Archive for the “Caring for Your English Bulldog” Category

Caring for Your English Bulldog.

English Bulldog - Bath Time

English Bulldogs do not need frequent baths, but instead need bathing when they are dirty. Frequent brushing will do much more for a healthy, shiny coat than bathing.
Most English Bulldogs really enjoy a bath, though. If your Bulldog is introduced to bathing when he is a puppy and is allowed to have fun during the process, he will enjoy the bath throughout his life.
Use baby shampoo or a shampoo made for dogs. A dog’s skin is more sensitive than yours, so do not use harsh shampoo, medicated shampoo, or flea shampoo unless directed by your veterinarian. Be careful, and avoid getting shampoo in his eyes, ears, or nose. Wash his face as you do each morning and bathe the rest of the dog starting at the shoulders and going to the tail. Rinse well.
Let the dog shake off the water, then lift him out of the tub and finish drying him off with a towel. I don’t like using a hair dryer, because the heat tends to dry the coat.

How to Get Rid of a Tick
Although many of the new generation of flea fighters are partially effective in killing ticks once they are on your dog, they are not 100 percent effective and will not keep ticks from biting your English Bulldog in the first place. During tick season (which, depending on where you live, can be spring, summer, and/or fall), examine your dog every day for ticks. Pay particular attention to your dog’s neck, behind the ears, the armpits, and the groin.
When you find a tick, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close as possible to the dog’s skin and pull it out using firm, steady pressure. Check to make sure you get the whole tick (mouth parts left in your dog’s skin can cause an infection), then wash the wound and dab it with a little antibiotic ointment. Watch for signs of inflammation.
Ticks carry very serious diseases that are transmittable to humans, so dispose of the tick safely. Never crush it between your fingers. Don’t flush it down the toilet either, because the tick will survive the trip and infect another animal. Instead, use the tweezers to place the tick in a tight-sealing jar or plastic dish with a little alcohol, put on the lid, and dispose of the container in an outdoor garbage can. Wash the tweezers thoroughly with hot water and alcohol.

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English Bulldog Grooming – Daily Ritual (Part II)Ears

Check the ears next. Observe the insides of the ears and look for dirt, excess wax, or any redness that might indicate an infection. A healthy ear will have a damp smell, while an infected ear will have a bad odor.
To clean the ears, fold one ear flap up over the dog’s head so that the ear flap rests on his head. Dampen a cotton ball with witch hazel and, using your finger, gently swab out the ear, getting the cotton ball into all the cracks and crevices of the ear. Do not reach into the ear canal. You may want to use two or three cotton balls per ear, especially if the ear is dirty. Leave the ear flap up for a moment or two so that the ear can dry. Then repeat on the other ear.

Eyes

If your English Bulldog’s eyes have some matter at the inside corners, just wipe them gently with a clean, damp cloth. If there is a continuing problem with excessive tearing or swollen lids, the lids may be turned in, a condition called entropion. In these situations, the eyelashes are rubbing against the surface of the eye, and this may require surgical intervention. See your veterinarian if you suspect this might be the case.

