English Bulldog on a Sailboat – is this okay?

When I finish my schooling I am planning on traveling long-term by sailboat (cruising) to various parts of the world, starting with the Caribbean. At first my immediate thought was, “A bulldog should be better suited to a 42 foot sailboat than any other breed, seeing as how they are mild-mannered dogs who just lie around most of the time. Until I bought your book I didn’t really grasp just how serious heat stroke is in bulldogs. I knew they were more prone to overheating, but I had no idea they could develop heat stroke in 80 degree weather. That’s what really shocked me. We have air conditioning in the sailboat, but only when we are plugged into a marina. When out sailing the air can’t run off batteries of even wind or solar power. So we are pretty much limited to fans in warm weather while under way. This is the only thing that poses a real problem in my getting an english bulldog. I don’t believe exercise would be a problem because we would spend more time in marinas than sailing, so going for walks wouldn’t be an issue. The thing is when we are sailing from one location to the next, would my bulldog overheat in the warmer hours of the day? This is killing me! I am in love with sailing, and I am in love with english bulldogs. I just can’t bring myself to choose one or the other. I just wish there was some way the two could go together and keep my bulldog comfortable as well. This is why I was curious about miniature bulldogs. But I am really only interested in the english bulldog. I have seen various products that aid in keeping your dog cool in warm weather such as cooling pads that the dog lies on, cooling bandanas, cooling vests, etc. Do you think it is possible to keep a bulldog cool on a sailboat with no A/C, but lots of cool shade in the cockpit and of course in the cabin if we avoid temperatures over 90 degrees while keeping fans on the bulldog during warmer hours of the day, along with lots of cool freshwater for him to drink, possibly a cooling pad for him to lie on, maybe even a kiddie pool in the cockpit for him to lie in? What I’m saying is I am willing to do anything to make it possible to keep an english bulldog comfortable on a sailboat. Keep in mind it would only be warm in the afternoon hours while making a short 1-2 day crossing from one location to the next. The majority of the time we would be in a marina running the A/C. I would worship this dog, and would never leave him in a situation that may harm him. And if it is absolutely impossible to keep a bulldog cool and comfortable with no A/C for a couple of days at a time, then I would do the responsible thing and not get a bulldog, even though it would break my heart.

What is your view on my situation? Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.


Hi Lori

In your situation I think you could manage a bulldog.
I’d be especially careful in choosing one with minimal
breathing problems – this requires careful research of breeders.

Then if you keep your bulldog in the shade with a breeze and possibly
a cooling vest or wet t-shirt, he should be ok.  Stuffy heat or
ourdoors over 80 just laying around is very dangerous.
A cooling pad would also be a good idea.

And you could also invest in a life jacket for your bulldog.  They
do not really swim well because of the large head and chest.
But they do love the water, so a life line attached to a harness
would also be a good idea.
I live in Denver and when it gets over 80 degrees inside my home,
I notice that my Archie starts to lay around and sometimes just
pants.  I turn on the air conditioning for him when it gets this warm.
He’ll gravitate to the cool tiles and hardwood floor in the heat, and
avoids his fleece bed.

Sometimes I take my Archie outside when it’s 90-something and
I’m hosing down the deck.  I host him down too, but I don’t let
him run around for more than 10 minutes.  And I keep a very
close eye on him.

You can tell when they start to overheat.  They start panting
really hard with tongue extended way out.  Or they vomit.
This are both signs to take action immediately in cooling
them off.

A bulldog can overheat in the winter if they get too excited
and run around the house with other dogs.  I’ve had this
happen with Archie at Thanksgiving.  But I can tell because
he starts to pant.  They don’t know they can’t keep up with
the other dogs!

I have heard of many bulldog deaths where some ignorant
owner has their dog chasing them while they mow the lawn.
The dog collapses and dies before they can get them to the
vet.  But this is because they did not know about the over-

Anyway if you are knowledgeable about the symptoms and
if you just observe you will learn pretty quickly what your bulldog’s
limits are.

So I think you’ll be fine sailing the seas!  It would make a good
news story!

Let me know when you get one.

your bulldog pal,



My English Bulldog is Throwing Up a Lot . . .

