English Bulldog Puppy having its ears pulled
Dog Breeds

English Bulldogs: Is Pet Insurance a Smart Choice in 2024?

Stubborn, lazy, and far from elegant, English Bulldogs can’t seem to resist the comfort of a lovely sofa, cuddled up next to their owners. Whether you’re looking for a partner for your existing Bulldog or aiming to spice up your life with this adorable couch potato, you can’t go wrong.

Discover more about this sociable dog breed, including its origins, health considerations, exercise requirements, grooming needs and other essential details.

English Bulldog with its tongue out

Health Concerns for English Bulldogs

English Bulldogs can have many health concerns due to improper breeding. These health issues can lead to frequent vet visits, which might burden you both emotionally and financially.

Common Health Issues and Costs

  • Cherry Eye: This condition can cost around $1,000 per eye.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Treatment can start at $3,000 per elbow.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Treatment can start at $4,000 per hip.

If your beloved pet has multiple conditions, the costs can significantly impact your bank account.

Financial Relief through Pet Insurance

Fortunately, several of the best pet insurance companies can help manage these costs. The monthly fee for pet insurance depends on your location, but it is generally cheaper compared to paying for vet bills outright.

About the English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is a medium-sized breed that features a muscular appearance accompanied by a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose. Associated with common British culture, these dogs have become, due to their popularity, a national icon of the tea-loving nation.

In fact, during the Second World War, Bulldogs became the face of defiance against Nazi Germany. With personalities such as Winston Churchill boasting the Bulldog’s determination and strong will as resembling England’s position towards the war.

Once the English settled in America, most of these pooches made the long journey as well. After all, the country is big on its animals. Along the way of history, a small group of dedicated Bulldog fanciers also formed the Bulldog Club of America, all the way back in 1890.

Health Concerns

When discussing the health concerns associated with this amusing and adorable breed, we are referring to issues that have resulted due to human interference – selective breeding, to be frank!

Many veterinarians believe that English Bulldogs are deformed these days, featuring smaller bodies, oversized heads, and even deeper “smashed” faces.

Because of these health risks, it might be best that you enroll your dog in a pet insurance policy. Not only will having a policy help you with your finances, but it will give you peace of mind as well. As long as you pay the monthly fee!

Dermatitis

Directly relating to the Bulldog’s skin folds, dermatitis is a typical condition caused by the skin rubbing and trapping moisture in different areas of the body, including lips, facial folds, or even the tail.

According to experts, the best preventative measure is cleaning your dog’s skin folds daily, minimizing the buildup of bacterial growth.

The good news is that you will be able to quickly and easily identify dermatitis (i.e., rashes, hot spots, bad smell, and dryness). In other words, you will be able to search for a solution straight away.

Dysplasia

According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, the English Bulldog has the highest chance of developing hip dysplasia.

Approximately 72% of all Bulldogs develop the condition, with 35% of that number also having canine elbow dysplasia – causing loose shoulder bones or knees. The illness can cause severe pain, along with reluctance to walk, jump, climb stairs, and much more, affecting the dog’s mental health. Obesity can increase the risk of dysplasia, making any joint condition worse.

To combat this, ensure that you give your dog regular walks and an appropriately nutritious diet. Always ask for X-Rays, even from a breeder, as the condition could be inherited and detectable while the pooch is still a pup.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Due to their short face, the English Bulldog has a higher chance of developing brachycephalic syndrome, otherwise known as Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome (BAOS).

Improper breeding practices have pushed in the skull bones, giving the Bulldog the shortened face. This compression affects the facial bones and soft tissues, causing sensitivity around the nasal passage and added pressure in the dog’s airway. This condition makes it increasingly hard for the dog to breathe and perform everyday activities. This is also why the Bulldog is an innate snorer.

It’s best to keep English Bulldogs away from humid or hot weather conditions to avoid them gasping for air. BAOS can also cause eating difficulties, with canine obesity playing a considerable part in the overall susceptibility towards developing these conditions.

