Grooming & Bathing
Bulldogs are not very difficult to maintain. A weekly or fortnightly brushing session with a bristle brush or a rubber pad is generally sufficient.
Get your puppy used to being groomed regularly. Always finish the routine with a little reward, such as a piece of cheese or dog cooky.
You can bath your dog occasionally, but bathing too often removes the natural, protective oils of the skin. Once or twice a year is usually enough, unless the buildup of the skin oils causes your bulldog to smell a bit. In that case the choice of an adequate (sebolytic) shampoo is of the utmost important. For more information about the oily form of seborrhoea, see: Scaly or Greasy Skin. Always rinse your bulldog thoroughly, as shampoo left in the coat can be irritating to the skin. Always wash the head last, to avoid that shampoo drips into your bulldog's eyes whilst you are washing the rest of his body.
It is a myth that Bulldogs do not need exercising. Proper exercise is as vital to your Bulldog's general health and well-being as is proper nutrition. Exercising is also a good, natural cure against excessive chewing, that may be an indication that your adult bulldog is getting bored indoors. More about puppy chewing behavior.
Never over-exercise your bulldog as a puppy, though. Start with short walks and build up to a distance that suits your bulldog.
And never exercise your bulldog straight after his meal or in the heat of the day.
Everyday Care of Your Bulldog
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Heatstroke can be fatal very quickly. So if the weather is hot, take great care. Exercise either early in the morning, and late at night. Never allow children to run and play with a bulldog during the heat of the day. And never, ever leave your dog alone in the car in summer, NOT EVEN for a couple of minutes.
It is always a good idea to take a heatstroke victim to a vet, who will check him for shock, a dangerous condition that frequently follows severe heatstroke. Once a Bulldog has suffered a heat stroke, they seem much more susceptible to heat. Read more about the precautions to avoid heat stroke.
Feed your puppy four times a day and gradually make the transition to two meals a day. More about the bulldog's diet.
For puppy nutrition tips and a rough idea of the average puppy weight increase, consult our average bulldog puppy weight chart.
Bulldogs can be very messy eaters. By feeding your bulldog in the kitchen or outside, if possible, you may save yourself a great deal of cleaning up.
All puppies and adult dogs should be wormed regularly. Worming preparations kill most internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and the dangerous heartworm. Read more about internal parasites and worming.
Bulldogs having a very tight screw tail may have problems in the hot weather, when the tail area becomes moist and causes irritation. In that cause, bathe the affected parts with water in which you have added a mild disinfectant, then dry thoroughly. Apply a little talc powder. In rare, severe cases, the veterinarian may decide to remove the tail to avoid further recurrent infections.
Sometimes lesions appear between the toes of your bulldog, making it painful for him to walk. They usually tend to develop singly and are more common on the forefeet, which supports the theory of anatomical causes.
The causes of these interdigital cysts remain obscure, the most probable being anatomical features such as flattened feet or excessive hair growth between the pads which tends to increase the risk of foreign bodies such as dirt, splinters, etc. collecting in the hair. Pressure from beneath in normal movement tends to press the particles into the skin between the tough pads. The cysts invariably grow towards the upper surface along the path of least resistance.
To help disperse the swelling, dissolve a dessertspoonful of sea salt in warm water in a small bucket, and stand the affected foot in the water for a few minutes. Dry with a towel and apply tincture of iodine on the skin. Preventively, the hair between the pads should be clipped every week.
See: How to remove tear stains. For other eye problems See: Bulldogs Health and Care.
Ears are rarely a problem with Bulldogs, because the rose ear allows air to circulate. If they do appear dirty, use a cottonball to clean the visible part of the ear, without poking deep into the ear.
Frequent ear scratching may be an indication that your Bulldog has ear mites. Ears infected with mites are often filled with dark brown, flaky sometimes pungent smelling wax.
Excessive ear scratching and head shaking may also be caused by allergies, yeast or a trauma. See: Ear scratching and Head shaking. Also see: Ear care and disease. For the cleaning of your dog's ears, see: Ear diseases: prevention and treatment
Sometimes circular, red, hairless and extremely itchy spots may appear on the skin of your bulldog. Read more about the causes and cure of hot spots.
For other common skin problems seen in bulldogs, see: Skin problems in Bulldogs.
A dog scooting around on his bottom or licking his back legs may be an indication of blocked anal glands. When the duct of the gland becomes obstructed this results in irritation of the glands. If infection develops, the gland may abscess and fistulate through the perineum. The obstruction may be caused by injury, bacterial infection, or the migration of segments of tapeworm into the ducts of the glands. Read more about how to avoid and cure Anal gland impaction
Bad breath may become more pronounced as your Bulldog grows older. Removing the yellow tartar that builds up on teeth then becomes necessary. Ask your vet for advice. See also: Odor problems in bulldogs.
Of all the problems to which dogs are prone, may be the most well known are fleas. Other external parasites are ticks and ear mites. Many of the flea control products also protect against ticks but usually for a shorter period of time. In terms of fleas, prevention is always better than cure. For bulldogs, prefer spot-on products that kill flea eggs and larvae as well as adult fleas, rather than flea collars. Read more about controlling fleas and ear mites.
See also: Care of the Senior Bulldog