Often times, people ask us why English Bulldogs need rescuing. It’s a valid question, I must say. However, generally speaking purebred English Bulldogs are not easy, nor cheap to keep and care for. When adopting or caring for an English Bulldog, you may want to consider the following. Below is a list of things your pet store or breeder may not have told you.
English Bulldogs over heat very fast and have difficulty regulating their body temperature.
Therefore, they do not make good hiking, running or jogging companions. They must be kept indoors during the hot summer days and may go into heat stroke if not treated properly. The first signs ofheat exhaustion:
- Excessive panting and/or noisy breathing
- The skin on the inside of the ears becomes flushed and red.
- Heat Exhaustion can progress in to Heat Stroke, as indicated by:
- Blue/grey discoloration of gums
- Fainting – loss of consciousness Heat stroke is an emergency situation. If your dog shows signs of heat stroke, you must cool him down as rapidly as possible. Don’t wait for veterinary treatment. Heat Stroke is an Emergency – Treat the dog NOW! DO NOT try to force your dog to drink. His swelling airways can cause any liquid he takes in to be regurgitated and possibly aspirated into his lungs. However if a dogs temperature is 105 or higher rub a piece of ice on his tongue, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Hose the dog down with cool water – not cold. Apply an ice pack to the dog, and soaked towels or any other form of fabric to their body.
English Bulldogs are prone to skin infections.
- Eczema, or canine atopic dermatitis, is the most common skin problem in the English bulldog. Eczema is a non-parasitic infection that causes dry, itchy skin that often manifests in scaly bumps or open sores. Allergies, stress and insect bites can all cause eczema in the bulldog, which tends to be worse in the warm, summer months.
- Dermatitis, pyoderma and staph are bacterial skin infections that commonly affect the English bulldog. These infections can simply affect the skin surface or they can penetrate deeply into the skin. Allergies, insect bites or moisture in the dog’s skin folds can cause these infections.
- Seborrhea is another common skin condition with the English bulldog. Seborrhea causes the skin to become either excessively oily or excessively dry. Infections, either bacterial or fungal, can cause this condition. An infection may appear as inflamed patches of skin that emit a foul odor, and a veterinarian can usually treat an infection with an antibiotic.
- “Hot Spots,” also known as acute moist dermatitis, are round, hairless, itchy sores on the skin. Allergic reactions to insect bites, parasites, food and even anal gland problems can cause these spots. The English Bulldog can also be prone to acne, which is caused by dirt entering the pores of the skin. Allergic reactions can also cause this condition. Acne often affects younger bulldogs and appears as pimples or blackheads on the lips, chin and muzzle.
Knee and joint issues are common, and only made worse by jumping or skate boarding.
The condition called Luxating Patella means the knee is out of place or dislocated. The patella, or knee cap, should be located in the center of the knee joint. A luxating patella is a knee cap that moves out of its normal location. Some dogs can tolerate this problem for many years, some for all of their lives. This weakness in the knee predisposes the knee to other injuries, especially torn cruciate ligaments. With advancing age, arthritic changes may take place in the joint resulting in pain for the dog.
Hip dysplasia, a structural deformity of the hip joint, is also common in English bulldogs, as they tend to have looser joints than other breeds.
Hip dysplasia usually requires surgery. In addition, as this dog is typically a heavy breed, owners need to be careful not to exacerbate this problem by letting the dog jump off of objects such as furniture.
May have eye problems such as Entropian, Ectropion, Cherry Eye, Distichiasis, Dry Eye, Corneal Ulcer and Conjunctivitis.
Some of these symptoms may require surgery and can be painful if left untreated. Blindness may also occur.
Rear end/Tail problems are also common.
Tight tails or pocket tails require regular cleaning and can become infected. Some English Bulldogs have screw tails that may need to be removed due to pain or discomfort. The tighter the tail, the less air circulation there is which causes infections. Their anal glands can also be compacted which will require the attention of a vet. Pain and unpleasant smell can be associated with this procedure. Anal glands are the small glands to the left and right jus tbelow the dog’s anus. They normally secrete a little fluid onto the stools when they defecate.
English Bulldogs are Brachycephalic – which means flat faced.
This is often associated with some soft tissue features, pinched nostrils, elongated soft palate, and extra folds in the throat. These things combined are called the “Brachycephalic Syndrome” and they tend to obstruct their airway and interfere with his breathing. especially when hot, stressed or exercised. This is also what makes the bulldog snore. This heavy breathing will become even more pronounced when a bulldog is hot or during periods of exercise, or when the dog is excited or agitated. A bulldog may frequently gag in an attempt to clear their airway and occasionally bring up foam and saliva while eating or drinking. The harder he breathes, the greater the swelling and elongation of the soft palate you will see their tongue turn blue as a result and their breathing may be what you describe as a rattling noise. Surgery can be performed to correct this issue.
The folds in the wrinkles of their face and read end need to be cleaned frequently.
Bulldogs are not self cleaning, so they can not wipe their faces of goop or sweat collected in their folds. If left uncleaned, an infection can develop and can lead to skin problems.
English Bulldogs need to be fed high quality food due to their allergies and sensitivities to lower quality foods.
Some side effects of lower quality foods can lead to excess shedding, weaker joints, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive itchiness and lack of energy. They also have sensitive digestive systems and should not be over fed.
And last but not least, English Bulldogs are very stubborn.
Adult bulldogs are rather quiet and phlegmatic, spending much of their day snoring on the sofa. They do need ‘some’ exercise, preferably walks in cool weather. Untrained bulldogs can lead to dominant behavior and if not socialized properly, can lead to aggression issues with other dogs, food, toys and other possessions. They are stubborn and determined; their persistence means they will always try to get their own way. The good news is that all bulldogs are trainable and can become excellent companions.