show your support

Common Bulldog Health Problems

The best medical advice anyone can give you is, "Find a veterinarian who knows and likes Bulldogs." This is one of the reasons it's a good idea to join your local Bulldog Club. The members can usually refer you to a veterinarian who is familiar with Bulldogs and who likes them. Some veterinarians don't like Bulldogs, and no matter how good a veterinarian is, he's not right for your Bulldog.

The best proactive course is to know your Bulldog. Check the entire dog daily. Know if he isn't eating, if he isn't playing, if he doesn't seem quite right. There are several minor ailments you can treat at home. Remember that if a home remedy doesn't cure the problem in two days, take the dog to the veterinarian. Also remember that there are medical condition which cannot wait the two days. When in doubt which it is, err on the side of safety for your dog.

As with people, dogs require careful attention to their physical and emotional needs and to their diet. In order for dogs to live happy, productive, and long lives their owners need to be aware of the everyday health requirements as well as be on the look out for any sudden physical changes. This section provides viewers with various hints and tips on general health care, medical terms and what they mean, and alerts on immediate health concerns.

Nutrition plays an important part in the development of a puppy into adulthood. Care must be taken to be sure that dogs are fed proper nutrition to meet their developmental needs at the various stages of their lives. Nutrition encompasses the proper diet combined with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that will help dogs fulfill their life span.

Bulldogs are generally a healthy breed, with much dependant upon the breeder from whom the came. A good start will usually give you years of fun and love from the old sourmugs. A Bulldog should see a vet for shots and checkups regularly. You should also consider spaying or neutering your pet since there are health advantages to that as well. There are many who will think "Breeding" as soon as they get a bulldog. Well, it's not a good choice for the average family pet. Breeding is very difficult and expensive with the bulldog. It's best left to those who have devoted a lifetime to the breed and know what to do and how to do it. Breeding will not improve the health or happiness of a dog and in some cases breeding is fatal. The average life for a Bulldog is around 10 or so although there are many who live years beyond that. A Bulldog needs to be an indoor dog or have the proper air conditioned kennel. Bulldogs can't swim well at all and extreme caution should be taken when a Bulldog is around water to avoid drowning. Although they should be kept out of deep pools, a few inches of water in a kids pool outside is a welcome site to most Bulldogs. The Bulldog appreciates a daily outing but cannot tolerate hot, humid weather. He should not be expected to jog or walk great distances, or to jump from any height. Most Bulldogs wheeze and snore, and some drool slightly. Coat care is minimal, but facial wrinkles and any folds around the tail (which can be deeper than you think) should be cleaned daily.

The Bulldog's heavy-set, low-slung body gives it a low center of gravity. His limbs are sturdy, his gait loose-jointed and shuffling. Major health concerns: canine hip dysplasia, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, shoulder luxation, internalized tail Minor concerns: entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, patellar luxation Occasionally seen: urethral prolapse, vaginal hyperplasia Note: Precautions must be taken when anesthetizing a Bulldog. Caesarian deliveries are commonly needed. An experienced Bulldog vet is always your best choice.

Medical terms and more information:

Pills and capsules Open the dog's mouth, push the pill or capsule as far down his throat as possible, then hold his mouth shut and stroke his throat until he swallows. Or wrap the pill or capsule in a bit of ground beef or cheese and feed it to the dog.


For minor upset stomach Pepto Bismol or a similar medicine can be used. Dose is according to the dog's weight. If there is hard vomiting or if the upset lasts more than 24 hours, take the dog to your veterinarian.

Diarrhea Kaopectate can be used for minor diarrhea. Dose amount depends on the dog's weight. If the diarrhea continues longer than 24 hours or if there is blood in the stool, take the dog to the veterinarian.

Hot Spots

These are red, irritated, weeping, itchy spots. They can be caused by allergy, insect bites, or flea allergy dermatitis. Clean the area thoroughly. You can wash with shampoo, rinse and dry. Or clean with Baby Wipes with lanolin and aloe. Or wash with Bigeloil. Then apply a medications such as Panalog, Bag Balm, Sulfadene, or 1% cortisone cream. Clean and apply medication daily. You should see improvement by the second day. If not, go to the veterinarian.

Interdigital Cysts

This problem appears as a red swelling that pops up between the dogs toes. First examine the paw carefully, especially the underside between the pads to be sure there is no foreign matter (a thorn or such). If there is, take it out. Clean the area. Remedies include: (I) Soaking the paw in warm water and Epsom Salts, dry and rub in Panalog, or (2) Use Preparation H, or (3) Have your veterinarian make this up for you: One part 60% DMSO, one part Gentavet solution 50 mg. per ml. Apply one drop per day; rub in with a Q Tip. Do NOT use more than one drop, do NOT apply more frequently than once a day. (Touching your skin with it can cause a garlic taste in your mouth.) If you start application at the first sign, this solution will prevent the cyst from developing. With all these treatments, it's best to continue the treatment for two to three days after the cyst is gone.

Fungus Spots

These are somewhat like hot spots, but they are not weepy. Be sure you clean away all the "scabby" material. Wash the area and treat with Panalog, Keflex, or any good anti-fungal ointment. You can use Demorex shampoo or a sulfur based soap for the washing.

Facial Acne or Eczema

Bulldogs are forever putting their faces into all kinds of strange places and can get pimples on his face and chin. It can also be caused by using plastic food or water bowls because bacteria collects in the scratches of the plastic and some Bullies are susceptible to topical bacterial infections. Usually you can clear these up just by washing and rubbing in an anti-biotic ointment. Or you can try OXYIO (benzoil peroxide) which you can purchase at a drug store. If they persist, you will need to get an oral anti-biotic medication from your veterinarian.


Dust, wind, pollen, the things that make your eyes burn and water have the same effect on your Bulldog. You can rinse the eyes out with a eye solution (such as Clear Eyes).

Cherry Eye

The gland which normally resides under the lower eye lid at the inside corner of the eye will sometimes "pop" out. This is not as horrible as it appears to be and does not require emergency treatment. It does require treatment at the earliest possible time by a veterinarian recommended for Cherry Eye. The quicker the dog gets treatment the better the chance for successful treatment without removing the gland. Removal of the gland often results in a "dry" eye which will require ointment the rest of the dog's life.


Some Bulldog's have their tail set in a pocket. If yours does you will need to make a special effort to keep that pocket clean and dry. Wipe it out frequently. Be sure to dry it thoroughly and apply an ointment such as Panalog or a drying powder.


You take his temperature just as you take a small baby's - rectally. Use a good rectal thermometer, lubricate generously with Vaseline, insert gently. Hold onto the thermometer, dogs have been known to "suck" them in. Unlike the four to five minutes it takes in a child to get a reading, a Bulldog only takes about a minute to read. Normal temperature for most dogs is from 100.5 to 102.

Insect Stings

If your Bulldog is stung by a bee or other insect, give him Benadryl (either capsule or liquid) and watch him closely for the next half hour. You may also apply an ice pack to the area where he was stung if you know where it is and remove the stinger if it is still in the bite.

More articles we recommend: