Bulldogs are a special breed, and they need some special care. Just producing puppies is a major undertaking. Both the sire and dam need to have health testing before breeding. The female has progesterone testing, must be artificially inseminated, has prenatal care such as checkups and an ultrasound, and delivers her puppies by cesarean section. Mother and puppies must be supervised 24 hours a day for the first 3-4 weeks, and sometimes the puppies need special attention, such as bottle feeding or hand raising. Producing a healthy litter of puppies is a round-the-clock job. This is part of why bulldogs are expensive.
Adult bulldogs also require more care than many other breeds. Because of their short, flat nose they can overheat very easily and can even die from heat stroke. They cannot be left outdoors when it is too hot or too cold, but they wouldn’t want to be anyway. They are very attached to their family, and want to be with you wherever you are. They have bursts of energy, but quickly tire out and just want to sleep on the couch. Do not buy a bulldog as a running companion, because they can’t handle that much exercise. Because they can be couch potatoes, they don’t require a big yard, but a secure fence is important. They are one of the most frequently stolen breeds, so never leave them unattended in the yard or anywhere they could be taken.
Bulldogs generally have a very easy going temperament, but they need to be socialized from a very early age. Our bulldogs are raised with constant human interaction, but you need to keep it up when they go to their new home. Make sure they continue to get out of the house and interact with other people and dogs, such as in puppy obedience classes, so that they don’t become isolated. This can lead to behavior issues.
Bulldogs are prone to several different health issues. These can include sensitive skin, excessive gas, breathing problems, heart issues, bad hips and eye problems. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the perfect bulldog, but many of these issues can be avoided through conscientious breeding and proper care. The wrinkles on your bully need to be kept clean with baby wipes or a washcloth. Since they can’t reach around to lick themselves like most dogs can, you may need to clean their tummy or under their tail as well. Just keep an eye out for anything that gets dirty, and keep it clean. Finding a vet who is familiar with bulldogs and their special needs is also important, as is good preventive health care.
Recently a friend called me in a panic, so I thought I’d mention this. Bulldogs are prone to a condition called “Idiopathic Head Tremors”. It looks scary, as the dog shakes it’s head rapidly up and down or side to side, looking almost like a seizure. It is not harmful, and most times they will only have one or two episodes in their lifetime. Don’t panic, just give them a spoonful of peanut butter, yogurt or ice cream, which seems to distract them and stop the shaking. It is not something which requires a vet trip, unless it is repeated over and over, or causes other issues.
Diet is very important for the health of your bulldog. We feed a grain-free diet, Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice formula, and add coconut oil. There are many good dog foods on the market, but it is crucial to feed a good quality food, not a grocery store variety. We have found that feeding grain-free food keeps our dog’s wrinkles clean, their coats soft, and they don’t have gas. Bulldogs are prone to obesity, so feeding the correct amount is important as well.
Also, please do your research and look on complaint boards to see if the breeder has a history of selling sick or genetically unhealthy puppies. Save yourself the heartache and expense of buying a puppy that will break your bank and heart. And never buy a puppy without seeing it first in person, and meeting it’s parent or parents. There are many scams out there, so don’t get tricked into paying for a puppy which does not exist. Always pick up your puppy in person, do not have it shipped.
These are just a few important facts to know before deciding to make a bulldog a member of your family. There are many great websites and books available about bulldogs. Please read these, and ask a lot of questions of the breeder or other bulldog owners you meet. Every bulldog deserves a well-informed and loving forever family.