How to prepare for French Bulldog puppy

23 April 2024 - 7 min read

French Bulldogs are a popular breed for a reason. They’re friendly, have a gentle temperament and are (of course) super cute. We’re going to assume you’re considering getting one since you’re here, so we’ve shared all you need to prepare. 

We list the French Bulldog must-haves, how to prepare for one and how to make your first few weeks successful. 

Research French Bulldogs

French bulldog looking left

Always research a breed before getting one. Sometimes, our beliefs about a breed are wrong, and a bit of reading can help us make the right choice. 

Read our French Bulldog insurance page for health information, and check out our Frenchie fact file for general pointers. 

French Bulldog characteristics

French Bulldogs are companion dogs, meaning they’re a cheery, sociable bunch. They’re great with other animals and love being their owner’s best friend. 

They’re usually pretty chilled out, so they don’t bark much. But they can be a little stubborn, and their strong bonds with owners mean separation anxiety can become an issue. 

Overall, they’re unique dogs with a distinct personality that’ll suit most people but do note they aren’t the most active. But their sweet nature more than makes up for their low energy.

French Bulldog must-haves

A French Bulldog

Food and water bowls suitable for their flat face

We recommend getting flat-face suitable bowls for your Frenchie. These help flat-faced dogs eat while making minimal mess. Generally, pick ones with good reviews and which owners recommend. 

Observe how they eat and drink as they age; you may need to change things as their habits develop. 

High-quality puppy food

Pet nutrition, like nutrition for us humans, can get a little complex. But you don’t need to guess what’s best for your Frenchie. 

We recommend feeding French Bulldogs with a high-protein, low-fat diet. But each dog is individual, and you should cater to their needs and tastes. 

Remember that paying more for food doesn’t always mean you’re paying for better. For more details, read notes on the raw pet food diet and how to switch pet food efficiently.

French Bulldogs are prone to obesity, so don’t overfeed them. You should always chat with your vet about your dog’s diet. 

Soft and comfortable bedding for joint support

Generally, you want bedding that offers good joint support, like orthopaedic dog beds. A Frenchie's small, compact body and bone structure make them prone to joint issues like hip dysplasia, so having a comfortable place to sleep is essential. 

Overall, you want bedding that considers: 

  • Size and shape – so it fits your Frenchie

  • Material – so it doesn’t have any allergens or irritants

  • Comfort – so your Frenchie can relax and not exasperate any existing issues

Some Frenchies may prefer to sleep in your bed, but they need somewhere to nap or rest throughout the day, too.

Harness and lead designed for small breeds

Get a lead or harness suitable for small breeds. Otherwise, you can’t leash-train your Frenchie effectively. We don't recommend walking one without either. 

As your French Bulldog grows, it’ll need bigger collars, but since the breed stays small, you shouldn’t need to change it too often. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to fit two fingers under the collar. 

Choose between a collar and a harness with our guide, and learn how to train your Frenchie on either

Identification (ID) tags

ID tags help dogs return to their owners and tell anyone your Frenchie already has an owner and a home. It’s also an effective way to stop your Frenchie from being misidentified as a stray if it wanders off.

Pick a tag that’s: 

  • Made of weather-resistant materials, like stainless steel

  • Scratch-proof

  • Stating the dog’s name and your phone number

You'll get your puppy microchipped anyway (it’s the law), but an ID tag is an essential extra layer of security. 

French Bulldog grooming tools

Thanks to their short coats, Frenchies don’t shed much. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming. 

They need regular grooming, especially in summer. We recommend that you: 

To do this, you’ll need:

French Bulldog toys and enrichment

Overall, toys come in four categories:

  • Plush – these help your Frenchie relax

  • Interactive – mentally stimulates them

  • Chew –promotes dental health and stops biting and chewing

  • Puzzle – provides enrichment

For general recommendations, read our safe toys for puppies guide.

Safe toys for French Bulldogs

Tug toys

These are a fantastic way to bond with your new pup and provide good physical and mental stimulation. Tug-of-war, if done gently, helps your Frenchie use up any energy. 

We recommend getting one made of sturdy materials and make sure it doesn’t easily break apart or damage your pup’s delicate teeth. 

Puzzle toys

As mentioned, puzzle toys provide enrichment for Frenchies. It can help solve any behaviour problems related to boredom, and it allows your pup to keep themselves entertained. 

Dental chews

Dental chews help promote good dental health. They also stop your Frenchie from biting everything in sight while it goes through teething

Just make sure it’s made of sturdy enough materials and doesn’t break apart easily, as this can lead to choking hazards. Always check the ingredients, too, to make sure there are no allergens or irritants present.

KONG or similar durable toys for playtime

French Bulldogs love KONG toys and will grow to love any durable one you give them. They can take a lot of attention, which will help your Frenchie fulfil their chewing instincts. 

