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The English bulldog is one of the most popular breeds in households across the entire world. However, they are also prone to a lot of health issues, which is why we’re come up with this comprehensive guide to bulldog health.
We’re going to talk about all things bulldog, including the common health issues, know more about their history, learn about their diet and exercise needs, and take a look at some of the best products to keep them healthy.
What Is a Bulldog?
Bulldogs, often known as English Bulldogs or British Bulldogs, is a type of medium-sized dog. It is characterized by wrinkled skin and a unique pushed-in nose, but also a muscular body.
The Kennel Club (United Kingdom), the American Kennel Club, and the United Kennel Club (both of them in the United States are responsible for breeding records. According to the American Kennel Club, they were the sixth most popular purebred household pet in the United States in 2017.
Bulldogs, like pit bulls, were bred to assist butchers in controlling livestock, however, bulldogs are most likely older than pit bulls, with a possible genesis in the fifth century in England. And much like the pit bull, their history is pretty barbaric.
The name of this dog breed is not a mere coincidence, as they were used in a “sport” known as bull baiting which, sadly, is exactly what it sounds like. The dogs were trained to latch on the nose of bulls until they were either killed or managed to pull the dog to the ground.
What is now one of the most adorable dog breeds out there was once raised to be highly aggressive, and dogs that weigh around 80-pounds were perfectly capable of bringing down a large bull. When this horrendous activity was prohibited in the UK, it was expected for the bulldog to become obsolete, and they would almost certainly be extinct today if not for their sale to Germany and the US.
Across the US, bulldogs were used for herding cattle and hogs, while Germans used them for crossbreeding, which eventually led to the birth of the boxer breed.
The bulldog has evolved into a popular companion, but is also a very popular business mascot, with one of the most recognized corporate bulldogs globally being connected with Mack Trucks. In the United States alone, the bulldog is the unofficial mascot of roughly four dozen institutions and 250 secondary schools, as well as the US Marines.
The English Bulldog’s low-slung, heft body, in combination with its broad shoulders, results in a low center of gravity, which enables the bulldog to stay close to the ground. This was initially advantageous for avoiding the bull’s horns. This capacity was critical for survival since it enabled the Bulldog to live another day.
The huge diameter of the dog’s head is equal to his shoulder height, providing ample space for strong muscles that were preeminent in the jaw area. Its unusual undershot bite enabled it to cling to the bull with incredible tenacity, despite being severely tossed and battered by the ferocious bull.
Additionally, the Bulldog needs to be agile and capable of quick leaps, which explains its astonishing dexterity. The coat is glossy and silky and comes in a variety of typical hues, including yellow, white, red, or a mixture of all these.
One of the most amazing things about the bulldog is that it has such a loving personality, in spite of its rather violent history. Despite its early harsh upbringing, the Bulldog has always retained a reserved demeanor outside the ring, as befits its British ancestors.
Dedicated, patient, and obedient, the Bulldog has consistently been a beloved animal friend throughout the years. Loving to please its owner, the Bulldog retains its own distinct brand of tenacity, maintaining its own counsel once it has made up its mind.
Bulldogs are admired for their patience and devotion toward youngsters, which makes them wonderful family pets. Most are also courteous to strangers, or at the very least are indifferent to people they’ve never met before.
While some individuals may be antagonistic toward unknown canines, the breed is agreeable with the majority of home pets. Due to its appearance, the Bulldog is incorrectly referred to as a “sourmug.” In reality, the Bulldog is a funny, joyful, and endearing animal.
Common Bulldog Health Issues
While adorable and with heartwarming personalities, bulldogs are pretty prone to a series of health complications. In the following paragraphs, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the health problems that bulldogs are likely to experience across their lifetime.
- Elongated soft palate
- Stenotic nares
When examining the core causes of health problems in bulldogs, it is clear that upper airway anomalies induced by Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAC, for short) cause significant havoc.
Nobody wants their dog to struggle to breathe yet breathing can be a significant issue for bulldogs. Selective breeding-induced genetic defects have a substantial effect on your pup’s airways. The following are some of the most frequently encountered breathing difficulties in English Bulldogs:
Elongated Soft Palate
In Brachycephalic dogs, the soft palate frequently stretches into the airway, causing breathing problems for this particular breed. A protruding soft palate adds resistance to the airway. Additionally, as pressure accumulates, it might result in edema, or palate expansion, which makes the airways narrower.