Hi Jan,
I was wondering if you could help me? Gracie my bulldog seems to throw up alot.
Is there something I can do? Do you think there is something wrong with her?
I am very worried about her..
Thanks so much,
Hi Janice,

It depends on what sort of vomiting.
There is a difference between vomiting and regurgitation.
If your dog is simply throwing up food right after eating,
food that has not been in the stomach, it is probably simple

Bulldogs tend to gulp their food and sometimes eat so fast
that the food can’t get down the esophagus properly and
so they throw up.

There is a condition common in bulldogs called esophageal
motility disorder, where the normal constrictions of the
esophagus don’t work properly and cause the bulldog to
not “swallow” properly and often regurgitate.

There is a simple way to alleviate this condition that I
recommend in my book.  Elevate your bulldog’s food
dish.  This lets gravity take over and help get the food
down her throat.

To soothe an upset stomach you can feed her a little
canned pumpkin with her food – be sure it is pure
pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie mix which is loaded
with sugar.

There are, however, other things that can cause vomiting,
including food allergies, metabolic disorders, ulcers, or
even obstructions in the throat, or if she has something
lodged in her stomach like a rawhide bone or teddy bear.

If you suspect she has eaten the stuffing out of a teddy
bear or a similar item, you can withhold her food for
about 7-8 hours.  Then give her some white bread with
the crust cut off.  It’s really gooey and can catch
what’s clogging her and pass it through.

Be sure she gets small amounts of water frequently
or sucks on an ice cube to keep her from getting
dehydrated.  Then give her a couple pieces of white
bread, broken up into small pieces.  This will bind with
the stuffing and allow it to pass through.  If she throws
this up as well, call your vet immediately.

Vomiting is characterized by the dog heaving for a while
before the stomach contents come up.  When they do, they
may also come through her nose.

If your dog has been vomiting blood or bile, you need to
take her to the vet right away.  Vomiting is dehydrating
which is very dangerous long term.

Throwing up can be an indication of serious illness in
the liver or kidneys or pancreas.  Your vet should be
able to do some simple tests to determine this.

If your bulldog has been “vomiting” for several days,
if she is still doing so, I think it advisable to take her to
the vet to make sure she does not have anything lodged in
her stomach or esophagus.  And make sure it is not a more
serious illness.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if you need some clarification.

your bulldog pal,


My English Bulldog is Eating Sticks!

Hope your day is going well.

I just noticed Dexter has gotten into a habit of literally eating sticks outside.
He’s only 8 mths so i’m hoping it s a faze. Is there something possibly lacking
in his diet?? Im going crazy and dont want to let him out to play. I try to
clean the sticks up but we have a lot of trees.


Hi Jodi,

It’s a phase, thank heavens!  Chewing behavior is normal for a young bulldog
and it’s sometimes difficult to keep them away from things they shouldn’t
eat.  Sticks are ok for Dexter to chew on but not so good if he eats them
because splinters can damage his esophagus and stomach.

He will outgrow this but in the meantime you could try to distract him with
something else like a prized toy or a ball.

There’s nothing missing in his diet, it’s more of a puppy thing.  If he eats
dirt that can indicate a dietary deficiency, but in general this sort of chewing
is instinctual.

Here’s a site with some good advice on alternatives to sticks:

I hope this helps.  Please let me know how it goes.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Bulldog Scratching Makes Open Wound

Bosco scatches one side of his head alot and it has an open bloody “wound”
the size of a small button.  The vet put him on benedryl and it healed but
after he came off benedry he scatched it open again.  Am concerned giving
him benedryl everyday.  Any suggestions?



Does your vet know what the cause of the scratching is?
He may have an allergy or a flea or something else – did
he give any ideas on it?  Is that the only ‘hot spot’ or are
there more?

Scratching is a classic sign of atopy or allergic reaction to
something in the environment. Getting to the source of it
is essential to stopping it.

Benedryl is safe to use for a while until the wound heals,
it’s definitely better than him getting an infection.  The other
alternative to stop him scratching while it heals is to put on
one of those ‘Elizabethan collars’ or cones so he is not able
to scratch.

When a wound is healing and scabs it typically itches so you
need to be sure it’s healed all the way before you let him get
to scratch it again.

When it heals you could put some arnica cream on the area to
help stop the itching but I don’t think it’s advisable on an
open wound.

