Breeding American Bulldogs

Breeding American BulldogsThe American Bulldog, a large Bull breed dog that is thought to have been brought to the United States in the 17th and 18th Centuries, requires a lot of attention from its owners. As well as requiring plenty of exercise on a daily basis, the American Bulldog can also be prone to a multitude of health problems, and requires lots of maintenance to keep it healthy and clean.

Health Problems

American Bulldogs are extremely prone to developing hip and elbow dysplasia, which is where the joints become loose and sore. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, which evaluated hip X-rays of more than 1200 American Bulldogs, over 30% of the dogs have this condition. This makes the American Bulldog the 15th worst out of 142 recognized breeds for suffering from this problem.

On top of that, 20% of the dogs evaluated had elbow dysplastia, making the breed the 7th worst out of 82 recognized breeds that were tested. It’s expected that outside of tests, the percentage is even higher, given that most of the bad X-rays don’t tend to be sent in for further official evaluation.

On top of these joint problems, the American Bulldog can suffer from Entropion, which is a condition that affects the eyelid as a result of the heavy skin folds on the breed. This is a condition that can occur in any dog with large skin folds, and it’s something you can avoid by regularly cleaning your dog’s skin.

Other skin problems, including Demodectic Mange, can occur in puppies and adolescent dogs. Allergies can also cause itchiness and red, flaky and dry skin. In turn, this bad skin can lead to skin infections, which will need to be treated with a special course of antibiotics that are prescribed by a vet.

Some of these health problems you can avoid, but others can be helped by changing your dog’s environment and food.

Genetic conditions, including dysplasia, cannot be changed by environmental factors – but there are things you can do to help relieve pain. Vets will be able to prescribe medication that eases the pain for these dogs, and you can also use supplements – including fish oils – that give the bones and joints more resources to stay strong and healthy. Ensuring your dog also has access to plenty of raw meat and bones means they get more calcium that can make their own bones stronger.

Other health problems, like skin infections, can be avoided by regularly cleaning the folds in your dog’s skin. Simply taking a sponge with warm water and wiping away any dead skin or dirt that gets stuck in these folds means that skin doesn’t become itchy, red and sore. It also removes any source of bacteria, which can develop and cause your dog a wide range of other problems.

On top of cleaning wrinkles – and making sure they are fully dried after they are cleaned – owners should brush their dog’s teeth on a weekly basis using a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste. This will help avoid any food getting trapped in between the teeth, and ultimately rotting away the gum on the tooth. While young dogs won’t tend to have this problem, older dogs that haven’t had their teeth brushed can slowly lose their teeth to infections.

 

Coat Maintenance

With its short coat, the American Bulldog is generally quite low maintenance. It’s important to regularly brush the coat, however, as it will reduce the amount of hair that they shed in your home throughout the year. Bathing is not too necessary, either. You should only bathe your dog when he or she has gotten covered in mud and begins to smell. Otherwise, washing your dog only irritates the skin and removes natural oils.

Dietary Requirements

Bulldogs are notoriously gassy, particularly when they eat commercial wet and dry dog food. A dog of this size should be eating plenty of raw and fresh food, including meat, bones and some vegetables. Preparing this fresh food, as opposed to feeding your pet dry and wet commercial food, can cut back on flatulence and also give them plenty of nutrients and vitamins that are required to keep their bones and muscles healthy.

American Bulldogs should be fed, as puppies, three times a day – but as they get older, this can be reduced to twice or even once a day. Sticking to a routine can help regular your dog’s bowel movements, too, and once they reach adulthood, one daily meal can be more than enough for them to remain a healthy size.

If you choose to feed your dog twice a day, consider preparing raw meat for its morning meal, and serving a dry food at night time. This dry food can help gums and teeth by removing any wet food that might get stuck and stopping infections from forming. The dry food can also be beneficial as a result of the fiber content, helping ensure that your dog has all the nutrients necessary to absorb the goodness from its food.

There are some foods that have been designed especially for Bulldogs, and your vet will be able to direct you to the best ones. Good pet stores should also have bags of dry food developed specifically for this large breed, including food made especially for Bulldog puppies.

Preventing Obesity

Stopping your dog from becoming overweight is much easier than regulating your own bodyweight – assuming you can say no to their loving puppy eyes! Cutting back on the snacks you feed your dog, ensuring that they have only one or two portions of food per day, and fitting in plenty of exercise will keep your dog nice and healthy.

Regularly walking and running with your dog will help strengthen the dog’s respiratory system and keep him or her healthy in their old age. This keeps oxygen flowing to muscles and helps them stay active, and it also keeps joints flexible, which is important in a dog that is prone to dysplasia.

Exercising also releases pent up energy, which can save your furniture from being ruined, and also helps aid their digestion. So be sure to get plenty of exercise with your American Bulldog!