Those Hard-to-Reach Places

The Bulldogs wrinkle-covered face is certainly his trademark. But this is a trade-mark that requires daily care to keep the dog comfortable. Use mild soap (a soap you would use on your own face), warm water, and a soft cloth to wash between the wrinkles. Then dry the areas.
If your English Bulldog has a heavy nose wrinkle, lift it carefully and wash underneath, rinse, and dry. If it is especially dirty and inflamed, treat it with a medicated powder, baby powder, or cornstarch. It may be necessary to wash the wrinkles more than once a day. Use care and caution with powder. Be sure not to get any into the dog’s eyes or nose and be sure it does not contain poisonous substances.
While you are cleaning the wrinkles on the dog’s face, there are two more areas that must be cleaned. Most breeds of dogs care for their own personal hygiene by licking themselves. The Bulldog’s stocky body makes it impossible for most Bulldogs to lick their private parts.
The female cannot reach her vulva to keep it clean. So after all the wrinkles are washed, wash Lady English Bulldog’s private parts, rinse, dry, and powder if inflamed. If there is inflammation, watch closely for discharge or odor. If this persists, a visit to the veterinarian is in order.
Mr. Bulldog cannot take care of his own personal hygiene, either, so check the inside of his hind legs. If there is evidence of dirt or discharge, wash thoroughly with soap and water, rinse, and dry. As with the female, if inflammation is present or a discharge has a foul odor, have your veterinarian check his condition.
Finally, one more area is a English Bulldog problem. If his tail is tight to his body, twisted and curled almost in knots, or is totally absent, then regular inspection and cleansing is the order of the day. Cover your finger with a soft, warm, soapy cloth and get under the tail. You will discover there is loose hair and flaking skin and other debris under the tail where it emerges from the body. Cleanse carefully and gently –  dry and powder using whatever you used for wrinkles. Follow this same procedure in the knots and twists. If there is no tail, there is usually an indentation where the tail should be. This indentation will contain dead hair, dandruff, and other matter. This, too, must be cleaned.
Keeping this area clean and dry will help to prevent infection. A severely infected tail may have to be removed, which is expensive and painful. Prevention may be a nuisance, but it is less expensive for you, and certainly less painful for the dog, than treating an infection.

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English_Bulldog_Grooming_Daily_Ritual

Stand the English Bulldog puppy on a bench or table, or any flat surface that is the best height for your comfort. Assure the puppy that he isn’t being punished and this is a special time just for him. Note the sheen in his coat. Check for any bare spots in his coat or skin lesions. Are his eyes clear and free of discharge? Is his nose soft and free of crust? Are the insides of his ears smooth or is the skin rough, flaky, and inflamed? Note his feet – are they swollen, especially between his toes?
This seems like a lot of checking, but before you realize, it will become a regular habit to observe all these points, and you will immediately be aware of any abnormalities that can indicate potential problems.
English Bulldogs enjoy grooming because they are people dogs and enjoy anything that involves attention from those they love. Grooming is an exercise in observation and prevention, providing a healthy, happy, clean dog. I have recommended daily grooming, but if your skills of observation are keen and your dog does not have any problems, it is no sin to reduce the frequency to two or three times a week.

Brushing

The next step in the daily grooming ritual will be brushing. How much and how long will depend on the condition of the coat. Your dog’s coat is a good barometer of his health. Is the shedding minimal or is it excessive? If the shedding is not seasonal excess, then there must be another reason – stress, worms, fleas, diet? All these and more can cause excess shedding, and only your veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis.
Only seasonal shedding will subside on its own. Excessive loss of hair for other reasons must be treated. Excessive shedding leaves English Bulldog hair on the furniture, on your clothes, in fact everywhere. And Bulldog hair is difficult to get off, because it sticks.
A small pumice stone (two by four inches) helps remove the dead hair during heavy shedding. Brush with the stone in the direction of the hair growth. Complete the grooming with a slicker brush (a brush with many fine, slanted wire teeth) or a grooming glove (a cloth glove with textured pads on the palm), both of which can be purchased at a pet supply store. When the shedding is normal, a daily brushing with a slicker brush or grooming glove should be adequate. Loose hair, dandruff, and dirt will be removed, leaving the coat bright and shiny and the hair follicles stimulated.

New Products in the Fight Against Fleas
At one time, battling fleas meant exposing your English Bulldog and your-self to toxic dips, sprays, powders, and collars. But today there are flea preventives that work very well and are safe for your dog, you, and the environment. The two most common types are insect growth regulators (IGRs), which stop the immature flea from developing or maturing, and adult flea killers. To deal with an active infestation, experts usually recommend a product that has both.
These next-generation flea fighters generally come in one of two forms:
– Topical treatments or spotons. These products are applied to the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The product is absorbed through the skin into the dog’s system.
– Systemic products. This is a pill your dog swallows that transmits a chemical throughout the dog’s bloodstream. When a flea bites the dog, it picks up this chemical, which then prevents the flea’s eggs from developing.
Talk to your veterinarian about which product is best for your English Bulldog. Make sure you read all the labels and apply the products exactly as recommended, and that you check to make sure they are safe for puppies.

