How to Properly Care for Your English Bulldog
So you have a new English Bulldog puppy? Congratulations! Now you need to know exactly how to care for the new addition to your family. In 2010, bulldogs were the 6th most popular dog, according to American Kennel Club Registration Statistics, most likely due to their gentle personalities, funny statures, and adorable wrinkles.
They are commonly used as mascots for sports teams, and are recognized as excellent family pets because of their tendency to form strong bonds with children. They are gentle and protective.
English Bulldogs are one of the most unique dogs around, but also require more care than most breeds. They are known to have a propensity for a number of health issues, so in order to properly care for your beloved friend, you must thoroughly understand their needs.
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Obesity is a Common Problem
Bulldogs have a tendency to sleep a lot, and do not require much exercise. This, coupled with their naturally stout, compact structure, puts them at high risk for weight issues. Generally, your dog should be at around 55 lbs. for a male, and 51 lbs. for a female.
Bulldogs have a reputation of overeating, so you should regularly monitor your dog’s food intake, and never leave food unattended. Bulldogs are also at greater risk of suffering a heat stroke, and being overweight puts them at an even greater risk of this. After your puppy reaches a year old, it is a good idea to put him or her on a reduced-fat dog food.
Additionally, because of your dog’s short legs and heavy, stout body, it is recommended that you use a food that includes Omega 3 fatty acids extracted from fish oil, as this has an anti-inflammatory action that promotes the health of the joints. Even though bulldogs have a tendency to look chubby, you should always be able to see a narrowing at the loins.
While they should not be over-exercised, they should still receive short, daily walks in order to keep their weight in check. If you feel your dog is overweight, it is important to see a veterinarian, who can advise you of a proper diet plan for your dog.
English Bulldogs are prone to respiratory problems, and are well known for their noisy snoring and snorting. They are a brachycephalic breed, which is Greek for “short-headed.”
Along with Boxers, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus, they have a squashed face with a very flat muzzle. This conformation is accompanied by a shortening of the upper airways, resulting in often noisy breathing. Due to the wrinkled skin around the nose, bulldogs have a constriction of the nostrils, which can play a role in noisy breathing as well.
Since heat exhaustion contributes to heavy breathing, it is recommended you keep your bulldog out of the heat, and always make sure they have plenty of drinking water.
One of the most popular aspects of the bulldog is their adorable wrinkles, but with that comes one of the most common health risks to the breed. Their folds trap humidity and heat, creating a favorable environment for bacterial, fungal, or parasite infections. To avoid infection, their wrinkles, folds, and ears must be cleaned daily. Wipe out the folds with a damp cloth, and then again with a dry cloth or paper towel.
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At the first sign of infection, antibacterial wipes should be used instead of the normal damp cloth. Don’t forget your dog’s curled tail! Bacteria can reach these tightly wound spaces, too. Tail folds should be cleaned regularly as well.
Don’t Forget the Basics!
While bulldogs require a large amount of extra care, it is important not to forget the basics! As with any other breed, they should be bathed and brushed regularly, given the proper medical check-ups including vaccinations and shots, and should be given daily affection.
Your bulldog has lots of love to give, and will be a great addition to your family. They require special care, but every bit of it is worth it to have such a gentle, friendly, and funny character to love.
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