This condition happens when your puppy’s nostrils are narrow or pinched, making it difficult for him to breathe. You are aware of this situation as a result of that signature. Snore and snort the bully. If this could put your dog’s life at risk, your veterinarian may prescribe nostril widening surgery.
Pneumonia is caused by irritation of the lower respiratory tracts. This inflammation occurs most frequently when your dog inhales regurgitation or vomit and can result in severe lung and surrounding tissue damage.
Skin infections are another common problem amongst this adorable dog breed, even long-haired French bulldogs, with the most common skin-related problems being:
- Eczema, often known as “canine atopic dermatitis,” is the most prevalent skin condition among bulldogs. It results in itchy, dry skin that might develop into a scaly rash. The most common reasons are stress, allergies, and insect stings.
- Additionally, bacterial infections such as dermatitis or pyoderma can arise. These infections can be superficial or penetrate deeper into the skin.
- Hot spots, also known as “acute moist dermatitis,” are basically an allergic reaction caused by a variety of skin irritants such as insect bites and parasites. They manifest as circular blisters on the skin. English bulldogs can also develop acne as a result of clogged pores.
- Bulldogs are also prone to interdigital cysts. Cysts develop between the toes and expand to the size of big pimples. Cysts can be treated with a simple cleaning, but caution should be exercised to avoid overdoing it. Excessive cleaning can exacerbate the problem.
The most effective technique to keep your puppy from scratching is to anticipate it. Regularly bathe your English bulldog and try lotions and shampoos with medication that are formulated specifically for bulldogs. You may also wish to incorporate some stress-relieving and immunity-boosting supplements into their regimen.
Body Temperature Problems
Since bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs, they have difficulty panting adequately, which is necessary for body temperature regulation. You must maintain a comfortable temperature for your English bulldog. You want to make sure that your home has air conditioning, and you should also avoid taking your pooch out in hot weather.
When your bulldogs begin to show signs of overheating, they will start making odd noises coming from the throat, have a flappy and discolored tongue, experience heavy panting, and could even start foaming at the mouth.
To avoid overheating, provide a ventilated sleeping area for your pet and monitor their activity in temperatures above 80 degrees. Here is what you have to do if your bulldog shows signs of overheating:
- Give your bulldog a bath in cold water and pour some over their heads to help them cool down.
- Give them plenty of cold water to stay properly hydrated.
- Make sure they are not exposed to direct sun and take them out of excessive heat situations.
- Make sure they benefit from a sufficient amount of airflow.
BAS is short for “ Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome”. Brachycephalic is a Latin term that describes that smooshed face that’s characteristics to this breed (kind of the same you see in Persian cats). BAS is prevalent in animals with reduced facial characteristics, which results in a pushed-in nose, and it’s something that every bulldog suffers from.
Their nostrils are narrower, and their facial bones are shorter, posing a variety of health risks, including difficulty eating, intolerance to exercise, or panting/breathing problems.
Dogs that suffer from obesity are more likely to experience symptoms of BAS, which means that a bulldog’s diet should be carefully monitored. It is recommended that dogs of Brachycephalic breeds with moderate signs of BAS be handled by avoiding stress and excessive heat, and their owners need to make sure the dogs are getting enough exercise.
Because of their genetic make-up, bulldogs are prone to developing food and skin allergies throughout their lifetime.
English Bulldogs frequently develop allergies to generic food brands made with low-quality ingredients. Itchy skin, fecal problems, ear infections, and excessive shedding are among the symptoms.
Don’t feed them soy, corn, and artificial additives wherever possible, and consult your veterinarian about the best food brands to avoid bulldog allergies. Because English Bulldogs are prone to flatulence, it is critical to choose the correct food.
Allergic dermatitis is a common cause of skin illness in English Bulldogs. Your dog may be allergic to flea bites or allergens found in the environment, such as pollen and mold.
When dogs exhibit skin allergy symptoms, they will scratch and perhaps aggravate the situation by tearing the skin, resulting in further inflammation. It is recommended to treat skin inflammation promptly.
- Cherry Eye
- Brachycephalic Ocular Disease
- Dry Eye
As bulldogs get older, they are likely to experience a series of eye-related problems, such as the ones below. Daily eye care for your bully can help prevent ocular disease.