They help promote good dental hygiene while proactively ending destructive chewing behaviour. 

French Bulldog safety and travel accessories

Small dog in blue travel bagYou need to keep your dog safe when travelling. Like us, safety needs to be the number one priority when travelling by car. 

It's especially true of puppies since they aren’t used to being in the car, plane or out and about in the world yet.

Crate or carrier for safe transportation

It’s the law to keep your dog safe and suitably restrained place when driving. According to The Highway Code: 

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

When picking a carrier, focus on:

  • Size – Frenchies are small, so measure them nose to tail and check there’s plenty of room for them. 

  • Well-ventilated – Flat-faced dogs, like French Bulldogs, need good ventilation to keep them comfortable. It’s important to have this if you’re travelling in hot weather too. 

  • Safety standards – Always pick one that passes third-party safety standards. 

  • Comfort – Get a carrier with interiors that suit what your Frenchie likes.

Carriers come in a few styles:

  • Hard-sided – these are only really appropriate for medium to large-size dogs. 

  • Soft-sided – good for small or medium-sized dogs, with a focus on comfort. It's ideal if your Frenchie is anxious

  • Wheeled – helps with travelling and moving around, so we'd recommend this if you're walking around a city or catching a flight. 

  • Backpack – really good for small dogs like Frenchies. They allow you to take your dog anywhere where they can take in the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors. 

If you’re a new owner, catch up with these things to consider when going away with a pet

You may also like our guide on how to train your puppy for stress-free car rides.

Car seat

Since French Bulldogs are so small, a dog-friendly car seat can work for them. As always, only pick ones that have passed third-party safety tests, are of appropriate size and give your pup time to get used to it. 

Seat belt or harness for car safety

As the Highway Code states, seatbelts and harnesses are a suitable replacement for carriers or seats. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any recognised, standardised safety regulations for dog seat belts. Make sure you pick one with stringent third-party tests.

French Bulldog reflective gear for nighttime walks

Keep your French Bulldog and yourself safe at night. You’ll both need high-quality reflective gear, and you should read how to stay safe with our walking at night guide

Unsure of what equipment you need? Our night-time accessories guide has you covered.

First aid kit for emergencies

You need to be well-prepared for emergencies, especially if you’re travelling. We recommend making a first-aid kit that has: 

  • A spare collar

  • Towels

  • Surgical sticky tape

  • Bandages

  • Cotton wool

  • Sterile wipes

  • Blunt scissors

  • Sterile, absorbent gauze

Read our guide on first-aid tips for dogs if you’re a new owner. 

French Bulldog training aids

While French Bulldogs are known for their gentle and laid-back attitude, they still need diligent training. 

Most of this comes from you educating yourself on how to train them properly, but training aids can help, too. 

Treats for positive reinforcement during training

Treats are essential for positive reinforcement training but don’t pick things that are too unhealthy or calorie-intensive. We recommend lean, protein-dense food like: 

  • Beef

  • Chews

  • Chicken

  • Dried fish

Don’t rely on them too much though, as the calories from treats add up and can lead to pet obesity.

Always check these treats with your vet first.

Clicker for clicker training

Clicker training is a fantastic option for Frenchies, and all you need for it is some treats and a clicker. 

Their intelligence makes them very receptive to this type of training. Whenever your French Bulldog does something that deserves a reward, you click a device and give them a treat. 

Eventually, the dog associates the noise with good feelings, and you won’t need a treat at all – just the click noise. 

We cover this in more detail in our basic dog training guide

Training pads for housebreaking

Housetraining a puppy can get a little stressful, but there are things for French Bulldogs that help make it smoother. 

Training pads are a great option, providing space for your Frenchie to relieve themselves. Just pick a high-quality one with lots of layers, as that’ll ensure nothing seeps through and it’ll be easy to clean up. 

Puppy gates for containment and safety

Frenchies are inquisitive and like to explore. But they can wander into places they shouldn’t! 

That’s where a puppy gate can help. These can section off areas of the house, like your kitchen, without making your pup feel isolated and lonely. 

Simply pick one that’s the right size, suits your home and is tall enough to stop your pup from attempting a leap of faith over it.

Prepare for the future with French Bulldog insurance

Of course, puppy insurance helps protect your Frenchie from young until old.

Discover what our French Bulldog insurance covers, how it helps owners like you and why it keeps owners well-prepared.

Puppy with heart balloon illustration

Up to £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover for your puppy.

Puppy with heart balloon illustration

Ben Newman
Editorial Content Lead

Ben is a writer and editor with years of experience in insurance. After spending a long time creating content for some of Britain's biggest brands as part of a marketing agency, Ben began to focus on insurance and hasn't looked back since. When he's not consuming copious cups of tea, you can find him reading a book, daydreaming about having an Australian Shepherd and shouting at Liverpool on the TV.