New member from SC

Blue&Rambo

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Hello,

I live in SC with my husband and among our four dogs and three cats we have two frenchies Blue (female) and Rambo (male) – both around 3.5 years of age. My main goal in joining this group is to share experiences I’ve been through with our dogs as well as learn from others.

Here’s my story in hopes that it may help others.
My husband and I married just over five years ago. He had been a successful breeder of small dogs for years (e.g., Yorkies, etc). When we married he got out of the business but had two Yorkies as pets (6 month old puppy and 6 year-old mom). Then a couple of years later he fell in love with frenchies – their cuteness and the price that puppies can bring. He wanted to get back into the business and raise frenchies. Without doing any research but trying to be supportive, I reluctantly agreed. So we purchased Blue in the summer of 2020 at 6 weeks. She was adorable and insisted on being a three-some with the Yorkies – they were inseparable. With the purchase of Blue we talked to several breeders and learned that a lot of frenchies are bred through AI but my husband was insistent that we needed a male. We purchased Rambo that December at 14 weeks. Both frenchies were sweet, lovable pets.

In fall 2020 we moved from a sub-division to a home with acreage and no next door neighbors. So Rambo joined us at our new home. Remodeling efforts took most of our time over the following year so our dogs saw mainly just us. Also from my husband feeding them table snacks as he had done with his small breed dogs for years and our few attempts at boarding our dogs, we were plagued with recurring tummy troubles from both frenchies which also meant recurring vet visits. Feeding dogs snacks at the table is one of my husband’s love languages when it comes to his dogs. But in 2021 after realizing that was a main cause of the tummy troubles we implemented a new “rule” in our home that no human food was to be fed to our dogs. However, we kept a cup of dog food/kibble on the dinner table that was given as snacks – the dogs loved it as well as my husband.

By December 2021 both frenchies were old enough to breed so we wanted to try natural breeding first but had done our homework to find a local vet hospital that offered AI services along with a backup stud. Natural breeding failed as Rambo could not figure out what to do. A couple of vets told us that when males are born via AI they have no father figure to watch to know how to mate. We learned that the hard way so we had to implement our backup AI/stud plan which was successful as they confirmed Blue to be pregnant about a month after the procedure and she had eight beautiful puppies via C-section in February. We had all of the stuff … whelping bed, heating pad, heat lamp, nursing bottles, etc. What we lacked was the experience needed for Frenchie puppies so unfortunately three died before we could turn them over to the stud’s owner to nurse and eventually sell. We let Blue stay at the breeder’s home to nurse the pups. She returned home by late March and she was a wreck – emotionally, mentally, and medically. It took about 4-6 weeks to get her back to her old self and fitting back in with our dogs.

Did I mention the fighting between our Frenchies that began around summer of 2021 and continued into Blue’s pregnancy? It would happen almost instantaneously and was always very intense. We would have to pull them apart while avoiding getting bit. One evening they began fighting while sitting on the couch with me and I was caught in the middle. I was bit on the arm. The skin wasn’t broken but it hurt quite a bit and I had a bruise. Also in 2021 Rambo began spotting frequently in the house. With the breeding issues, fighting, and spotting we agreed to have both frenchies fixed. That helped tremendously with the spotting and fighting.

Life was good the remainder of 2022 and the start of 2023. A stray cat began hanging around our house in summer 2023 and had kittens. We couldn’t bring ourselves to take them to a shelter so we had them all vaccinated, fixed and kept them. I’m not sure about frenchies in general, but ours despise cats. So that brought on a new kind of stress that we deal with every day but as long as the cats stay out of our fenced in backyard life is good.

