A bulldog with its tongue out on a dock near a lake.

Those cute faces mean unique challenges for this breed. At BEEVET Animal Hospital, we’ve got your go-to list of tips on how to make this summer a happy one for you and your furry friend by keeping common bulldog problems at bay!

In the Face of the Breed

So just what kinds of issues do bulldogs routinely face thanks to that wrinkled face of theirs? Well, being a brachycephalic breed, they don’t have a snout like a wolf. Their noses are pushed inward due to selective breeding. Genetics are primarily responsible for the following:

  • Difficulty breathing—like breathing through straws! A smushed face means smushed airways. Bulldogs usually have nostrils that are tinier than average. Plus, there is often extra tissue at the back of their throats, making them smaller. A procedure called a staphylectomy exists that can widen their airway by clearing that blockage in their throats.
  • Hyperkeratosis—this presents as excessively thick skin on either paws or nose.
  • Hip dysplasia—where the ball and socket joint in the hip do not fit properly, which causes grinding.
  • Eyelid problems—sometimes they droop so low that debris can get in between the eyelid and the eye, which causes irritation or infection. 
  • Cherry eye—with this, your pet can develop a red, bulging eye resulting from a prolapsed third eyelid.
  • Eczema—known as atopic dermatitis, this dry skin can have a crusty outer appearance and may cause your bulldog to scratch.  
  • Skin allergies—these can make your bulldog scratch and potentially lick themselves to relieve itching. If they’re itchy all the time versus seasonally, we may want to investigate for food allergies.
  • Fold infections—often found in face wrinkles or the tail, especially in “corkscrew” tails. Bulldogs can develop infections, dermatitis (a swollen look with redness), or pyoderma (characterized by discharge). Skin folds are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and hold a lot of moisture, which contributes to these conditions. 

Summertime Solutions

Almost all these common bulldog problems are genetic, and a few of them can be solved with surgery. The rest have no cure but do have remedies to help improve symptoms:

  • Walk don’t run—walk in pace with how your bully is breathing. Remember, unless they have had a staphylectomy, they have difficulty breathing during regular activity. It becomes much harder to breathe when trying to cool off by panting. 
  • Keep them cool—fans or air conditioners are essential to help them avoid having to pant. You can try chilling a large tile in the fridge and then offering it to your bulldog, possibly covered with a towel, so it’s not too cold. This can be refreshing for them to lay on during hot days.
  • No jumping—jumping off of furniture can have a severe impact on joints over time. If they have to be on the bed, a ramp or stairs are a must!
  • Make water super accessible—keep water bowls on at least every floor of the house, specifically in the rooms they frequent. These big pups have a more challenging time getting up and around, so they might not be inclined to pick themselves out of bed and walk all the way downstairs to the kitchen just for a much-needed drink.
  • Regular wellness exams—together, we can design a comprehensive plan for your bulldog to keep them on the path to good health, avoiding common bulldog problems along the way!

Give us a call at (512) 263-9292 with any questions you may have or to schedule your next appointment with BEEVET Animal Hospital.