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Grooming Your English BulldogEnglish Bulldogs really enjoy being groomed (although some do protest nail trimming), and many especially enjoy taking baths. In fact, if you bathe your English Bulldog in the bathtub, be sure to close your bathroom door tightly when taking your own bath or he may try to share the tub with you.
The English Bulldog has a smooth, short coat and is naturally a reasonably clean dog. Because of this short coat, many people think grooming is not necessary. But even short coats need care.
Grooming your Bulldog should be regular and routine, just as it is for you. Don’t wait until your puppy has grown to get started. Instead, begin when he is young and he will grow up cooperative.

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Feeding English BulldogSome English Bulldog owners like to fill a bowl with dog food and leave it out all day, letting the dog munch at will. Although it may be convenient, it is not a good idea for several reasons. First of all, outdoors the bowl of food may attract birds, squirrels, and ants. Indoors, the food may attract ants, flies, and cockroaches. In addition, the food could become rancid.
When you are housetraining your puppy, free feeding makes it difficult to set up a routine. Your Bulldog puppy will need to relieve herself after eating, and if she munches all day long, you won’t be able to tell when she should go outside.
Last, but certainly not least, psychologically your dog needs to know that you are the giver of the food. How better for her to learn it than when you hand her a bowl twice a day? If the food is always available, you are not the one giving it. It’s always there –  at least as far as your dog is concerned.

How Much?

Each and every English Bulldog needs a different amount of food. When puppies are growing quickly they will need more food. When your English Bulldog is all grown up, if she continues eating that same amount of food, she will get fat. The dog’s individual body metabolism, activity rate, and lifestyle all affect her nutritional needs.
Most dog food manufacturers print a chart on the bag showing how much to feed your dog. It’s important to note that these are suggested guidelines. If your puppy or dog is soft, round, and fat, cut back on the food. If your dog is thin and always hungry, give her more food. A healthy, well-nourished dog will have bright eyes, an alert expression, a shiny coat, supple skin, and energy to work and play.

Meal Times

Most experts recommend that puppies eat two to three times a day. Most adult dogs do very well with two meals, ten or twelve hours apart, so feed your Bulldog after you eat breakfast and then again after you have dinner.
While you are eating, don’t feed your English Bulldog from the table or toss her scraps; it will cause her to beg from anyone at the table –  a very bad habit. Don’t toss her leftovers as you are cooking, either. That can lead to begging and even stealing in the kitchen. Bulldogs are bright enough to figure out how to open cupboard doors and are bold enough to raid the kitchen trash can.

Treats

An occasional dog biscuit or some training treats will not spoil your Bulldog’s appetite, but don’t get in the habit of offering treats just for the pleasure of it.
Many dogs are overweight, and obesity is a leading killer of English Bulldogs. Unfortunately, with their ever-present appetite and their love of comfort, Bulldogs do tend to gain weight easily.
When you do offer treats, offer either treats made specifically for dogs or something that is low in calories and nutritious, like a carrot. Don’t offer candy, cookies, leftover tacos, or anything like that. Your Bulldog doesn’t need sugar, chocolate is deadly for dogs, and spicy foods can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Play it safe and give your Bulldog good-quality nutritious snacks very sparingly.
If you are using treats to train your English Bulldog, use good ones – nutritious treats – and cut back on all other treats. Training treats can be tiny pieces of cooked meats such as chicken or beef; just dice the pieces very small. Cheese is also a great training treat. Cut it into tiny pieces, put it in a sandwich bag, and toss it in the freezer. Bring out a few frozen pieces for each training session. (Cheese is easy to handle when frozen, and your dog won’t mind).

Five Mistakes to Avoid
1. Don’t feed your English Bulldog chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, or any highly spiced, greasy, or salty foods. The first five can be toxic, and spicy or junk foods can lead to an upset stomach.
2. Don’t believe all the dog food advertising you see and hear. Keep in mind that advertising has one goal: to get you to buy that product.
3. If you change foods for any reason, don’t do it all at once. Mix the foods so that the dog has 25 percent new food and 75% old food for a week. Then feed half and half for a week. Finally, offer 75% new food and 25% old food for a week. This will decrease the chances of an upset stomach. If your Bulldog develops diarrhea during the switching process, you’re making the change too quickly.
4. Don’t feed your English Bulldog from the table. This will lead to begging and even stealing. Feed her in her own spot after the family has eaten.
5. Raw food diets are very popular, including those that recommend giving the dog raw bones. Be careful giving your English Bulldog any bones except raw beef knucklebones. Adult Bulldogs have powerful jaws and could crack, splinter, and ingest smaller bones with the potential of damage to the gastrointestinal system.

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English Bulldog - Homemade DietsEnglish Bulldog owners who feed homemade diets usually do so because they are concerned about the quality of commercially available foods. Some owners do not want their dogs eating the additives or preservatives that are in many commercial dog foods. Others cook their dog’s food so that they can control exactly what their English Bulldogs eat. Many people began making homemade diets for their dogs during and after the pet food recalls of 2007.

English Bulldog Food vs People Food
Many of the foods we eat are excellent sources of nutrients – after all, we do just fine on them. But dogs, like us, need the right combination of meat and other ingredients for a complete and balanced diet, and a bowl of meat doesn’t provide that. In the wild, dogs eat the fur, skin, bones, and guts of their prey, and even the contents of the stomach.
This doesn’t mean your dog can’t eat what you eat. A little meat, dairy, bread, some fruits, or vegetables as a treat are great. Just remember, we’re talking about the same food you eat, not the gristly, greasy leftovers you would normally toss in the trash. Stay away from sugar, too, and remember that chocolate and alcohol are toxic to English Bulldogs.
If you want to share your food with your Bulldog, be sure the total amount you give her each day doesn’t make up more than 15% of her diet, and that the rest of what you feed her is a top-quality complete and balanced dog food. (More people food could upset the balance of nutrients in the commercial food).
Can your dog eat an entirely homemade diet? Certainly, if you are willing to work at it. Any homemade diet will have to be carefully balanced, with all the right nutrients in just the right amounts. It requires a lot of research to make a proper homemade diet, but it can be done. It’s best to work with a veterinary nutritionist.

There are many resources now available to English Bulldog owners who wish to feed a homemade diet. Just make sure the diet is complete and contains all the nutrients your English Bulldog needs. Keep a line of communication open with your veterinarian so that they can monitor your dog’s continued good health.

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English Bulldog - Commercial Dog FoodsDog food sales in the United States are a huge business with tremendous com-petition among manufacturers. English Bulldog owners should understand that as a big business, the goals of these companies include making a profit. Although adver-tising may show a dog and owner in a warm and fuzzy, heart-tugging moment, the nutrition your dog might get from the food being advertised has nothing to do with that heart-tugging moment. It’s all about getting you to buy the food.

