Family - Pets
By: - at July 5, 2013

Caring for an English Bulldog: Tips and Basic Info

The Ancestry of the English Bulldog
English BulldogThe earliest ancestors of the English Bulldog were dogs that were mastiff-like in appearance who were known as the Molossians. They were used for hunting, guarding, and herding activities by the Greeks and Romans. Later, in the Middle Ages, the dogs were used for bull-baiting events in Britain.

A Little Bit about the Dog’s History
In the early 19th century, bull-baiting was declared illegal. Therefore the Bulldog's ancestors were no longer needed for fighting bulls. Through the practice of selective breeding, breeders worked to get rid of the dog’s aggressiveness while keeping its physical attributes intact. These efforts led to the American Kennel Club's endorsement of the English Bulldog in 1886.

Bulldog Related Breeds
Besides the English Bulldog, Bulldog related breeds include the American Bulldog, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Old English Bulldogge, the Banter Bulldogge, the Boston Terrier, the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, the French Bulldog, and the Valley Bulldog.

Physical Characteristics
Bulldogs exhibit coats that can be red brindle, light yellow, white, or fawn, or a mix of any one or more of the mentioned hues. Featuring broad jaws and underbites, the compact, short-legged canines are both friendly and gentle and are much more amiable than what you’d surmise by their appearance. Growing about a foot to a foot and a half long, the dogs weigh, on average, around 50 pounds.

The Ideal Dog for a Small Space
English Bulldog Couch PotatoBecause it dislikes excessive exercise and conveys a calm and patient demeanor, the dog is the ideal pet for a couch potato or anyone who lives in a small space, such as an apartment.

A Kid-and-Family-Friendly Canine
The dogs are also kid-friendly as well. They enjoy playing with kids and, unlike some dogs, do not exhibit any kind of overt aggressiveness. Therefore, they make a good pet for a family. While the dog is energetic and spirited as a youngster, it tends to become more and more laid-back with the passing of time. Dogs in the breed live about ten years.

Keep the Dog Exercised
Even though they may possess certain health issues, English Bulldogs, all in all, are easy-care pets. That’s because they often stay planted in the same spot most of the time. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be walked and exercised daily. Exercise is a necessity, especially since the stocky canines tend to put on weight more easily than other dogs.

Introducing a Bulldog Puppy into Your Household
When you bring a Bulldog puppy home, you should also have a copy of the dog’s pedigree and a record of immunizations and wormings. Bulldogs, when pups, need a lot in the way of cuddling, rest, and nutrition. Help your pup easily transition into his new home by obtaining the feeding routine of the breeder and following it. Use the same food and supplementation and set up a regular feeding place for your puppy. Establish a separate sleeping area for him as well. During the first week, take your pup to a vet along with his immunization record.

Feeding Your Dog
Feeding English Bulldog PuppyBreeders of Bulldogs typically feed puppies from two to four months of age four times each day. Puppy kibble is made softer by adding lukewarm water. After the puppy turns four months old, taper down the feedings to three per day and reduce them down to two feedings by the time the dog reaches six months of age. After your dog matures, feed him once or twice a day. At that time too, switch his kibble from puppy food to dried adult dog food.

Make Changes Gradually
Make any food changes gradually by supplanting a small portion of the old dog food with the new food until the former food is entirely replaced. Use stainless steel food and water dishes instead of plastic. You’ll also want to buy a collar and lead. Make sure that both the collar and lead are lightweight and switch to a heavier leather lead when your dog becomes an adult.

Keep Plenty of Safe Chew Toys on Hand for Your Dog to Chew
Bulldogs don’t give up chewing things after puppyhood. So, make sure your Bulldog’s needs are met along these lines by supplying him with plenty in the way of safe toys that he can chew. Never give a Bulldog a toy that is made of rawhide as it can be fatal. Again, because the dog likes to chew, he can choke on the pieces. In addition to chew toys, you can also use larger balls (sized not to get lodged in the throat) or knotted socks for play activities.

Grooming Your Pet
Grooming English BulldogA grooming table and grooming supplies are must-haves as well and should include a brush with rubber or soft bristles, nail cutter, whisker scissors, tub, doggy shampoo and conditioner. Brush your dog’s hair three times a week, bathe him once a month, and trim his nails every couple weeks.

The Proper Way to Brush Your Dog’s Hair
You’ll find that your Bulldog will love getting brushed. Begin brushing by starting at the rear and brushing against the grain. Then brush your dog’s hair with the grain. Follow brushing with a towel rubdown, which will keep your dog’s hair looking its shiniest.

Brush your Bulldog more often when it sheds, during the spring and autumn, and give it rubdowns more frequently then as well. Because Bulldogs are susceptible to itchy skin and dermatitis, the brushings and rubdowns will get rid of the excess dead skin and hair and help distribute the dog’s natural oils.

