Hi Jan,

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.

Marie

—–answer—–

Hi Marie,

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
in it.

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
store.

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,
Jan

Hi Jan,
I’m so glad you e mailed this, as a matter of fact my husband is responcible for purchasing our bullie. I had just lost my 14 yr old companion, an Old English mastiff, and was needless to say heartbroken. I took a little vacation to visit a friend, to help take my mind of my loss, only to discover when I arrived home this little bundle of cuteness awaited me. Being a dog lover since birth, at first I was angry at my husband, but after a day of sharing my space with this adorable creature, I was once again in love. Now if it was me purchasing a dog, I would have really investigated the breeders. Jim purchased Spike from an online breeder, I did some snooping, and although I get thousands of complements on Spike’s looks and friendliness, I am now dealing with some of the issues you mentioned in your  email.  He has terrible stains in the folds below his eyes, I am now treating this with medicine from the vet. I have also had his nostriles operated on because his snoring and breathing was so bad.  He is passing gas all the time, so bad that we have to leave the room. And I have noticed he vomits alot, I thought it was from me tugging his leash against his short throat. He is fed a product called Innova “puppie” which the pet shop in my neighborhood reccomended as it is all natural and suppose to be one of the best ( I say that with tongue in cheek) as I am a sceptic with all the commercial dog food products. I am a business owner and ashamed to admit I don’t have the time to cook for my family let alone my Spike. I have hunted the internet for any and all articles on bulldogs and I’m happy that I stumbled upon yours. I will go to all lengths for my animal, I’m happy that I can afford a purebreed and all I want is to give him the love and care that he returns to me everyday with his anticks and personality. THe bulldog is one funny critter, I can’t tell you the joy he has brought me. Owning a Mastiff was a very expensive endevor to say the least, he had skin issued, allergies, ear problems. So I know now how important preventitive care is. I could have put another child though 8 yrs of college with what I paid in vet expenses. I look forward to your reply and I want to thank you for your time to send me your emails. I was very impressed with your interviews and your knowledge.

Thank you again,

Rosemarie Tinsley

———-answer——–
Hi Rosemarie,

I’m not familiar with that breeder – did a quick search on the internet, but didn’t learn much.
Many breeders do their breeding for looks and for the money.  And many of them love the
breed but don’t really know what they’re doing.  Usually when I hear from someone, it’s
because they are having problems.

The problems you list are common, although in my opionion, they can be bred out of the
breed lines by conscientious breeders.But you love your bulldog so now what you need
to do is cope with what you have.

The eye problems are probably caused by eyelashes that are irritating Spike’s eyes.
I recommend you take him to an ophthalmologist who can treat them.

The gas can often be cured by elevating the food and feeding 3x a day instead of
once.

The vomiting is another thing that may be cured by elevating the food, but can also
be a more serious issue known as megasphagus.  You can read about that on my
blog:
http://bulldoghealth.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/bulldog-megasphagus-and-esophageal-motility-disorder/

I think Innova is the very best brand.  It is rich and can cause some digestive things
like gas and soft stools.  But it is particularly high quality.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

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

——answer——–

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
with allergies.

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:

http://www.vivyland.com/articles/sfa.html

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,
Jan

Hi Jan, I have another question for you. Tyke is a very fussy eater, but I am concerned that he will gain weight and I would like to keep him healthy. I feed him twice a day a mix of Paul Newmans dry organic food with either chicken or chopped meat mixed in. My question is how many calories should a Bulldog eat a day. He has two good walks a day but I don’t want him to become over weight. He is up to 60 lbs right now my vet says he should be between 50 and 55lbs. how do feel about this?  Thanks you, Your Bully Pal JoAnn

——-answer——–

Hi JoAnn,

That’s a good question!  I have found that most people overfeed their bulldogs
because they think they should look chubby.

I have that one photo of Tyke and he doesn’t look overweight to me (hard to
tell with that Bear’s shirt – lol).  If he still looks like that, I’d say you’re feeding
him the right amount.

A healthy dog needs to have a waist and you should be able to feel his ribs.
It takes a little practice to feel a bulldog’s ribs but you get a sense for it by
moving the skin around his ribs.  You should be able to feel them but not
really see them because he has so much skin.

To see a bulldog’s waist, you look down on him from above and you can
see a narrowing behind the rib cage before his hind quarters.  Contrary to
what a lot of people think, a bulldog should not have what I refer to as a
buddha belly – a chubby protrusion from his stomach.

Tyke is a big guy.  A normal male will be 50-55 pounds.  If his parents
were large, then 60 pounds may be genetically normal for him.

If he has a waist and you can (kinda) feel his ribs, he’s probably a fine
weight.  Some bulldogs get to be upwards of 70 pounds.

As for caloric intake, I’ve never really measured it that way.  I usually go
by the amount of foood recommended on the package.  So if you add the
extra protein you should reduce the amount of dry food.

You can tell pretty quickly if your bulldog is gaining weight.  It only takes
a couple of weeks for them to start packing on the pounds.  I used to
have this dog sitter for Vivy when I would leave town.  And when I came
home after a week or so I could tell the sitter had been giving her tons
of treats (because she’s so cute she said).  So it shows up really fast.

So my method of weight maintenance is primarily visual.  If Archie starts
to gain weight, I cut back a little.  He gets more exercise during different
seasons and I adjust for that.  Again primarily by looking at him.

Exercise is really important for any dog.  And two walks a day is great!
That will help his heart and keep his weight down.  Also remember muscle
weighs more than fat.

I take Archie out for two walks a day for about 20-30 minutes each.  And
we have a little training each time as well.  Sit, stay, heel, etc. to keep
him from pulling me from one point of interest to the next.

Dogs love the stimulation of walks and adding a little training really helps
stimulate their minds as well.

I hope this helps, it’s more of a trial and error process than a set formula.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Hi Jan,

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

Tracey

——–answer——-

Hi Tracey,

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
immune system.

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,

Jan

Hi Jan How are you today?

I have another question for you. How many eggs a week can a dog eat!
are they like people and can get too much cholesterol?

Also can they eat Broccoli?

Your Bully Friend,
JoAnn

——

Hi JoAnn,

Most experts say 1-2 eggs per week.  They are like people and can get too much cholesterol.
In fact, the dog genome is very similar to the human genome – which may help explain why
we love our dogs so much!
Eggs are one of those “whole foods” that have good cholesterol to counteract the bad.
They also have certain properties in the whites which help draw the good nutrients
out of the yolks, so I’d never just feed my bulldog (or myself) egg whites only.

Many of the raw diets include eggs. You can feed the eggs raw or cooked.  They also help
keep your dog’s coat shiny.

Exercise and weight control are very important in preventing heart disease in bulldogs.

Broccoli can be fed in small amounts.  Large amounts can be toxic but I always fed Vivy
a little broccoli when I was preparing it and never saw any ill effects.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Bulldog Head Nodding

January 21, 2008

Hi Jan,
I have a 18 month old boy called Boyce. Yesterday he started nodding his
head, well like his mouth was nodding, any Idea’s?

Thanks

Jackie

———-

Hi Jackie,

From your description I think that “nodding” could be low blood sugar.
Sometimes during a growth spurt (which happens in a bulldog at 18 months)
the dog experiences low calcuim and glucose at times.

There’s an easy way to find out.  Give him a little yogurt or Karo syrup or
even ice cream and he should stop nodding within a few minutes if this
is the case.

If this works then you know what to do the next time it happens.  This
should just be a phase he’s going through and he should outgrow it.

If it doesn’t work and/or if you are still concerned you should take him
to your vet for a full blood count to rule out other causes.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

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