Having a healthy diet and moderate exercise is vital. Some veterinarians advise against letting your English Bulldog go outside to relieve itself when the weather is unbearably hot – having an indoor potty for them to use is recommended!

Care Tips

English Bulldogs require careful management of their health due to issues arising from selective breeding. Regular cleaning, appropriate exercise, a nutritious diet, and a suitable environment are essential to mitigate these health risks. Pet insurance can provide financial relief and peace of mind, ensuring your beloved pet receives the necessary care.

Grooming

Contrary to popular belief, English Bulldogs very much enjoy being groomed, with most even being eager to take long baths. Because of their naturally short, smooth and reasonably clean coat, the breed is incredibly low maintenance on the grooming front.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on brushing duties – moderately, of course. Baths can also be kept to a minimum, unless your dog has gotten itself into a muddy or sticky situation, which the Bulldog often seems to take joy from.

As previously mentioned, particular attention should be given to their wrinkles, mainly those on their face. You are able to do this by wiping and drying them regularly, preventing bacteria from forming. A trick of the trade is using baby oil infused with lanolin to take care of the problem.

When it comes to their teeth, brushing weekly is a good practice for preventing tartar buildup later in life. Their ears need to be regularly and thoroughly clean too, keeping infections at bay.

Plus, if you hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, it’s a good time to book a grooming appointment!

Exercise for English Bulldogs

An English Bulldog will likely enjoy its meals a bit too much, leading to weight gain and additional strain on its joints, hips, and spine. To avoid obesity and other health issues, it’s crucial to monitor its diet and provide an adequate exercise routine.

Exercise Limitations

Despite being strongly built animals with a high tolerance for pain, Bulldogs should not be over-exercised. Excessive physical strain can cause serious problems with their heart, lungs, and joints, potentially shortening their lives. Therefore, understanding and respecting their physical limits is essential.

Establishing a Routine

Routine is beneficial for your Bulldog. Develop a consistent exercise plan that meets its needs, keeping in mind its physical limits. Bulldogs tend to overheat easily, which can be dangerous or even fatal. Avoid allowing excessive running or vigorous activities for long periods, regardless of how playful your dog may seem. We recommend:

  • Outdoor Playtime: Limit to around 30 minutes.
  • Rough Playtime: Restrict to about 10 minutes every couple of hours.
  • Supervision: Always supervise to prevent overexertion.

Low-Impact Activities

Focus on low-impact exercises to burn off calories, such as:

  • Walking
  • Cuddling
  • Gnawing
  • Rolling around

Use toys to help your dog stay active. For example, a ball with odd edges will encourage movement and slow down after a while.

Surface Considerations

Ensure the surface your Bulldog runs on is soft to reduce strain on its hips and knee joints. Pay extra attention when playing around water, as Bulldogs are not great swimmers!

Nutrition for English Bulldogs

To ensure your English Bulldog is happy and healthy, it needs to be fed with high-quality ingredients combined with a balanced diet containing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Be cautious about the size and frequency of meals, as Bulldogs gain weight easily.

Types of Dog Food

There are three main types of dog food to choose from:

  • Dry Food: Convenient and often more affordable.
  • Wet Food: Palatable and hydrating, but can be more expensive.
  • Semi-Wet Food: A middle ground between dry and wet.

The basic rule is to read the labels and ensure you feed your pet with the best, quality ingredients.

Variety in Diet

To ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients, combine various ingredients in its diet. Traditional ingredients like meat, fish, and vegetables are essential, but “power foods” can also provide energy and optimal intake of minerals and vitamins.

