie

Take your tape measure and make sure to measure your Frenchie in inches. You need two measurements, height, and width.

To get your Frenchie’s height, have your Frenchie stand upright. Measure from the top of their head to the ground, this is their height. While still upright, measure from your Frenchie’s nose to the base of their tail for their width size.

Find the Right Crate

You need to add a few inches to these measurements for allowance. Add 4 inches (101 mm) to the height and add 6 inches (152 mm) to the width.

Some crates will also consider your Frenchie’s weight. So you may need to weigh your Frenchie as well in case you will need it.

How Do You Crate Train a French Bulldog?

The first step in crate training Frenchies is to help them like it. A positive association with the crate is important to make the process smoother. To know how you can do this, keep on reading.

Pick a Crate Spot

Choosing where to put your Frenchie’s crate can be tricky. It should be somewhere that does not disturb them, without much house traffic. But it should also not be somewhere that isolates them from the rest of the family.

The best place would be a place where you spend a lot of time in. It can be in the living room, but you can put the crate in a corner.

Make Their Crate Inviting

Your Frenchie will hesitate to go in the crate at first. But do not worry, you can help them get comfortable with it by adding some finishing touches.

One way is by placing their favorite toys or blanket inside the crate. You can also add in some treats to push them to go inside and explore their crate.

Have Them Explore Their Crate

For about 1 to 4 days, you should allow your Frenchie to explore their crate on their terms. Do not force them to go inside, have them do this on their own when they are curious. Also, you should leave the door open all the time for them to do this.

Sometimes, they may make a fuss and bark at the crate. This is normal since they are still getting used to it being in your home. Leave them alone when they do and they should stop within a few minutes.

Try to Close the Door

After they get used to going inside the crate, close the doors behind them. Do this for a few moments and make sure they see it. Then open the door again right away.

Do this for a few days, about 3 days. It may take you more time, but see how your Frenchie reacts. In those few days, gradually increase the time you shut the doors.

Close the Door and Leave the Room

If your Frenchie already got used to having the doors shut, try leaving the room this time. Stay out of their sight for a few minutes then come back. Increase the time that you leave them alone also.

How Long Does It Take to Crate Train a French Bulldog?

It takes about 10 days to crate train your Frenchie with success. Some Frenchies will need less than this, but some will take more time. Remember to make this a positive experience for them to be successful in crate training them.

How Long Can a French Bulldog Stay in a Crate

Frenchie puppies should only stay in their crate for 2 hours. Adults can stay longer, but do not keep them in for more than 7 hours.

This is how long they can hold their bladders. So if you leave them longer than that, expect an unpleasant surprise when you come back.


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