March 19, 2008
I am wondering what to do for my grand puppy Lucy. I have written to you about her before and since she is having yeast issues on her feet and face I thought I would revisit your articles, and I noticed that you wrote that your Bulldog had some of the same issues for a while. My problem is compounded by the fact that she is not my dog. I do dog sit for her during the day, so I share in the care of her! I can’t take her to a vet that knows Bulldogs better than the one that the owners take her to. Their vet said that she has yeast , but he attributed it to “getting her feet wet outside”!
Please review for me what I can do to help her! Their breeder told them to use baby wipes on her face, but that does not seem to be enough. I have tried the eyewash and even Lotrimin and Gold Bond on her and nothing seems to help.Lucy is now one year old. She is on the Royal Canine Bulldog food. She now has chewed a hole in the fur on one foot!
Thank you for being such a Bulldog enthusiast.
Paw licking is a primary sign of allergies. In my opinion
that vet doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Her feet
are wet because she’s licking them all the time and she’s
licking them because she has allergies. Allergies are
caused primarily by a depressed immune system.
The best thing you can do for Lucy is to change her food -
get her off that Royal Canin, she’s probably allergic to something
Switch her to something like Prairie lamb and oatmeal or California
Naturals lamb and rice or Canidae lamb and rice. You should see
significant changes within a month.
You could also add probiotics and Omega 3s to her diet. They will
help boost her immune system. I give Archie Nordic Naturals Omega
3s and Optagest Digestive Aids – both purchased at a natural foods
While you make the switch, you can bathe her in a medicated
shampoo like Chlorhexiderm 3x a week and/or a rinse of
apple cider vinegar mixed 1 to 1 with water. Or you can just
put dilute apple cider vinegar on the most yeasty areas – it is a
natural anti-fungal. Avoid getting any of these in her eyes.
This should make her feel better.
Gold Bond is probably irritating her face. Just keep her dry and
maybe put a little Monistat in her nose folds. The change of food
should help immensely.
Explain to the owners that spending more on better food will save
on future huge vet bills and keep Lucy from suffering needlessly.
I hope this helps. Please keep me posted on her progress.
Your Bulldog Pal,
February 16, 2008
Our English Bulldog is named Rusty and tonight he (all of a sudden) seemed to be swelling with welts. On top of his head, legs, mouth. He was perfectly fine and we noticed his mouth was turning a little red then the welts. He’s acting pretty fine, panting quite a lot. This happened two weeks ago, too. We took him to the vet and they didn’t have a clue. Gave him something for the swelling and an antibiotic. We stopped giving him the meds a few days later b/c he seemed fine. Weird.
This sounds to me like your English Bulldog is having a sudden
allergic reaction. The red mouth and then the welts sounds like
he got stung by a bee, or got into something – dogs always
explore with their mouths – and then developed hives. The panting is also
consistent with an allergic reaction which can cause breathing difficulties.
If not an insect bite, is there something else in his environment that he
could be allergic to? Even carpet cleaner can cause allergic reactions
He could even be alergic to something in his food. Did the welts appear
after he ate? A dog can be fine with food for a while and then develop
the allergic reaction.
If Rusty is getting into something (whether an insect or an allergen) and
he has this reaction, be aware that the more exposure to the toxin, the
more severe his symptoms will become. The classic example of this
is a human who develops an allergic reaction to bee stings until they
become life threatening.
Do you have any idea what he could be exposed to?
You can give him a childrens dose of Benedryl dye free (pink box) to
help mild symptoms. If breathing becomes very difficult or symptoms
worsen you need to get him to a vet immediately.
Does he chew his paws? This is another sign of allergies.
Here’s a link to a good article on dog allergies:
I hope this helps. Please keep me posted on his progress.
Your Bulldog Pal,
Thanks for your email. We’ve taken Rusty to the Vet twice now. We took him this morning. Two weeks ago to the day we took him, too. The vet said what you did only she thought it was a spider bite. We live in Michigan and right now there are no bugs anywhere b/c it’s freezing up here. There is snow everywhere which he eats alot of. This morning she thought maybe an allergy to something. We got benedryl the first time this happened and the vet also gave Rusty and antibiotic and prednisone in case he needed it.
Actually, the carpet and furniture in our home are new. We got them about 3 weeks ago and this has been going on with Rusty for 2 weeks now. We have leather furniture and new carpeting. Of course Rusty thinks he’s a lap dog so he’s on the furniture, too. I’m wondering if what they treat leather furniture with might be the issue? We haven’t treated anything so it would have to be what is already on it. My other thought is maybe dairy? What do you think?
Thanks so much.