The majority of issues arise as a result of their shallow eyes allowing debris to enter, so clean your puppy’s eyes routinely using bulldog-specific vision medicine. Keep a lookout for symptoms of eye illness such as runny eyes and discharge.
The most prevalent eyesight impairment in English bulldogs is the cherry eye. It is considered a very minor problem caused by an expansion and subsequent protrusion of the third eyelid gland. It appears as a bulging red lump at the corner of the eye.
Brachycephalic Ocular Disease
English bulldogs suffer from brachycephalic ocular illness as a result of their facial abnormality. Bulldogs are prone to a variety of ocular disorders due to their small eye pockets, which allow dust and debris to enter.
As the aqueous fluid in your bulldog’s eyes decreases, they are prone to having dry eyes. One of the benefits of crying is that it clears eye contaminants, so a dog with dry eyes is likely to end up suffering from irritations which can eventually lead to more severe eye-related problems.
Thyroid & Heart Disease
Selective breeding-related health difficulties have also resulted in problems with the internal organs. Hyperthyroidism occurs as the thyroid begins to slow down, resulting in decreased thyroxine synthesis, the hormone responsible for metabolism regulation.
Pulmonary stenosis is the most common type of heart defect in English Bulldogs. Pulmonary stenosis, according to UFAW, is a “congenital narrowing or restriction of the right side of the heart’s output.” It restricts blood flow and may result in cardiac failure or death. Regular heart exams at checkups can help detect this condition early.
Hyperthyroidism is effectively treated with drugs that regulate hormone levels. In terms of the heart, pulmonary stenosis can be surgically treated by inserting a balloon into the constricted area to enhance blood flow. Your veterinarian will choose the best course of action for dealing with your bully.
How Much Exercise Does a Bulldog Need?
Don’t let the appearance and the lazy nature of the bulldog fool you: once they’re out that door, they can bolt out that door and show signs of incredible energy. Bulldogs should exercise a minimum of 20 minutes every day, with one hour being most recommended to keep the dog in top shape.
Best Toys for Bulldogs
Keep your little buddy happy and healthy by playing with him. But Bulldogs need tough toys. Here are some great suggestions.
Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone Dog Chew
Available in multiple sizes, this is a dog chew that uses real bacon to give it a flavor that your bulldog is bound to love. You’re going to have to do a good job in hiding this, as your four-legged companion will be all over it all the time.
The Wishbone has a curved shape and can easily be gripped by your dog’s paws, making it easy for your pooch to quickly grab and begin chewing. It tastes fantastic and can withstand rigorous chewing.
- Natural bacon flavor
- Easy to grab
- Multiple size options
- Not for aggressive chewers
MewaJump Dog Toys
With a solid rubber construction, this dog chew toy is safe and non-toxic, as well as highly robust and indestructible. It offers excellent assistance for heavier chewers for a longer period of time, which is sufficient to satisfy and ease their chewing impulses.
Cleaning the surface of the ring material is simple; simply rinse it with clean water or wipe it clean. The diameter is 5.51 inches, the thickness is 1.22 inches, and the weight is 270 grams, making it ideal for a variety of dog sizes and breeds, and particularly for bulldogs. It aids in the cleaning of teeth, the reduction of tartar and plaque, and the promotion of healthy gums and teeth.
- Easy to clean
- Made with natural rubber
- Non-toxic FDA-approved construction
- Not that suitable for larger breeds
VANFINE Dog Squeaky Toys
This non-toxic, durable, and environmentally-friendly rubber chew toy is soft and stretchy, making it an excellent product for your bulldog. It has an integrated squeaker which makes it more interesting for your dog, especially since they are attracted to these kinds of noises.
While no dog toy is completely indestructible, this one does come pretty close. For flavor and smell, the brand uses only 100 percent natural food ingredients. This canine chew in beef flavor meets your dog’s natural chewing tendencies.
- Multiple shape options
- Interesting squeaking sound
- Keeps dogs entertained
- Squeaker eventually fails
Feeko Dog Toys
This large dog bone toy assists dogs in meeting their instinctual needs and helps them release excess energy through gnawing and playing. This toy encourages healthy chewing habits and can be used to help your bulldog clean their teeth, train them, help them get enough exercise, and even help them fight boredom.
This toy measures 15 inches in length and weighs 2 pounds. Its shape is inspired by the chewing tendencies of dogs and is based on mechanical and technical concepts. It is made with flexible and non-toxic rubber, so it’s definitely safe for your pet to chew on.
