Keeping you bulldog in tip-top shape is easiest with a daily spot check on 10 different areas prone to issues that can quickly get out of control.
Dry, chapped noses are part of a bulldog’s makeup, and those noses can crack and become crusty without proper care. Apply a daily dab of a natural moisturizer, such as hempseed oil, rosemary extract, almond oil or Vaseline. Shea nut butter and Vitamin E are two more options that double as natural sunscreens if you guys are planning a day in the sun.
Wrinkles, Folds and Ropes
Wrinkles act at the perfect pocket for moisture and germs that can quickly turn into bacteria and fungus. These painful and nasty infections often come with an unpleasant, yeasty or mildew-like odor, gunky buildup and a dark color on the skin or hair beneath the fold, wrinkle or rope. Daily cleaning is a must, and it can be as simple as a quick wipe of the wrinkle, folds and ropes to keep the bacteria and fungus at bay.
Eye irritations are big in bulldogs. If left untreated, your bulldog can end up scratching his eye or rubbing his face on hard surfaces to find relief, two moves that can result in permanent eye damage.
Keep his eyes clean with daily checks for:
- Gunk or boogers
- Redness or irritation
- Tear stains, or dark areas beneath the eye discussed in our Tear Stain guide. (Link here)
- Cherry eye, a prolapsed of the eye gland found mainly in puppies and discussed in our Cherry Eye guide. (Link here)
Daily ear checks can be spread out to once a week if your dog’s ears consistently appear clean. Otherwise, check ears daily for:
- Wax buildup
- Foul smells
- Redness and irritation
- Mites, ticks and fleas
Teeth and Gums
Gently lift up the area covering your bulldog’s gums to ensure his gums are a healthy pink color. Gums that are pale or white can indicate serious internal distress and merit an immediate trip to the vet.
Because bulldogs are prone to heart disease, keeping their teeth clean is vital. Untreated plaque buildup can make its way to your dog’s heart, contributing to serious cardiovascular stress.
Keep an eye out for dark spots around the teeth, cleaning them with a pet-safe toothpaste on any type of toothbrush. Professional teeth cleanings are recommended as regularly as you can afford them.
Steer clear of dental procedures that require anesthesia, which can pose a high risk for serious complications due to the bulldog’s compromised respiratory system.
Acne is common in bulldogs, typically starting when they hit puberty at 5 to 8 months of age and continuing into adulthood. The daily chin check should keep an eye out for:
- Little, pink bumps
- Any lesions oozing pus
- Redness or irritation
Baby wipes or hydrogen peroxide applied with a cotton swab can work for routine cleaning, but medication may be required for more serious issues. Severe chin acne merits a vet visit.
Skin and Coat
A full skin and coat check lets you check for any number of irregularities. Look for irritations, lumps or bumps, redness, open sores, odd discolorations, flaking, crusting and other signs of dryness.
Your dog’s coat should always be soft and shiny. Bathe your bulldog every two weeks to wash off irritants and use a moisture-infused shampoo and conditioner to keep the coat soft and healthy.
Since bulldogs are heavy shedders, use a dog brush or shedding tool to safely remove loose hair. Get a more in-depth look at keeping your bulldog’s skin healthy in our guide to Bulldog Skin Care. (Link here)
Bulldogs’ compromised anatomy makes it impossible for them to reach their genital areas to clean themselves. Gently clean the areas with a hypoallergenic flushable wipe every time your dog urinates. Keep an eye out for unusual discharge, odd smells, redness, spots or irritation, which are possible signs of potentially serious problems.
Most bulldogs have corkscrew tails that hug their bottoms, a prime place for feces to become trapped. Keep infection at bay by gently cleaning your bulldog’s bottom the same way you would wipe a human baby after every poop.
Bulldogs with tail pockets require daily cleaning of the pockets with a wet wipe or antibacterial solution while checking for strange odors, discoloration or irritation.
Stinky anal glands are another common problem. Learn more about bulldog anal gland expression here. (Link here)
Check in between your bulldog’s toes for redness, cysts, bumps, cuts or splinters. Pay special attention to the areas between the toes and underneath the paw pads when bathing your dog, as these areas are prone to sensitivity and irritation.
Your bulldog’s nails should be trimmed short, but not too short. Learn proper nail trimming with this helpful video
Weight gain can be a hefty issue with bulldogs, with each extra pound of weight equivalent to 50 pounds of pressure on your dog’s joints, ligaments and bones. Bulldogs’ low activity levels make it easy for them to rapidly gain weight, with some gaining 5 pounds in just a few weeks.
Constantly monitor your dog’s shape, activity level and body weight to ensure he stays in the healthy weight range for the best chances of a long and happy life. Get more info on bulldog diet in our complete guide to Bulldog Food and Nutrition. (Link here)
Exercise is an ideal option if your dog needs to lose weight, although bulldogs can’t perform exercise like most other breeds without the risk of injury or overheating. Check out a number of bulldog-safe activities that can help him improve strength and lose weight in our section on Exercising your Bulldog.