Clipping Your Bulldog’s Nails
Trim your dog’s nails, again, every couple of weeks, clipping them short with either a scissors or guillotine kind of clippers. Whichever kind you use, make sure that the clippers are always sharp, replacing the tool whenever the blade begins to dull.

Be Careful Not to Cut to the Quick
Be very careful not to cut to the quick in the nail, or the pink end of the vein. If you walk your dog regularly, he’ll naturally wear his nails down so you won’t have to trim them as much. Dogs either have white or black nails. Black nails seemingly wear down more easily than the white nails do.

Flea Prevention Measures
Bulldogs can develop serious skin issues from fleas. Therefore, prevention is the best remedy. Change your dog’s bedding frequently and brush him often. Bulldogs are not fans of flea collars and therefore the necklaces are not the best solution for keeping fleas away from your pet. Instead, use a good flea shampoo or wash away soap residue with an anti-flea rinse. Flea dips and sprays, as suggested by your vet, also help deter the pests.

Cleaning and Smoothing Bulldog Wrinkles
Buy Vaseline to moisten your dog’s nose and soothe the wrinkles around his eyes. Ointment is also useful for cleaning other wrinkles and the ears. Use Q-tips for cleaning the ears or for administering medicines. Cotton balls are also helpful for applying medications or keeping water out of the dog’s ears while he is being bathed.

Cleaning the Tail Pocket
Bulldogs sometimes have a tail that is set inside a pocket. Therefore, the pocket will need to be cleaned and dried regularly too. Clean the pocket often with cotton balls so it’s more comfortable for your dog. Apply ointment after you dry the pocket with a soft towel.

Using a Crate: Make Sure It’s Made of Wire
Use a wire crate to housetrain your pet or for traveling. A wire crate is better with respect to air ventilation and circulation. To keep him well-hydrated, buy a stainless steel water dish that can hook to the side of the crate. Or, buy a safety harness for your dog if your car is too small to accommodate a crate.

Teaching Your Dog Basic Commands
English Bulldog Obediance TrainingBulldogs easily learn most of the basic commands, such as “Stay,” “Lie Down,” “Come,” and “Heel.” While the dogs are amiable and compliant, they do have a stubborn streak too. Therefore, make sure that the training you provide your dog is short in duration and fun. Offer an affectionate pat or a healthy treat when your dog responds to your given command.

Be Kind Yet Firm
Be kind yet firm when you’re training your Bulldog puppy. Only deal out soft reprimands when your dog doesn’t obey. For example, if your Bulldog pup does not do as it’s told, speak softly but sternly, ignore him, or give his leash a gentle pull.

Your Bulldog’s Bed
Bedding material for Bulldogs can range from dog beds to bedding in the form of cotton blankets or rugs. Don’t give your dog a bed frame made of whicker as the dog likes to chew and will eventually annihilate it. A faux sheepskin rug is a good choice as it is soft and you can easily wash it and keep it clean.

Housetraining Your Pet
When housetraining your dog, establish a regular routine. That means taking your dog outside to the same spot each day. Take him out after he gets up, after meals, about every two hours during his waking hours, and before he goes to sleep.

Always praise your pet when he goes on his spot and move out of the area as soon as he finishes. If you see your pet sniffing indoors, take him outside right away. Also, if he begins to defecate or urinate in the house, firmly say “NO!” and take him outside without delay. By practicing patience and sticking to a regular schedule, you’ll eventually get your Bulldog to go outside without any prompting.

Drooling Can Be An Issue
English Bulldogs tend to slobber every now and then, with drooling often occurring soon after the dog eats or drinks. Should it shake its body or head, watch out for a spit spray.

The Dogs Don’t Bark A Lot But They Do Make Other Sounds
English Bulldogs will not, like some dogs, bark to distraction. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily quiet. Again, because of their flat and short face, they often make snorting and wheezing sounds and frequently snore while they’re asleep.

The following video highlights some snoring Bulldogs:

A Dog with Special Health Needs
If you’ve just acquired or adopted an English Bulldog, then you already know the special canine also requires a specific kind of care. No doubt, Bulldogs have personalities and traits that are definitely unique to them. One of the major conditions that English Bulldogs suffer from is brachycephalic respiratory syndrome, which presents various health issues for several dog breeds.

Brachycephalic Syndrome: The Reason for the Condition
When you break down the word “brachycephalic,” it is translated into “brachy,” for “short” and “cephalic,” for “head.” Therefore, brachycephalic (short head) syndrome refers to a respiratory condition that affects dog breeds with flatter faces, such as the English Bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, or Boston Terrier.