I bet it’s the new things, possibly the carpet because they treat it with anti-stain coatings,
and I’m sure they treat leather with something potentially allergenic as well.
One thing that occurs to me is that since Rusty walks on the carpet, if he then
licks his paws, he could be getting the offending carpet sealer in his mouth and
then have the allergic reaction.
You could get the carpet cleaned and when they do, don’t allow them to use
any strong chemicals to clean and don’t let them re-treat it for pet stains or
As for the leather couch, you could put a cover over the leather where he lays on it.
Some of those things like flame retardants and such do some ‘off gassing’ when they
are new and they will diminish in time.
I realize it’s cold, but you could try airing out your house on a warm day to let
the odors escape.
But I suspect it’s something that gets on his paws that he licks off and whamo!
I wouldn’t suspect dairy at this juncture although it can aggravate and cause allergies.
The fact that the allergic reaction happened when you got the new carpet really
leads me to believe it’s related to that.
Does this sound like a possibility?
Your Bulldog Pal,
February 14, 2008
Thank you Jan -
I live in South Florida and have a 1 year old (birthday 2/15) male bulldog, Winston (70lbs) who on one previous occasion (July) had spotting (looked like someone sprinkled oil on his back and left spots) along the ridge of his back. It lasted a few weeks and wasn’t anything drastic.
Dark spots (minimal hair loss) located about rump wrinkles….
Winston did not have any discomfort (no scratching) nor did he show any signs of knowing about what we saw. Late January, his spotting (hair loss) re-occured in full force (I brush him and the driveway looks like a hair storm hit…) along his shoulders, back, rump and hind quarters.
I have been reading up about the seasonal flank alopecia and think that he may have that (he is inside all day long while I am at work until darkfall). I take him on regular (long) walks every night and several times a day on the weekends (morning, afternoon & night).
He is a HEALTHY eater… too fast, but never leaves a morsal…. Hahahaha
But I wonder about his diet and if that may have instigated a skin condition (or allergic reaction).
I have had him on Royal Canin – Large Breed Puppy formula since he was 4months old. However, in January, I began to switch (mixing) him to Royal Canin – Bulldog formula. Coincidently, the hair loss began at this time. Now that we are in mid February he continues to lose major amounts of hair and I don’t know what to do.
I’ve been reading on your website and others about the possibility of diet being the cause of bulldog skin conditions….
But, I also see that you list Royal Canin as a preferred brand??? I’m confused…. we are still using the same brand, just moved to bulldog specific formula. Can this be the problem?
Do you think that the hair loss was triggered by the change of foods…. or SFA?
Any suggestions? HELP
Thank you in advance for you help.
Michelle & Winston
Hi Michele & Winston,
Sorry for any confusion. There are always conflicting opinions when it comes
to english bulldogs and the connection between diet and skin.
On my site I list Royal Canin as the most popular brand according to a survey
of my bulldog owners.
That said, I don’t feed it to my Archie because he seems to be allergic to
chicken, the primary protein source in it.
And since your Winston’s hair loss started with your switch to RC B24, I
would definitely be suspicious of a food allergy.
What I currently feed my bulldog Archie is either Canidae or California Naturals
lamb meal and rice formulas. I have found lamb to be much easier for bulldogs
This is not a set deal. Some dogs are allergic to different things. But the
most allergy producing proteins according to my vet skin specialist are
beef, soy, and chicken in that order.
Try switching him to one of these two foods, slowly, over a week or two, and
see what happens. You should see results within two weeks, as I did with my
Archie. It’s pretty basic food so he may not be crazy over eating it. If he
won’t eat it add a little canned Wellness Lamb and Rice formula.
If it doesn’t work you may need to try Duck and Sweet Potato or Venison
and Sweet Potato formulas and see how he reacts to them.
It’s a matter of trial and error with food allergies.
About Seasonal Flank Alopecia, it doesn’t look like that’s what’s bothering
Winston because SFA shows up on the shoulders or sides of the bulldog,
whereas food allergies tend to show up on the top and along the back.
It is also more common in the northern states where there is less daylight
during the winters, like Minnesota. But it can appear anywhere.
You can read about SFA and see some photos here:
It is always good to let your bulldog get some sun, it is a great natural (and
inexpensive!) anti-bacterial. Just 20 minutes a day is good.
I hope this helps. Please keep me posted on his progress.
Your Bulldog Pal,
February 10, 2008
I have a 3 year old English Bulldog. I take him to the vet about every week for his allergy shot. The vet says he has food allergies but no matter what food we try it does not seem to work. He is currently on Royal Canine. Do you have any suggestions for me, on what to feed him. He also has cysts appearing all over his body, shedding real bad and hair loss. Is this normal
No that is not normal. But it is common in bulldogs. He may have demodex,
otherwise known as mange. It is caused by a proliferation of mites that
live in the hair follicles of dogs.
