Have you ever wanted an English bulldog? If so, are you aware of the various problems you may face regarding their health? Though every dog can meet the abundance of conditions they may get, English bulldogs are a particular case. The way they are built and their body composition directly affect their overall. So much so that there are controversies about whether or not they should still be bred.
This will be all talked about in this article. In which we will discuss the health problems they may encounter and their causes. We will also talk about the previously mentioned controversy. But first, we are going to need to depict an English bulldog’s bodily structure.
English Bulldogs’ Physical Composition
✅ The English bulldog’s general physical composition is still similar to any other dog breed’. However, the difference lies in their skeletal structure, specifically, the cranial area. Bulldogs’ skulls are not well-structured compared to other dogs, and because of this, it causes them some problems. One of these problems is their unusually large underbites.
✅ These underbites cause a variety of dental problems for our canine friends. Their skull is also sort of compacted to the extent that they will constantly be drooling. They are also vulnerable to hip dysplasia and defects in the bones in their chest cavity, which is why the mortality rate for puppies during birth is relatively high.
✅ As you can see, they are not blessed with the proper physical structure other dogs have. They have been deemed as straying away from their wolf ancestors because of this experimental breeding. Because of this, bulldogs have a shorter lifespan and higher mortality rate to diseases than other dog breeds. This directs us to the next section, which is the diseases and health problems they are prone to.
Health Problems They Are Likely To Encounter And Their Causes
🩸 Breathing Problems
Because of the previously mentioned narrow nostrils, these dogs are prone to breathing problems. It could be because of tiredness from exercise, heat, or lack of proper ventilation. All of these factors can contribute to how much air the dog needs and how likely it is to become suffocated. This is why many owners and breeders recommend to let bulldogs have a limited amount of exercise. It may sound like it is unhealthy, and it is, but it seems to be the best case for this dog.
Since their snouts are also very short, they can easily make a mess while eating or drinking. They will also tend to drool while eating because of this. They should also be careful around the potential choking hazard.
Because of the structure of their upper respiratory tract, this breed of dogs is more likely to have exposure to infections. That means bacteria or viruses can easily infiltrate the long and potentially damage its lining. This will then cause the native bacteria or other bacteria in the air to cause the infection or pneumonia. Though this can have a treatment with antibiotics, it can leave permanent damage to the respiratory system.
They also have naturally narrow nostrils, which can be an issue when they are eating or drinking. It can easily be blocked off by portions of food or water if they are not careful. Considering the fact that they have an aggressive appetite, this may become an issue. They will also be prone to panting and heatstroke during exercise because of these nostrils.
🩸 Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
This condition is characterized by having facial deformation. The face becomes much more compact and somewhat squeezed together, which is the case for all bulldogs. In a way, all English bulldogs will have to live with this condition because of their structure. This condition can bring them an abundance of health problems and inconveniences that they have to live with.
These adverse effects vary depending on the severity. It could go from the inconvenience of having difficulty eating to life-threatening respiratory illnesses. The English bulldog may suffer even more as it ages or as it becomes obese.
🩸 Bone Displacements
The odd build of the bulldog causes a bunch of hindrances and potentially disabling conditions. This would include hip dysplasia, which separates the joints of the hip, causing difficulty with coordination. English bulldogs are also prone to a lot of joint problems, which can happen anywhere in their body. This would cause that part to become stiff and hard to move for the bulldog itself.
Please take note that the majority of bulldogs actually have this issue because of their structure. That means they are also prone to many severe conditions like arthritis. Therefore, displacements can potentially disable the bulldog permanently. Bone displacement is also the reason why some puppies don’t even survive after birth.
🩸 Skin Conditions
Because of the wrinkles and unique appearance of their skin, they are prone to these conditions. Such skin conditions would include eczema, dermatitis, and cysts which can become painful for the bulldog. In addition, the folds and wrinkles in their skin can collect excess oil and bacteria that lead to poor skin hygiene. Therefore, to prevent skin conditions, you need to observe regular maintenance for the bulldog’s skin.
However, you should also need to prevent your bulldog from scratching itself. Its claws, especially if they are long, can potentially harm their skin easily. Broken skin is very likely to progress into an infection, especially if it is left untreated.
🩸 Problems With High Temperature
Due to the limited breathing capabilities and the fatty structure of the dog, high temperatures become an issue. You can quickly solve inconsistent temperatures with proper ventilation and air conditioning. It would help if you also left a bowl of water available for your bulldog to access at all times. These dogs can also have a cold bath during warmer weather.
Without these factors, the bulldog can suffer heatstroke, problems with breathing, and even death. Unfortunately, they are not the best dogs for regulating their body temperature, so you have to do it for them. It should also be worth noting that their thick fat can contribute to bodily heat, especially if they are obese. So it would help if you did whatever you could to prevent them from becoming obese.