Selective breeding has caused these dog breeds to have an upper jaw that is compressed and a lower jaw that is proportionate to their bodies. As a result, a dog with brachycephalic respiratory syndrome can possess certain physical anomalies that can compromise its respiration or ability to breathe.

Physical Anomalies Associated with Brachycephalic Syndrome

Pets with brachycephalic syndrome may possess one of the following physical anomalies:

  • An elongated soft palate. The palate, which flaps downward toward the throat, can cause the dog to snort or make similar sounds. While all brachycephalic dogs suffer from the deviation, it can be a major cause of breathing issues for an English Bulldog. If the dog barks or pants excessively, the throat can swell, which can lead to serious problems with respiration. To reduce the risk, surgery is recommended. Trimming the elongated flap will therefore lessen any snorting sounds and ease breathing difficulties.
     
  • Everted laryngeal saccules can develop when a Bulldog’s saccules or ventricles on its larynx turn inside out. The saccules are made up of two small pockets in the throat, which, if the dog has problems breathing, turn into protuberances. If surgery is indicated, then surgery for an elongated soft palate should be facilitated as well.
     
  • Stenotic nares are another physical characteristic of brachycephalic canine breeds. Stenotic nares refer to nostrils that are narrow or pinched, and are yet another reason why Bulldogs snore and snort. You can have the dog’s nostrils widened when you have it neutered or spayed. One of a number of resection methods can be used, including laser ablation.

Procedures Used for Widening the Bulldog’s Nostrils
Surgical procedures for widening the nostrils include the Trader’s technique (alar wing amputation), horizontal wedge, vertical wedge, and punch resection. None of the aforementioned techniques is advised over the other as the patient’s surgical needs and surgeon’s experience both play a part in the type of technique that is used.

However, that being said, laser ablation or state-of-the-art laser surgery provides a number of benefits, including less pain for the patient, reduced chance for infection, and quicker recovery.

The following video demonstrates laser surgery for stenotic nares:

Take Preventative Measures Early in Your Dog’s Life
If brachycephalic syndrome is not addressed in its first stages, then the condition can lead to collapse of the larynx and tracheostomy surgery. The procedure involves creating a hole in the neck for the trachea and inserting a tracheostomy tube.

English Bulldog short headBrachycephalic dogs, such as Bulldogs, can exhibit facial folds as well, all which can lead to skin irritations and dermatitis. Therefore, it’s important to clean and examine the folds regularly for any sign of infection or redness. The broad heads of English Bulldogs can present a problem during labor too. Typically, Caesarean section is recommended when a dam delivers its puppies.

Don’t Over-exercise Your Pet in the Summertime
While a Bulldog can suffer from breathing difficulties in hot temperatures, he usually fares quite well in a temperate climate. You just need to make sure that you do not compromise your dog’s health by allowing him to get too heavy or exercising him too much in the heat.

Lessening the Effects of Heat Stress
A dog that has a snout, or a dog whose face isn’t flat like a Bulldog's, can more efficiently pant in order to get cool. That's because a Bulldog must exert more effort in order to move the same quantity of air over the respiratory tract. As a result, the airways can become swollen after a while. That’s why heat stress can be more of a problem for a Bulldog than other pets.

When it’s especially hot, make sure that you keep your Bulldog in air conditioned environments and that he is kept well-hydrated. He should be consistently monitored when he’s outside in order to prevent heat stroke. Also, when the dog is a pup, get him used to eating cubes of ice – no doubt something he’ll appreciate in the summertime.

Conditions or symptoms related to a heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Red tongue
  • Confused behavior
  • Vomiting

What to Do if Your Dog Becomes Overheated
A Bulldog suffers from heat stroke when it can no longer maintain a normal temperature of approximately 101 degrees Fahrenheit. If the dog’s temperature rises above 106 degrees Fahrenheit, you have to act swiftly as the internal organs start to break down at this point. Also, just because a Bulldog may be in water, he can still overheat, especially if the water is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, if you believe your dog is overheated, hose him down with cool water or place him in cool water to lower his body temperature. Call your vet immediately for further assistance.

Major Health Conditions Associated with the Bulldog
Needless to say, veterinarian care is generally more expensive for a Bulldog pet as the dog is more prone than other breeds to suffer from such health conditions as an elongated soft palate, a small windpipe, allergies, heart problems, eyelid anomalies, corneal ulcers, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, head tremors, and dermatitis.

Wonderful, Companionable Pets
English Bulldogs make wonderful, companionable pets. Just make sure that you give your dog plenty of love and affection and become acquainted with a vet who understands the special health care needs the Bulldog breed requires.

The following video gives a brief summation or one more overview of the English Bulldog:


 

 

 

 

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