The only way to know for sure is to have your vet do a skin scraping.
It is treated with a drug called Ivermectin. Some vets recommend a
dip but I think this is very harsh and toxic for your bulldog.
You can also treat him with goodwinol topical cream.
But this could also be a symptom of food allergies. So if your
vet has done a skin scraping and ruled out demodex or other
parasites, I would definitely suspect food as the culprit.
My belief is that these types of skin conditions are aggravated
by food allergies and can be treated effectively by simply
changing the diet in most cases (including mine!).
Centuries of inbreeding the bulldog line has led to some genetic
weakness that can cause a compromised immune
system which can leave them vulnerable to opportunistic diseases such
as demodectic mites that would not invade a healthy dog.
That said, there are many other things that can cause a depressed
immune system, such as stress, fighting an infection, and environmental
allergens. And food allergies.
What sort of shots is your vet giving your bulldog? I am not a fan
of prednisone shots because they only treat the symptoms and not
the underlying cause. And they can contribute to weakening the
I would suggest you switch your bulldog to a single protein source food
such as California Naturals or Canidae Lamb Meal and Rice. The lamb
seems to be easily digested and the only other ingredient is rice.
Lots of people feed their bulldogs Royal Canin, but it’s primary ingredient
is chicken. Chicken is one of the primary food allergens in dogs (along
with beef, soy, and fish) so I would definitely switch him off of that.
Take a week or two to switch the food, starting with just a small part of the
lamb and rice, then up the proportion slowly until it is all the new food.
I hope this helps. Let me know if I can help you any further.
Your Bulldog Pal,
December 23, 2007
We saw Archies Christmas video, very cute, thanks. As in a previous email I sent, my wife and I have been researching premium dry kibble. We pretty much have decided on Wellness. It is readily avaliable and Old Mother Hubbard sends $5.00 coupons when requested. The only thing that concerns me about Wellness is thier using Rye flour as 1 of the ingrediants. Could you give me your input about this. We were thinking that a 100% grain free food would be best for Brutus due to skin alergys. I dont know if Rye flour is good, bad or indifferant. We have Bru on Eukanuba Medium Puppy and want to switch him to Wellness but we’re not 100% yet. Any comments or feedback you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again, you are very much appreciated in all that you do to better the breed.
From our Family to Yours … We Wish You The Very Best During this Holiday Season. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
James, Patty and Bru
Wellness is one of the best foods out there. It was rated the top dog food by The Whole Dog Journal. It’s ultimately a matter of the individual dog’s response to the food, but I don’t have a problem with rye (especially since it’s so far down on the list of ingredients), it’s the wheat that’s usually a problem.
Wellness does make a new grain-free formula called Core:
Personally I don’t think grains are bad for a dog, you just don’t want wheat and you don’t want grains to be the first ingredient, you want the first ingredient to be a protein source. The Wellness Super 5 is a really terrific food, but I can’t give it to Archie because it is too rich for him and he gets soft stools. Maybe when he’s older.
Let me know what you decide.
I’m sorry to keep bothering you. I really do
appreciate your time and input. Wellness is the food
we plan on going with. In your opinion and considering
our Brutus having sensitive skin issues. We were
looking at the Wellness Fish & Sweet Potato and The
Lamb Super 5 Mix. Which of these 2 do you think would
be better for Bru keeping his skin issues in mind?
Also I’m using my yahoo to send emails because my
bellsouth addy is recieving incoming mail but having
problems with my outgoing.
Once again thank you so much for your opinions and
time. We tell all our bully lovin friends about ya.
James & Patty
My preference on those two would be the lamb Super 5.
The Fish and Sweet Potato is great too but the fish can
cause problems in a dog with food allergies.
The primary food allergens are beef, soy, chicken, and fish
in that order. Lamb seems to be the safest choice, and
Wellness only uses New Zealand lamb which is raise far
more naturally than lamb in the US.
Your Bulldog Pal,
December 20, 2007
James here …. wanting to ask you if you heard of this food. >>> Life’s
Abundance Premium Health Food For Puppies & Adult Dogs. I have been doing
research on a premium kibble for our Brutus when we are ready to take him
off puppy food. He is eating Eukanuba Med. Puppy after having some issues
with other puppy foods, we went with what the breeder was using and he is
doing great on it. Also what age do you recommend switching from puppy to
adult food. Brutus is 7 months and 50 pounds. He is in good shape and
exercises daily. I want to make sure we are able to maximize his gowth
potential in his chest and head. Let me know your suggestions and opinions.