Reading English Bulldog Food Labels
Dog food labels are not always easy to read, but if you know what to look for, they can tell you a lot about what your dog is eating.
– The label should have a statement saying the dog food meets or exceeds the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines. If the dog food doesn’t meet AAFCO guidelines, it can’t be considered complete and balanced, and can cause nutritional deficiencies.
– The guaranteed analysis lists the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and water. AAFCO requires a minimum of 18 percent crude protein for adult dogs and 22% crude protein for puppies on a dry matter basis (that means with the water removed; canned foods will have less protein because they have more water). English Bulldog food must also have a minimum of 5 percent crude fat for adults and 8% crude fat for puppies.
– The ingredients list the most common item in the food first, and so on until you get to the least common item, which is listed last.
– Look for a dog food that lists an animal protein source first, such as chicken or poultry meal, beef or beef by-products, and that has other protein sources listed among the top five ingredients. That’s because a food that lists chicken, wheat, wheat gluten, corn, and wheat fiber as the first five ingredients has more chicken than wheat, but may not have more chicken than all the grain products put together.
– Other ingredients may include a carbohydrate source, fat, vitamins and minerals, preservatives, fiber, and sometimes other additives purported to be healthy.
– Some brands may add artificial colors, sugar, and fillers –  all of which should be avoided.

Read the dog food labels, check out the manufacturers’ Web sites, check the recall lists, and talk to dog food experts, including your veterinarian if they have a background in nutrition.
A good-quality food is necessary for your Bulldog’s health. Dog foods vary in quality, from the very good to the terrible. To make sure you are using a high-quality food, read the labels on the packages. Make sure the food offers the levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fats recommended earlier in this chapter.
Read the list of ingredients, too. If one of the first ingredients listed is by-products, be leery of the food. By-products are the parts of slaughtered animals that are not muscle meat –  lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, fatty tissue, stomach, and intestines. Dog food manufacturers can meet protein requirements by including by-products, but they are inferior forms of protein that do not metabolize as completely in the dog’s body.
English Bulldogs do well on a dog food that uses a muscle meat as the first ingredient. Muscle meats are listed on the label simply as beef, chicken, fish, and so on. Steer away from foods with a lot of soy or soy products, as these are thought to contribute to stomach gas, which can lead to bloat.

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English Bulldog – Nutritional Building Blocks (Part II)Vitamins

Vitamins are vital elements necessary for growth and the maintenance of life. There are two classes of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins are absorbed by the body during digestion using the water found in the dog’s food. Although it’s usually a good idea to allow the English Bulldog to drink water whenever she’s thirsty, additional water is not needed for digestion of these vitamins, because the water in the dog’s body is sufficient as long as the dog is not dehydrated. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted from the body in the urine, so it’s difficult to oversupplement these vitamins – although too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
The B vitamins serve a number of functions, including the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. The B vitamins are involved in many biochemical processes, and deficiencies can show up as weight loss, slow growth, dry and flaky skin, or anemia, depending on the specific deficiency. The B vitamins can be obtained from meat and dairy products, beans, and eggs.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and, at the same time, a controversial vitamin. Some respected sources state that it is not a required dietary supplement for dogs, yet others regard C as a miracle vitamin. Some feel it can help prevent hip dysplasia and other potential problems, but these claims have not been proven. Dogs can produce a certain amount of vitamin C in their bodies, but this amount is often not sufficient, especially if the dog is under stress from work, injury, or illness.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins require some fats in the dog’s diet for adequate absorption. Fats are in the meat in your dog’s diet and are added to commercial dog foods. Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat. Excess vitamins of this type can cause problems, including toxicity. These vitamins should be added to the diet with care.
Vitamin A deficiencies show up as slow or retarded growth, reproductive failure, and skin and vision problems. Green and yellow vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A, as are carrots, fish oils, and animal livers. The vegetables should be lightly cooked so that the dog can digest them.
Vitamin D is needed for the correct absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and is necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth and for muscle strength. Many dogs will produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; however, often that is not enough, and supplementation is needed. Balanced dog foods will generally have vitamin D in sufficient quantities.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that also works with several enzymes in the body. It has been shown to be effective in maintaining heart health and the immune system. It is also vital to other bodily systems, including the blood, nerves, muscles, and skin.
Vitamin K is needed for the proper clotting of blood. It is also important for healthy bones. Vitamin K is produced in the intestinal tract, and normally supple-mentation is not needed. However, if the dog is having digestion problems or is on antibiotics, supple-mentation may be required. Vitamin K can be found in dark green vegetables, including kale and spinach. These should be lightly cooked before feeding them to your English Bulldog.