Then on November 8, 2023 I noticed Blue acting funny as she just could not get settled on the dog bed she slept on. Then the next morning when I let them out to do their business she walked slowly down the 4-5 steps from our back porch into our yard, did her business, then sat down, then laid down. I knew something was wrong. I carried her into the house and told my husband about her odd behavior. She walked to and laid down on her dog bed but did not eat breakfast – again, very odd. I called the vet’s office as soon as they opened and made an afternoon appointment (the earliest they had). Around 11am she started squirming on her bed so I offered her food. She wouldn’t eat and I noticed she kept scooting around. So I reached down to stand her up and her back legs and feet were totally paralyzed … just hanging there like rubber. I took her to the vet, they diagnosed a probable herniated disc and gave surgery as the top option. I called my husband, we agreed to move forward and they had me rush Blue to emergency vet hospital about 20 miles away. Our vet called ahead so the vet hospital staff took her straight back. The neurologist agreed about the herniated disc and I gave the OK for the surgery. We were allowed to pick her up two days later along with pain meds, steroids, and meds to help her sleep. They wanted her on 24hr crate/kennel rest for 2 weeks allowing her 5-10mins per day for minor exercise (i.e., seeing if she could walk any with a lift harness). At the 2 week checkup they removed her staples and had her continue the 24hr crate/kennel rest for 2 more weeks. Her 4 week check up was this week. The surgeon said she looked good and released her. She can walk 5 minutes 4-5 times per day, then increase that time each week (i.e., 10 mins 4-5 times per day, etc). She can slowly rejoin our other dogs in January. Blue can walk OK on grass but she loses her footing a bit on our flooring. We are hopeful she can fully recover.

Lessons Learned
  1. Buying a Frenchie
Frenchies are adorable, sweet dogs and we dearly love ours. However, if you are considering purchasing a Frenchie make sure you understand the health issues they may face. With Blue’s surgery, the neurologist told me that frenchies are #2 on the list for herniated disc issues only behind Dachshunds. I did not know that until Blue’s surgery. Also make sure you understand the possible expenses associated with a Frenchie. I would say that we have spent much more on our frenchies than we expected.

  1. Tummy Troubles
Frenchies can have a lot of digestive issues as I have seen a lot of episodes of diarrhea and vomiting from feeding frenchies human food as well as feeding them quality foods that simply do not agree with them. For example, lamb-based dog food gave both of our frenchies diarrhea. Rambo has the same reaction to salmon-based food. If you do notice your Frenchie having tummy troubles, get it resolved within a day or so and don’t let it continue as it will only get worse. If your vet recommends or prescribes Pro-Pectalin, you can purchase it from Amazon. Also when I had tried vet recommendations for Rambo and he was still not better they told me to give him ½ tsp of psyllium husk (i.e., plain Metamucil) twice a day. This was very effective and I’ve used that for him several times since. With that said, you would want to check with your vet about giving that to your pet as well as dosage. Lastly, our dogs love, love, love canned green beans and our vet says they are good for them. So that is now the “treats” for our dogs.

  1. Fighting
Having our dogs fixed was the best thing we did to stop the fighting as our vet told me that testosterone in males can cause them to become more dominate with respect to food, toys and affection which were the three areas/situations where fighting had become rather frequent in our home. Having four dogs living in our home, I am prompt to address misbehavior but I also love on each of them daily.

  1. Breeding
Given our experience I highly recommend not trying to raise Frenchie puppies if you are a novice with the breed as we’ve been told by other breeders that they are different and require special knowledge/skill. We learned that the hard way. Personally, I would never want to go the AI/C-section route again with any female dog as Blue was confused and stressed when the puppies were born.

  1. Steps/Jumping
With Blue’s surgery I learned that sets of stairs and jumping on/off furniture, etc should be avoided. This month we plan to turn our back steps into a ramp.

  1. Socialization
Be sure to socialize your Frenchie as a puppy. I had heard about that but didn’t realize the importance of it at an early age for a dog. We did not do this and it is evident today when folks come to our home and when we take them off. Also I feel that socialization efforts would have helped them cope with other animals like cats better.
 

2bullymama

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Welcome to FBN! THANK YOU so very much for sharing your story.... it is all so very important for people to understand the uniqueness of the different breeds. A dog is not just a dog, they are all very different.

I pray Blue is healing up and all remains well with all your pups.
 
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