I enclosed a picture of Brutus, in your opinion should he get bigger in
height & width ?
Thanks for sending the photo of Brutus. He is a very handsome bulldog!
He probably won’t get any bigger in height but he will fill out his width until
he’s a year and a half. Exercise is good because it will build up his muscles.
You can keep him on puppy food for a year. It generally has more
fats and protein for his growing body. So keep him on it for maximum
I have not heard of Life’s Abundance but just did a quick check of the
ingredients. The first ingredient is chicken, so if Brutus is ok with
chicken it looks good. Many dogs are allergic to chicken (my Archie
Eukanuba med is lamb and rice. So you might look into another lamb
and rice formula like Canidae or California Natural if he has food allergies.
Those are what I feed Archie, mixed with a little Wellness or California
Natural canned food.
Here’s a post on food allergies on my blog:
I hope this helps. Please email with any more questions.
Your Bulldog Pal,
December 7, 2007
I haven’t gotten the book yet but I am anxious to know about some problems that my bulldog has. One thing is he has small growths or blisters between his toes on front feet only that do not seem to hurt him but the sometimes burst and bleed a little, and he cleans them up and they seem to subside for a while. Very strange.
Those growths between his toes are called interdigital cysts. They so seem to have a higher incidence in bulldogs, probably because of their inbreeding. Nobody really knows what causes them, some people think it’s a fungus and some think it’s an ingrown hair. They usually clear up on their own and I am of the opinion they should not be punctured because that can lead to infection. And I wouldn’t go the antibiotic route because I think it not necessary unless there is an infection.
Here is a discussion thread from bulldog owners and breeders on how they treat them:
As for the cysts, I have used part of the process you’ve included: we
usually soak the affected paw in Epsom salts water. I don’t worry about
applying Panalog or other creams unless the vet has recommended it.
Generally with a cyst or any lesion on the paw that I am just starting to
treat, I just start with soaks. That way I clean the foot and can get a
really good look, and Epsom salts helps to soften and start the lesion
draining if it needs to. If it’s a cyst, is there a need for Panalog or
other anti-bacterial (antibiotic) ointments or creams? Not necessarily, only if it’s infected. So, if draining it and/or keeping it clean is enough, then why bring in antibiotics and tinker with resistance and such? If pus drains, then I do use ointment, usually triple antibiotic or Bacitracin. Like you, if soaks (with or without ointment) don’t work in 2-4 days, or if it worsens, it’s off to the vet we go!
What I have found is that many cysts are caused by ingrown hair. I
soak the affected food in Epson salts for about 5 minutes. When drying the paw if you look on the underneath side of the foot between the pads on the toe that is effected you will probably see an area that appears to have a black head. You can usually use a tweezers and pull the hairs out without causing your pet much discomfort. This has always worked on my dogs.
a long coarse of antibiotics usually cephalexin. and give it some time. i
have two that got cysts between the toes and used antibiotics 1 dogs went
away and hasnt come back… the other girls cyst has been back several times
now i dont even put her on antibiotics anymore, i keep it clean use panalog
oint and basically just keep popping the cyst to drain it and within a week
it starts to go away her last cyst i did this and it hasnt been back in over
a year. i am a technician at a vet clinic and ive seen surgeries removing
these cysts and 90% of them ive seen return anyway after several surgeries
and alot of money it is very hard to get all of the stalk inbetween the
toes so you often get regrowth any way…
well thats my 2 cents
There are as many interdigital cyst remedies as there are Bulldoggers.
I think the cysts have multiple causes including fungus advancing to
infection as the cyst develops.
Along that reasoning, I use a Nolvasan Surgical Scrub solution; 5%
Surgical Scrub, 95% water, applied with a spray bottle and massaged onto the
affected area. I apply twice daily and I’ve never had it last more than three
Nolvasan Surgical Scrub is a bit pricey,perhaps $55.00/Gallon, but a
gallon will last a lifetime (Or more) It’s very effective for hot spots and
simple skin problems. Most importantly, It’s an anti-bacterial agent and an
effective fungicide, not an anti-biotic. A simple solution for a complex problem.
I agree with Walt’s solution -
That’s a great idea
I also use a home made concoction we fondly call “Oden’s Foot” It is 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% water – you boil the water and ad 2 heaping tablespoons of salt till it dissolves. Let is cool a bit then mix with the alcohol put in a sprayer bottle and spray several times a day -
this dries up themoisture and the cyst – this is a people remedy given my son when he had severe fungal infections of the toe nails – it works great you just need to be consistent and spray frequently
And here are some links to more information and photos on the topic:
Your Bulldog Pal,