Minerals

Minerals, like vitamins, are necessary for life and physical well-being. Minerals can affect the body in many ways. A deficiency of calcium can lead to rickets, a deficiency of manganese can cause reproductive failure, and a zinc deficiency can lead to growth retardation and skin problems.
Many minerals are tied in with vitamins; in other words, a vitamin deficiency will also result in a mineral deficiency. For example, an adequate amount of vitamin B ensures there is also an adequate amount of cobalt because cobalt, a mineral, is a constituent of B   .
Minerals are normally added to commercial dog foods. If you’re feeding a homemade diet, it can be supplemented with a vitamin and mineral tablet to make sure the dog has sufficient minerals.

Water

It may seem like common sense to say that your English Bulldog will need water, but the importance of water cannot be emphasized enough. Water makes up about 70% of a dog’s weight. Water facilitates the generation of energy, the transportation of nutrients, and the disposal of wastes. Water is in the bloodstream, in the eyes, in the cerebrospinal fluid, and in the gastrointestinal tract. Water is vital to all of the body’s functions in some way. Don’t forget to clean your dog’s water bowl every day.

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English Bulldog - Nutritional Building Blocks (Part I)Nutrition is a constantly ongoing process that starts at conception (with the mother dog’s diet) and ends only with death. Everything that is consumed becomes part of the dog’s daily nutrition, whether it’s good for her or not. In other words, anything your English Bulldog eats and digests (including snails, worms, or the kids’ peanut butter sandwich) can give her some kind of nutrition. However, what the Bulldog eats, the food’s actual digestibility, and how the dog’s body uses that food can all affect the actual nutrition gained by eating.
Although your English Bulldog can eat many things, including a lot of materials that may not be good for her, there are some substances she must eat regularly to keep her healthy. These can be a part of the commercial dog food you feed her, part of a homemade diet, or in the supplements added to her food.

Protein

Proteins are a varied group of biological compounds that affect many different functions in your English Bulldog’s body, including the immune system, cell structure, and growth. As omnivores (dogs eat meat as well as some plant materials), dogs can digest protein from several sources. The most common are meats, grains, dairy products, and legumes. Recommendations vary as to how much of the dog’s diet should be protein, but in general, most nutritionists agree that a diet that contains between 20 and 40 percent quality protein is good for a dog.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, like proteins, have many functions in the dog’s body, including serving as structural components of cells. However, the most important function is as an energy source. Carbohydrates can be obtained from many sources, including tubers (such as potatoes and sweet potatoes), plants (such as greens like broccoli and collard greens), and cereals. However, dogs do not have the necessary digestive enzymes to adequately digest all cereal grains. Therefore, the better sources of carbohydrates are tubers and noncitrus fruits, such as apples and bananas. Most experts recommend that a dog’s diet contain from 20 to 40% carbohydrates of the right kind.

Fat

Fats have many uses in the body. They are the most important way the body stores energy. Fats also make up some of the structural elements of cells and are vital to the absorption of several vitamins. Certain fats are also beneficial in keeping the skin and coat healthy. Fats in dog foods are found primarily in meat and dairy products. Recommended levels are from 10 to 20%.

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Feeding Your English BulldogMost Bulldogs believe everything that is chewable can be eaten. Many English Bulldogs even like fresh fruits, especially oranges and watermelon. I do not recommend that she be given these fruits freely or frequently, but every once in a while, smile, give her a small piece of watermelon and watch her chomp and enjoy. So, the problem of feeding a Bulldog isn’t finding something she will eat, but searching through the myriad brands, formulas, and consistencies to find what is best for her and readily available.
Dog food is a lucrative business. Big sums of money are spent on advertising and developing foods that are palatable and healthy. On the practical side of the coin, the cost of these foods must be reasonable and within the reach of the average consumer.

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