Bulldog Breed Maintenance
In some regards, Bulldogs are quite simple to look after. Their coats only need brushing once a week and their face should be wiped with a damp cloth once a day. Be sure to wipe in the folds of their skin to remove debris and check that there’s no inflammation, sores, or parasites lurking. These folds should be dried afterwards to stop bacteria from festering in wet pockets.
There are some regular habits that parents should get into the habit of regardless of the breed in question — this includes clipping nails and brushing teeth. Starting this early in life will help your Bulldog get used to these tasks.
When it comes to exercise, Bulldogs only need half an hour’s activity a day and no more than five miles’ walking a week. During hotter parts of the year, this should be during cooler parts of the day or even just inside — this will prevent overheating.And as you can probably guess from their rotund build, the Bulldog is not a natural swimmer, so should be kept away from open water.
Bulldog Health Risks
A responsible pet parent will only deal with breeders that carry out screening for joint, heart and eye screening on their animals. This lowers the risk of Bulldog puppies from suffering from diseases later on in life.
However, this isn’t a failsafe method of ensuring a healthy dog and there are certain conditions to which a Bulldog is more predisposed to suffering. Some of these are down to their unusual anatomy, but others are genetic hand-me-downs.
A Bulldog’s squished face and upturned nose can make them prone to Brachycephalic Syndrome, which is when a dog’s deformed airway makes it difficult for them to breathe and more susceptible to respiratory infections. You might also see them purring or reverse-sneezing — things that might look cute but are actually a cause for concern.
Their facial physiology also makes Bulldogs particularly unsuited to hot environments and they can overheat, even after as little as 30 minutes in 85°F temperature. Pet parents need to ensure their Bulldogs have access to a cool space and lots of water during the warmer months.
If respiratory symptoms get especially bad, a vet might be able to carry out surgery to clear the passages, but this might not be a suitable option for every dog. Lifestyle changes can be made, including keeping your pet at a healthy weight and using a donut bed to aid breathing during sleep.
One of the most effective ways to avoid Brachycephalic Syndrome is to only get dogs from breeders that actively seek to avoid producing animals with breathing difficulties, rather than those that prioritize a dog’s pedigree appearance over their welfare.
Like many other breeds, Bulldogs aren’t immune from developing joint problems at some point in their lives.
One of these that’s common in smaller breeds is patellar luxation, which is when one of the kneecaps begins to regularly pop out of the socket as they walk. You might see your dog intermittently hopping or skipping, as well as stiffness in their hindquarters.
Mild cases of the condition can often be treated with a combination of pain relief and physiotherapy, but more severe instances might require surgical intervention to correct the problem.
Another issue Bulldog breeds sometimes face is hip dysplasia, which is when the hip bone and socket stop moving smoothly with one another and friction arises in the joint. This can lead to reduced mobility, pain, and occasionally sleeping in a sitting-up position. However, it can usually be treated successfully by a vet with medication or surgery.
One factor that reduces the likelihood of both of these conditions from developing is ensuring a Bulldog is a healthy weight, as obesity can put more pressure on joints.
Another medical complaint frequently spotted in Bulldogs is Demodectic Mange, This happens when a dog’s immune system is unable to fend off rough microscopic mites, which irritate the skin and can lead to infection.
Due to their short coat, you should be able to spot signs of this quite easily — look out for hairless patches, inflammation, excessively oily skin, crusting or swelling of the paws.
Demodectic Mange can usually be treated successfully by a vet with cream, shampoos and medication. The recovery time depends on the severity of the skin condition and the stage at which it’s caught.
Many medical conditions are easier to treat if caught earlier, which is where the regular examinations and tests that form part of a wellness plan really make a difference.
What’s the Best Food For a Bulldog?
Meals high in protein, vegetables and nutrients are the best type of dog foods for a Bulldog, as they will encourage a healthy weight. As a breed prone to obesity, parents need to carefully watch the amount their Bulldog eats — so the quality of the food is important.
If you’re ever in need of inspiration when it comes to what to feed your pet, our partner Dog Food Advisor has a huge collection of lists outlining recommended recipes for different breeds and sizes.