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How Much Exercise Does A French Bulldog Need?

How Much Exercise Does A French Bulldog Need?

Do you have an adult or puppy French Bulldog? Are you wondering how much exercise your French Bulldog needs? Here’s everything you need to know about French Bulldogs and exercise! 

How much exercise does a French Bulldog need? As adults, French Bulldogs need up to 60 minutes of exercise a day, split into two shorter walks. It’s best to keep things calm and relaxed so they don’t get out of breath. You should also include playtime and enrichment to keep them mentally stimulated. 

Read on to find out the best ways to exercise your French Bulldog, how much exercise a puppy needs in their first year, and what happens if you over exercise them.

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

How Much Exercise Does An Adult French Bulldog Need?

Most adult French Bulldogs should be exercised twice per day. You should aim for around 1 hour of exercise in total each day.

It’s a common misconception that because French Bulldogs are a small breed, they don’t require much exercise. But that’s just not the case! French Bulldogs are not only more than capable of going for walks, they actually enjoy exercise!

Whilst they may not require as much exercise as more high energy dog breeds, it’s still really important to give them plenty of exercise.

This helps them to maintain a healthy weight, gives them mental stimulation and lets them explore the world around them. 

Because of their flat faces, some French Bulldogs unfortunately suffer from breathing difficulties, particularly during high intensity exercise. So, it’s best to keep their exercise calm and relaxed, so they don’t get too over excited or out of breath.

By splitting your walks into shorter ones throughout the day, you can keep your French Bulldog calm, whilst still giving them the correct amount of exercise they need.

This is a better alternative to one long, high-intensity walk which may be more troublesome for them. 

French Bulldog sat outside on the grass with a speech bubble that says 'I love going for a walk'
French Bulldog going for a walk

How Much Exercise Does A French Bulldog Puppy Need?

A French Bulldog puppy needs 5 minutes of exercise for every month of their age. For example, a puppy that is 4 months old and learning to explore the outside world after injections should be limited to 20 minutes of formal exercise, up to twice a day. 

In addition to their formal walks, you can let your French Bulldog puppy play with toys and run around off leash throughout the day too. This provides them with mental stimulation, as well as physical exercise.

Just monitor your puppy for signs of fatigue and encourage them to rest regularly so they don’t get too overexerted. 

Try to stick to the 5 minte per month of age rule as much as possible. It’s important not to over-exercise a French Bulldog puppy during this crucial stage in their development. 

Even though your puppy needs to be exercised regularly to help build their muscles, too much exercise can be detrimental to their long-term joint development. 

So allow them plenty of opportunities to rest in-between exercising to give them chance to recover.

Walks for a French Bulldog puppy should involve lots of opportunities for them to sniff and explore their new world.

It also gives you a great opportunity to socialise your French Bulldog puppy with other dogs and new people too (after jabs of course!).

This helps to prepare them for the world outside their home, as well as providing them with the exercise they need. 

French Bulldog puppy standing on the grass on a walk with a speech bubble that says 'I love going for a walk'
French Bulldog puppy going for a walk

How Much Exercise Does A Senior French Bulldog Need?

As your French Bulldog ages, the amount of exercise they need naturally decreases. Although, this will vary for each individual dog.

But, if they appear stiff, slower than usual, begin dragging their feet, seem out of breath or tired, their walks may be too long. So be sure to keep an eye on your French Bulldog for signs they might be doing too much.

It’s important that any pain your senior French Bulldog may be in as a result of their age, is recognised swiftly and managed by a veterinary professional. Some will push themselves beyond their own limits, simply because they enjoy their walks so much.

It’s up to you to monitor them for any changes as they get older and adjust their exercise levels accordingly.

It’s best not to stop walking your senior French Bulldog completely though, as this can actually make any joint stiffness they’re suffering from worse. Instead, keep them moving gently and regularly for short periods of time.

Once your senior French Bulldog begins to lose their muscle strength, it can be difficult to recover this if they’ve got limited mobility.

By keeping them moving it keeps their joints and muscles in better condition, which can make them feel more comfortable when out and about.

What Are The Dangers of Over-Exercising A French Bulldog?

It’s possible that you can over-exercise your French Bulldog which can be extremely dangerous for their health.

Because French Bulldogs are classed as a Brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a flat face, this makes them prone to breathing issues. Basically, they can’t get enough oxygen into their bodies to cool down effectively.

This can quickly lead to overheating if you’re walking in hot or humid weather for long periods, or if the walk is high intensity.

You’ll be able to recognise your own French Bulldog’s limits, which may differ from other dogs of the same breed.

It’s vital that not only do you keep an eye on the weather, but that you can also recognise the signs your French Bulldog is overheating. This way, you can get help as quickly as possible.

Heatstroke is a potentially life-threatening emergency for your French Bulldog, so you must always be on high alert for the warning signs.

If you notice any of the following signs then get veterinary help for your French Bulldog as soon as possible:

  • Heavy, repetitive panting
  • Fast heart rate
  • Weakness of the legs, struggling to stand
  • Wide, glazed, or blood shot eyes
  • Changes to the colour of their gums and tongue (generally darker red)
  • Increased drooling or possibly vomiting
  • Seizures, in severe cases

If you regularly give your French Bulldog too much exercise then this can also cause them to get sore pads and paws, as well as them potentially developing more severe long-term issues with their muscles and joints.  

French Bulldog going for a walk in a field with a speech bubble that says 'I love going for a walk'
French Bulldog going for a walk

What Are The Dangers Of Under-Exercising A French Bulldog?

If your French Bulldog is not getting enough exercise, it can lead to them gaining weight. This in turn puts pressure on their joints as well as making it more difficult for them to breathe.

Unfortunately, many French Bulldogs already suffer from breathing difficulties, even if they’re the ideal weight. And the last thing you want to do is to make this issue even more challenging for them.

If your French Bulldog regularly doesn’t receive enough exercise, then their overall fitness levels will decrease.

It can take a while to get your French Bulldog back up to their maximum fitness level which could be detrimental to their overall wellbeing.

Because French Bulldogs are a clever breed, they’ll soon get bored if they don’t get enough exercise. This may lead to them developing behavioural issues such as separation anxiety, destructive behaviours and excessive barking. 

Is Physical Exercise Enough For A French Bulldog?

Even though it’s important to make sure your French Bulldog gets the right amount of physical exercise, you shouldn’t overlook their mental stimulation needs.

Mental stimulation and enrichment are equally as important to a French Bulldog’s wellbeing as physical exercise is.

By giving them enrichment activities such as lickmats, puzzle toys, hide and seek games and snuffle mats, you’ll be keeping their active minds busy, as well as their bodies.

Not only do French Bulldogs find these types of activities very enjoyable, they also help to minimise the risk of them being overexerted or over exercised. 

So there you have it! Adult French Bulldogs need up to 60 minutes of exercise a day made up of two or three walks. Puppies need 5 minutes exercise for every month of their age. Due to their flat faces and breathing difficulties, it’s best to keep things calm and relaxed so they don’t get out of breath. Take your time and allow them to sniff and explore, rather than go off at pace!

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