French Bulldog Paw Licking and Allergies

Hi Jan,

My French bulldog is 13 months old.  We have been battling some skin issues with her since she was 5 months old.  It started with a yeast infection in her right ear.  Since then she ahs had 3 infections in the same ear.  We try prescription washes and solutions, with little help of preventing the situation or solving the issue.

She also has a severe paw licking issue, and gets a pimple looking rash on the hairless part of her belly.  We feel bad for her and want to resolve this issue for her sake. I started her as a pup on the Whole Pet Diet, then moved onto the B.A.R.F. diet, and now per my vets request Royal Canine Hypo- Allergenic Hydrolyzed Protein dog food. The same symptoms have persisted.

We have had snow for about a month and I noticed that my dog wasn’t liking her paws as much.  I am starting to believe that she is allergic to grass. The second the snow melted away and grass appeared, her belly broke out in a rash again and the paw licking started up again.

My husband wants to treat her with the allergy injections, but it is costly. What would you recommend for your frenchie?

Thanks, Sara


Hi Sara,

I have a couple suggestions.  First, do not feed her that Royal Canin formula, it’s soy and I don’t think dogs are meant to eat soy.  Feed her something high quality (raw or other) that is not chicken based but rather venison or duck or salmon, etc.

Next, her condition could be contact allergies since she’s better in the snow when her paws get cleaned off. Be sure you are not using any harsh chemicals anywhere she walks.  Clean her bedding once a week with dye and chemical free detergent.

You can give her the allergy shots and she will look better for a while. But they are steroids and have very bad long term effects.  I do not recommend them except maybe for a very short time to get severe allergies under control.

Try giving her dye free children’s dose of Benadryl (pink box) instead.

For her ears, be sure you keep them dry.  Yeast thrives on moisture. Try using an ear cleaner like Oti-Clens several times a day until her symptoms subside.  It’s available at pet stores, follow directions on box.

Do not over bathe her, it will only increase allergic problems.

I have a lot more suggestions on how to treat allergies plus food recommendations in my French Bulldog Health System.

your bulldog pal,



  1. Morena
    March 11th, 2010 | 12:54 am

    If I can make a suggestion. My bulldog Tank had the same symptoms, recurring yeast infections in his ears and horrible paw licking. My vet suggested it could be a gluten allergy. We cut out all treats that had gluten, (his food was already gluten free) and the improvement is miraculous.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Jan
    March 11th, 2010 | 4:07 am

    Great tip – thanks!

  3. Trinity
    September 20th, 2010 | 3:26 pm

    Hi, my frenchie has been showing signs of allergies for quite some time now. I thought it was the food so i have tried everything. Now she is on raw turkey/veg, i noticed that she has been paw chewing rubbing her face on carpet and her ears are always infected. I have a cone that i put on her to stop it. she has to wear it 24/7. i feel so bad for her and just want to know how to fix it. if i use the Benadryl can i use for long time and will it help her symptoms.


  4. Jan
    September 21st, 2010 | 2:07 am

    There are many other allergens besides food that you should investigate. Is she being exposed to any chemicals in her environment such as carpet cleaner or fertilizer or pesticides or floor cleaners. Dogs are much closer to the ground than we are and they don’t wear shoes like we do so they can get exposed to many cleaning chemicals or lawn products just by walking on them and absorbing them through their paws.

    There are also seasonal pollens or grasses that can cause allergic reactions in dogs. Low dose Benadryl can help alleviate symptoms.

    You should do something about her ears. Keep them clean using an ear cleaner such as Oti-Clens which can be found at pet stores. Also clean her nose folds with witch hazel and keep them dry. Don’t bathe her too much as shampoos can be drying and contribute to her allergies.

  5. Wendy Berliner
    December 15th, 2010 | 7:30 am

    I have fond that putting a tshirt on my bulldog has helped her skin allergies. It is amazing how quickly her skin healed up. I believe that the combination of the sun and pollen was lethal and now she is doing great.

  6. Lee
    October 22nd, 2015 | 12:14 pm

    How much of the Children’s Benadryl do you give? Frenchie is 21 lbs, a little over a year old.

  7. Jan
    October 22nd, 2015 | 12:40 pm

    The dose is approximately 1mg per pound so your Frenchie is too small for a standard dose of dye free Benadryl (25mg). I give my 50lb Bulldog one dose. Unfortunately the Children’s Benadryl now comes only as a liquid with cherry flavor & dyes added so it’s not good for a dog. You might ask your vet if 25mg would be too much.

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