Despite having nothing to do with their physical structure, allergies are prevalent in bulldogs. Having allergies is all thanks to their inherited genes that are widespread among their breed. Like in humans, allergies are triggered mainly by environmental stimuli and especially ingested material. This would include food and medicine, which is quite inconvenient considering that we need those to survive.
Allergies can’t be cured, but there are some remedies for treating an allergic reaction given by vets. Preventive treatments would include medication such as antihistamine, which inhibits the violent response of the immune system. It is essentially what your dog is allergic to, so you can avoid that allergen altogether. This might be food such as particular meat or dairy, fleas, pollen, or medicine.
Bulldogs are prone to this deadly disease which is because of their genetic makeup. Cancers are when cells become corrupted and will continue to replicate for their gain. Damaged cells can cause tumors, which can become malignant, causing them to spread across the dog’s body. It will cause organ failure and, ultimately, death. Unfortunately, there is no known proper prevention nor full-proof cure for canine cancer.
🩸 Eye Problems
Optical problems are especially prevalent for bulldogs who are growing old. Their genes and the structure of their skull are unfit to inhibit some of these eye problems. They are especially prone to cherry and dry eyes, which can be painful experiences in either case. An aged bulldog needs to have an eye examination frequently because of this. Eye problems that are left untreated can potentially progress into vision loss.
Because of their inability to exercise correctly, they are very prone to obesity. English bulldogs are known to be quite lazy and lethargic because exercising is strenuous for them. Declining to exercise means they are prone to other weight-related conditions; such are cardiovascular diseases. They will also become prone to diabetes because of this.
Obese bulldogs will constantly be seen having a hard time breathing and moving around. Obesity can also lead to respiratory problems. These side effects are all potentially life-threatening to the bulldog. So it is very important to maintain an English bulldog’s healthy weight, which is around 18-25 kilograms.
Taking Care Of English Bulldogs
This section will differentiate the differences in taking care of a bulldog compared to other breeds.
Bulldogs will have to be more careful with their diet because they are prone to obesity. This means its owner should be aware of the right amount of calories that a bulldog needs per day. They should avoid sugary sweets and lean more on more nutrition-based treats since they are prone to diabetes. In addition, bulldogs should eat a substantial amount of protein and necessary vitamins to prevent joint damage from their weight. Since this breed is notorious for having a large appetite, they must have disciplinary training for more self-control.
These bulldogs tend to exercise less because of the structure of their nostrils. Too much physical activity can cause them to run out of air which can knock them unconscious. If they are doing physical activity indoors, it should be stimulating and entertaining to prevent boredom. These dogs will rather stay indoors and become lethargic, so that they will need some mental stimulation. It is also worth practicing that you have to give them some refreshments after the physical activity.
⚕️ Grooming And Hygiene
Like most dogs, they will need brushing, nail trimming, and bathing. However, they are needier when it comes to grooming and cleaning. Once they eat or drink, some of it will scatter on their face because of their unique snouts. So you have to clean them up after they eat with a clean cloth or towel.
⚕️ Time And Maintenance
They are going to need more time and maintenance compared to some other dog breeds. English bulldogs need proper ventilation, climate control, a balanced diet, and a lot of time from their owners. Their needs can become quite expensive, especially since they are prone to health problems.
English bulldogs will have to go to the vet more than the other breeds. The vets can prolong their lives with vaccinations, treatments, and some preventives against various illnesses. Which, again, will consume a lot of your time, energy, and of course, money.
The Controversial Factor: Is It Justifiable To Keep Breeding Bulldogs?
✅ As you have observed, the life of an English bulldog sounds unpleasant. Some would argue that these dogs exist to suffer various health conditions they are prone to. Because of mass breeding, more and more bulldogs are inheriting bad genes. As time goes by, there will surely be even more bulldogs with even more health problems. This is quite conflicting because, on the one hand, breeding these bulldogs seem to be almost unfair to them.
✅ On the other hand, halting the breeding process can eventually cause the breed to become extinct. Avoiding the breeding process may sound cruel, but humans cause this breed’s existence in the first place. They experimented and tried to achieve a somewhat charming dog through excessive breeding. Though some are ethical, there is no doubt that we should start considering stopping breeding them. Unfortunately, some believe it is better for them not to exist than to exist just to face all this suffering.
English bulldogs are genuinely a charming and unique breed of dogs. Unfortunately, however, they face various health problems that can make their lives filled with discomfort and suffering. Their bodily structure and genetics caused them to become this way, and it is all because of us humans.
It may blur the lines between mercy through extinction and torture through existence, but we have to decide eventually. Dogs are not meant to become this way, and it is humanity’s duty to, at the very least, prevent these instances from happening. Whatever happens to the breed next is up to the authorities, the vets, and of course, the breeders.