English Bulldog Health Problems
Most people know that English Bulldogs are incredibly easy going and prefer cuddling up for a nap on the couch more than going for a long walk through the park.
They're known for being excellent family dogs, as they're protective, patient, lovable and loyal, and they love nothing more than to bask in the presence of their owners.
These things make the Bulldog a highly sought after pet, though many people overlook their health concerns. Unfortunately, the English Bulldog comes with their fair share of health problems, and that might be a red flag for any owner who lacks the financial means to address them should they occur.
Let's take a closer look at some common health concerns for the English Bulldog.
Hip Dysplasia - a disease involving the deformation of the hind legs, which causes pain and problems with mobility - occurs in the Bulldog breed more than any other breed, according to the British Veterinary Association and the Kennel Club statistics. About 70% of all Bulldogs in the breed are affected by this disease on some scale.
Bulldogs are well known for their short, wrinkled faces that are simply adorable, but unfortunately this trait an also bring some health problems. Specifically, Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning because of their short and squat faces, they have short nostrils and narrowed airways. This often causes issues with breathing that can be as harmless as snoring and open mouthed breathing, or as serious as needing surgery to allow the dog to breathe comfortably.
Again because of their short faces, and additionally because of their short, heavy, and muscular stature, Bulldogs commonly find it difficult to regulate their body temperatures. Panting can be difficult for Bulldogs, so during the warmer month’s great care must be taken to ensure that they don't overheat.
English Bulldogs should never be left in direct sunlight, and they should always be able to escape the heat in favor of cooler temperatures. This means owners in warmer climates should never leave their Bulldog outside for an extended period of time on his own.
Finally, because of their susceptibility to heat stress (possibly even heat stroke), they must always have access to drinking water.
It's a well-known fact that weight can be a problem for Bulldogs, who are stout and muscular to begin with, but also enjoy leading very sedentary lives. They are not exercise fanatics, though their owners must take great care to ensure that they do exercise these dogs, and not only to keep their weight in check.
Owners must take great care to ensure that their Bulldog is kept at healthy weight ensuring both a good diet and exercise because the Bulldog also has heightened risk factors specifically, hip dysplasia and patellar luxation which we’ll go on to discuss.
A Bulldog with excess fat is also more susceptible to heart and lung conditions later in life.
Like other dogs with shorter muzzles, Bulldogs are prone to a condition called Cherry Eye- where the inner eyelid protrudes inwards, requiring surgery to correct it.
Infections and Other Issues Due to Uncleanliness
Those wrinkled little faces are more than just cute - they're germ catchers. The skin folds in the face on Bulldogs are known for trapping dirt and excess moisture, which breeds bacteria that leads to painful sores, abscesses and infections. The only way to avoid these issues for the English Bulldog is for the owner to inspect, clean and dry the skin folds on a daily basis.
When the kneecaps become dislocated or detached from their proper location, mobility is drastically affected and the dog lives in excruciating pain. This condition is called Patellar Luxation, and it is particularly common with English Bulldogs; in fact, it affects about 6% of the entire breed.
The condition may require surgical correction, but it's important to note that even with surgery the condition may persist or come back.
Because English Bulldogs have such large heads, natural deliveries are almost never possible. Instead, for the safety of the mother and her puppies, most breeders opt for a Caesarean Delivery. In fact, up to 80% of all females in the breed give birth this way. If, for whatever reason, a breeder decides to allow a mother to give birth naturally, he must take extra precaution to monitor the process to ensure a safe delivery.
Finally, it's just really good to know that, because of the common health issues that Bulldogs face, a great many of them simply don't live as long as other breeds. Average lifespan of the English Bulldog is 8-12 years, and due to the variety of health problems, many of them have shortened lifespans.
Find a Great Veterinarian
Many people understand full well what they're getting themselves into when they bring home a Bulldog puppy and for them, it's worth it. These people inevitably do what they need to do to take care of their pups, and this includes finding a great veterinarian who is well versed on English Bulldogs and the common problems they face.
Do not make the mistake of selecting a vet who doesn't have a passion for this special breed, as they certainly won't take the care and attention necessary to ensure that they live a long, healthy life.
Check Him Out
The bottom line in regards in your Bulldog’s health is that you’re likely to stay ahead of the game in keeping him healthy if you check him out regularly. Regularly check, clean and dry his skin wrinkles as mentioned previously, and examine him for other sores, bumps or issues that may occur. Keep an eye on him to ensure that he eats, plays and exercises a healthy amount, and if any warning signs occur in the aforementioned do not waste time in getting him to the vet.
Your Bulldog will live a happy life if you take great care of his health!