Recommended Ingredients

  • Eggs: High in Omega-3 fatty acids and all necessary vitamins.
  • Cod Liver Oil: Rich in Vitamins A and D, beneficial for heart, bones, and coat health.
  • Apples: Packed with fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Ensure to remove seeds before serving.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods are harmful to English Bulldogs and should be avoided:

  • Bones: Especially chicken bones, which can be fragile and sharp.
  • Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts: Extremely poisonous and can lead to paralysis and death.
  • Avocados: Contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Garlic: Can cause damage to red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Grapes: Can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  • Milk: Many dogs are lactose intolerant and can experience digestive upset.
  • Mushrooms: Certain types can be toxic and cause severe reactions.
  • Onions: Can cause gastrointestinal irritation and damage red blood cells.
  • Tomatoes: Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants contain solanine, which is toxic.
  • Sweets: Contain sugar and artificial sweeteners, which are harmful to dogs.

Feeding Guidelines

  • Puppies: Need to be fed several times a day to get all the nutrients they need for growth.
  • Adult Dogs: Should be fed twice a day, with the total amount of food ranging from ½ to 2 cups, depending on the type of food and the dog’s body weight.

Managing Obesity

Obesity can lead to conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and increased cancer risk. Pay close attention to the feeding schedule and portion sizes. Use a measuring cup each time and follow label instructions. If your Bulldog is gaining weight on the recommended portions, reduce them accordingly.

English Bulldog laying on the floor

Water Intake

Ensure your Bulldog has access to clean water at all times, as it will drink large amounts depending on the type of food it eats. Generally, your dog should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight and will regulate its own water intake. Any changes in drinking habits should prompt a consultation with a veterinarian, as it might indicate an underlying condition.

How to Train English Bulldogs

English Bulldogs are intelligent creatures that love to learn new things. To ensure successful training, it’s important to keep their minds motivated at all times. Positive reinforcement is key, so setting up a reward system for them will guarantee success.

Stubbornness and Persistence

Despite their intelligence, Bulldogs can also be very stubborn and persistent during training. This means that training them can be challenging, but not impossible! Supportive and patient training will help your dog learn everything necessary to be a good companion.

Early Training

It’s crucial to start training English Bulldogs as early as possible before they develop bad habits. Consistency and reassurance are important, as Bulldogs respond best to voice commands. Avoid shouting or showing impatience, as this can hinder progress and cause your dog to disengage from training.

Patience and Techniques

Be patient and refrain from using harsh training techniques. Bulldogs will not respond well to negativity and may end the training session by hiding or ignoring you for the rest of the day.

Start with teaching your Bulldog puppy these basic commands:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Wait

Once these commands are mastered, you can move on to more challenging tasks.

With patience and positive reinforcement, your English Bulldog will become a well-trained and obedient companion.

Fascinating Facts About English Bulldogs

  • Bred for Bull Fighting: Bulldogs were originally bred to fight bulls as part of a sport that was finally banned during the 19th century.
  • Near Extinction: Once these battles were banned, Bulldogs were almost driven to extinction.
  • Modern Bulldogs: Today’s Bulldogs are very different from their ancestors in terms of temperament and behavior. They are now known for their friendly and gentle nature.
  • Artificial Insemination: Bulldogs are usually conceived through artificial insemination and born via C-section due to their unique physical characteristics.
  • Watch Dogs: Despite having short legs and being considered lazy, Bulldogs make good watch dogs.
  • Running Speed: They are capable of running up to 15 mph (24 kph).

Final Thoughts

Today’s Bulldog is very different from its ancestor. It is hard to believe, but the cute, good-natured English Bulldogs were once fierce animals bred to fight bulls. Now, breeding techniques over the centuries have led to problems with reproduction, breathing, and the inability to regulate body temperature efficiently.
Nevertheless, Bulldogs are intelligent animals but quite stubborn, making training a task that requires a lot of love and patience. Having a pet insurance policy can provide peace of mind, allowing you and your well-loved English Bulldog to live a life free from too much worry. This ensures that you can manage any health concerns that arise and focus on enjoying your time with your loyal friend.