- Safe natural rubber construction
- Unique and interesting shape
- Easy for dog and human to both grab
- Strong rubber smell
What Diet Does a Bulldog Need?
While your dog may have unique dietary requirements, a fully developed bulldog should preferably consume food twice daily, with one meal being early in the morning and another one later in the day.
As dogs age, it is generally recommended that they be fed twice daily. Consult your veterinarian regarding your puppy’s and dog’s individual needs. When determining which food is ideal for your dog, seek a brand that considers both nutritional requirements and other aspects such as age and activity level.
Choose high-quality ingredients for your dog’s nutrition, so you can ensure his or her health and longevity with you. Develop a plan that emphasizes nutrition and exercise, and always consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet.
When it comes to knowing more about your bulldog’s nutrition, the following information should help:
- Protein in your dog’s diet aids in the development, repair, and maintenance of the pup’s muscular system. Proteins are essential for your dog’s general health, and it is estimated that your dog requires two grams of protein for every pound he weighs.
- Carbohydrates operate as a quick-acting energy source, helping your dog become more active. Carbohydrates assist in digestion by adding fiber to your dog’s diet. Additionally, carbs may contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Rather than the faster-burning carbs that give main energy, fats function as delayed energy stores. Additionally, fats aid in your dog’s cognitive function, provide sheen and shine to their coat, and help keep their coat and skin healthy
- Minerals and vitamins work to strengthen the immune system, aid muscle contraction, and support neurological function.
- Magnesium, calcium, salt, potassium, and zinc all have unique properties, but in general, minerals aid in the fight against illness, stimulate bone and tooth formation and enhance overall health.
- Water aids in temperature regulation, nutrient movement throughout the endocrine system, neuron activity, metabolism, and waste elimination.
Best Dog Food for Bulldogs
These are all brands that I’ve tried and tested with my bulldog, and she loved every one of them.
Royal Canin Bulldog Adult Breed
Made particularly for bulldogs and by one of the best pet food brands in the world, this Royal Canin dog food checks off all the right boxes for those who want to feed their bulldogs only high-quality food. The food will easily fit into the bulldog’s jaw and be very easy to chew.
Proteins that are well digested, have good fiber content, and have high-quality carbs all contribute to a healthy digestive system and help reduce gas and those unforgiving stool odors. Additionally, appropriate EPA and DHA levels promote joint and bone health, while also assisting your bulldog in maintaining an ideal weight.
- Formulated for bulldogs
- Reduces stool odors and gas
- Rich in fibers and essential nutrients
- Not hypoallergenic
Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo meals are never made with anything but actual meat as the initial component. With this food, your bulldog will get high-quality protein derived from genuine chicken aids in the development and maintenance of healthy muscles. Additionally, it contains nutritious whole grains, garden vegetables, and fruit.
This dry dog food contains important proteins and carbs to assist adult dogs fulfill their energy demands, as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support a lustrous coat and healthy skin.
- Filled with nutrients
- Contains healthy fatty acids
- Helps build strong muscles
- Complaints about inconsistent quality
Amazon Brand Dry Dog/Puppy Food
The Wag Amazon Brands dog food is formulated with peas, lentils, omega-3 fatty acids, and other ingredients that help your puppy stay happy, healthy, and well-fed. Genuine American beef is used to create this delectable combination for your pooch. It doesn’t have any wheat, corn, or added grain, as is free of chemical preservatives.
- Made with real beef
- 35% protein per serve
- Quality tested batches
- Small kibbles, not suitable for large dogs
What Is the Ideal Weight for a Bulldog?
Male English Bulldogs weigh between 50 and 55 pounds and are around 14 to 16 inches in height at maturity. A fully developed female English Bulldog weighs approximately ten pounds less, between 40 and 44 pounds, and grows as tall as 12 to 14 inches.
If you got your English Bulldog from a breeder, inquire about how tall and heavy your bulldog could end up being. The bulldog’s parents and their past litters should provide sufficient information so that the breeder can estimate the size of your future adult bulldog. Because dogs rarely outgrow their parents, this will give you an approximation of their final adult size.
In order for your bulldog to get enough exercise, experts recommend the following:
- Walking – You should take walks that are long enough to raise your bulldog’s heart rate, allow them to investigate their surroundings, yet not be too strenuous. At any one time, 30 to 40 minutes is excellent.
