Things You Should Know About a Bulldog

Bulldogs are gentle yet protective pets.
Bulldogs are gentle yet protective pets. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

According to the American Kennel Club, Bulldogs originated in the British Isles. They were named for their role in bull baiting, a sport which demanded the dogs be courageous yet vicious. When dog fighting was banned in 1835, English Bulldogs were no longer needed and the species was in danger of dying out. However, Bulldog admirers decided to preserve the breed and are responsible for its prevalence as a household pet in contemporary society. Bulldogs can make loving and loyal pets, but before adopting or purchasing one for your home, there are a number of things to consider.

Bulldogs Crave Attention

Generally, bulldogs do not enjoy being alone and may become destructive if neglected for long periods of time. For example, they may chew furniture while their owners are away or focused on other activities. Bulldogs enjoy being surrounded by people who give them attention and will often climb into their owner's lap, despite their weight. Bulldogs enjoy physical affection and may become possessive of their owners.

Breathing Problems

A bulldog will typically live to 12 years old, although some may live as long as 18 years. However, bulldogs are known to develop health problems that can shorten average lifespan and cause discomfort. Many bulldogs develop an elongated soft palate, which is the most common respiratory disorder among the breed. They can also develop pinched nares, a condition in which nostrils are constricted and air cannot pass through them easily. However, pinched nares can be corrected with surgery. Bulldogs can also develop a hypoplastic trachea, also known as a narrowing of the trachea. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and even gurgling noises. With careful monitoring, many bulldogs can still live happily and for a long time despite a narrow trachea. Find a veterinarian who is well-versed in bulldog care and can advise you on any potential health problems specific to the breed.

Low Tolerance For Heat

In high temperatures, bulldogs are at risk of overheating. When humidity is high and temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, keep bulldogs in an air conditioned environment. Supervise them during strenuous activity to make sure they do not over exert themselves and become overheated. Even when temperatures are cold, bulldogs are incapable of much physical activity. Avoid long walks and monitor them during and after any exercise.

Physical Maintenance

Although a bulldog's face wrinkles may seem cute, they can get harbor dangerous bacteria and fungi that will cause infections if neglected. Depending on the bulldog's unique situation, clean face wrinkles every day or a couple times a week. Wipe in between wrinkles and folds of skin using a soft, damp face towel. Or, use dog shampoo for a thorough cleaning. In either case, always rinse skin and dry properly. The Bulldog Club of America recommends using baby wipes containing lanolin and aloe to wipe your bulldog's wrinkles clean. Always clean the deeper, nose wrinkles adequately clean. If necessary, apply a soothing ointment, like Panalog, into the deep nose wrinkle. Owners can also apply Diaprene ointment into the wrinkle, but only if protecting the dog's nose with Vaseline beforehand.

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