- Tug-of-war – Bulldogs have a reputation for having strong jaws, so play a game of tug-of-war to allow them to get some exercise and train those jaws.
- Fetch – This is the perfect excuse to get your bulldog to exercise, but make sure you don’t throw the ball, disc, or stick too far, as the bulldogs will lose interest in them and burn out pretty fast.
Best Vitamin Supplements for Bulldogs
Sometimes they just need a little boost in their diets or help to get over an infection. My bulldog has tried every one of these and loved them. But the Natural Dog Company Multivitamin Supplement was her favorite.
Healthy Breeds Multivitamin Daily Dietary Supplement
If you were looking for healthy daily supplements for your bulldog to stay healthy, this one by Healthy Breeds is a pretty good option. They are soft and easy to chew, and formulated using antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are suitable for more than 200 dog breeds and work really well as part of a bulldog’s diet.
- Soft and easy to chew
- Made with minerals and vitamins.
- Suitable for >200 dog breeds
- Not all dogs like them
Natural Dog Company Multivitamin Supplement
Formulated with important fatty acids and antioxidant-rich nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, cod liver oil, hemp seed, and turmeric, which act synergistically to promote digestion and heart health, as well as cell function and immune system, these supplements are amazing! With these supplements, your bulldog can end up having a healthy coat and skin, less inflammation, and good joint and hip function.
- Contains 35 vitamins and minerals
- Made with organic ingredients
- Some dogs dislike the taste
Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs
These are supplemental chews made with quality ingredients and rich in multivitamins that boost physical performance. They will help promote joint and hip health, as well as a powerful immune system, skin, liver, and heart health. They are formulated to be good for bulldogs that have sensitive skin and contain ingredients such as vitamin E and cod liver fish oil.
- Promote heart and liver health
- Made with natural ingredients
- No added grains
- Not the best smell
Best Shampoo for Bulldogs
Due to their small quill-like fur, frequent bathing can actually make the matter worse. My local groomer suggested I use a dry shampoo for my bulldog. Now that I’ve used it, I’ll never go back. It’s amazing at keeping her fur clean and smelling great, without aggravating her skin issues.
Mighty Mutt Natural & Hypoallergenic Dry Shampoo
Since it’s best to avoid washing your bulldog with actual soap, here is a dry shampoo that might help out. Formulated using only four natural ingredients, this product doesn’t contain any phthalates, dyes, or parabens, which helps protect your dog’s coat and skin. It has a tearless hypoallergenic formula, so your dog is less likely to be bothered by “bath” time.
- Natural ingredients
- No-tear formula.
- Strong scent
Burt’s Bees for Dogs
Burt’s Bees Shampoo cleanses, softens, and soothes the dry skin of your dog and conditioning the coat for a fantastic shine. All-natural components include apples, which is good for the skin, and honey, which promotes shine. Allow your dog to dry after spraying from the back of the ears to the tail
- Proper pH balance
- Safe-to-use formula
- Makes the coat shiny
- No pleasant after scent
Warren London Dry & Waterless Shampoo
This waterless shampoo spray for dogs is a convenient and quick method to clean on the go. It is very easy to use, as all you have to do is apply this product even in between baths to give your dog’s coat a nice shine. It has a formula that’s also safe for cats, so if you have multiple pets, there’s no need to purchase another type of shampoo.
- Neutralizes odors
- Gentle formula, good for dry and itchy skin
- Easy to use
- No pleasant after scent
Answer: A variety of different studies have shown that bulldogs live around 8 to 9 years, on average. The English bulldog, like any other breed, has a variable lifetime. Numerous research examines their longevity. Regrettably, the English bulldog’s typical lifespan is not particularly lengthy.
Answer: Every bulldog needs to be bathed and brushed on a regular basis. You can bathe this kind yet brave dog as often as once a week or no more than once every six weeks, depending on how he lives.
Answer: There are many reasons why a bulldog can emit a foul odor, including flatulence, anal gland secretions, food or seasonal allergies, sweaty feet, or even ear infections.
The Bottom Line
Caring for a bulldog isn’t always an easy task, but these lazy bundles of joy are lovable, loyal, and great with children. To keep your bulldog healthy, make sure you understand everything about their needs, body shape, potential health issues, and know what they need and when they need it. Do you take proper care of your bulldog? I hope this guide helped you! And for more tips on bulldogs such as the best pet insurance for bulldogs, check out our site!