I hope this helps, without more information I’m not sure
what could be the cause.

your bulldog pal,
———follow up———-

Vet said it was probably an allergy to something but he did not know what
it could be a million things.  No fleas. That is the only hot spot Bosco
has ever had.  Could he be allergic to the cats?  Wood burner? Although he
had it over the summer too.  Do bulldogs have a higher body temp b/c he
seems to get hot easily. He likes A/C. Any suggestions?   Thanx


Hi Ellen,

Hard to tell what it could be.  If it goes away with the Benedryl,
that would be good.  It could be a small pimple or sore that he
scratches and makes it bigger.  The trick is to get to it quickly,
when it’s really small and put Bacitraicin on it to keep it from
getting infected and spreading.

If you notice it’s seasonal you can keep an eye on what’s in
his environment at that time.  Also it helps to vacuum a lot
and do not use any harsh chemicals on your carpet or floor
or his bed – anywhere he could come in contact.

Bulldogs do not have a higher body temp, but they do not
tolerate the heat well.  So if you’re in a warm climate, he
will gravitate to the a/c to keep himself cool.

Allergic reactions like hives and cause the skin to increase in

your bulldog pal,


Couch Potato Bulldog Doesn’t Want to Exercise

Hi Jan,
My name is Kathy and I know your pretty knowledgeable about Bulldogs.
We have a 3 1/2 yr old male. He weighs about 87 pounds.

He has breathing issues too. We are wondering about a diet for him?
We currently feed him the Instinct brand of food. Approx 2 cups in the am
and 2 cups at night. (is that too much?)

he is a picky eater so sometimes we have to add chicken….canned or packaged to the food.
Do you have any suggestions for a low fat food that he might eat?

He is stubborn so sometimes we have to motivate him with treats.
I buy lowfat baked and limit those to maybe 1 or 2 per day.
He gets no exercise either. We have tried to walk him but he doesn’t
like it at all and will just stop and lay down on the spot when he’s had enough.

Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,


Hi Kathy,

Your English Bulldog sounds like a real couch potato.  He may have the dog
equivalent of a beer belly!

A normal male bulldog weighs about 50-55 pounds, so unless he is really
big he is very overweight.  I’d suggest you stick with the Instinct, it’s a really
good food, just cut it down to 3 cups a day.

A low fat diet is not the best way for a young dog to lose weight.  Rather, you
should consider limiting his calories and increasing his exercise.

Adding chicken or other meats to his diet is also a good thing, just take
into account how much you add and subtract it from the amount of
kibble you feed.  Contrary to popular belief table scraps are not bad for
a dog.  If you think about it, all dog food is made from table scraps.

His breathing problems may come from being over weight, although he
could have palate problems as well.

And if you can get him to walk, he will also lose weight as well as live longer.
If he likes treats, get him to move towards you to get one, or better yet, run
around the house a bit or down the block.

Does he like to chase a ball? If you get him moving, especially
when it’s not too warm, he may wind up enjoying it.

When you walk him do not try to pull him forward.  A dog has a natural
instinct to resist being pulled.  Rather turn him to the side or entice him
with a really tasty treat.

Diet and exercise are the key to dog health.  Good luck.

your bulldog pal,


Kitchen Floor Cleaning Bulldogs

Does your bulldog run over whenever you drop something
on the floor?  Archie hears the little ping on my floor
and runs over as fast as he can.

I call it waiting for something to fall from heaven
for him.  He looks at the floor when I’m cooking,
not at me.  He knows something is going to appear
any moment.  He never moved so fast and I have to
quickly find it before he does if it’s something I
don’t want him to eat.

It’s really funny and for the most part he gets a
little treat.

But what if that little something that “fell from
heaven” was not so good for him?

The ASPCA just released the Top 10 Human Medications
That Poison our Pets.  You might be surprised at what’s
on the list:

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, and can cause serious problems even in minimal doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to their effects, and may experience stomach and intestinal ulcers and—in the case of cats—kidney damage.

Antidepressants can cause vomiting and lethargy and certain types can lead to serotonin syndrome—a condition marked by agitation, elevated body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, disorientation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.

Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen, which can damage red blood cells and interfere with their ability to transport oxygen. In dogs, it can cause liver damage and, at higher doses, red blood cell damage.

Methylphenidate (for ADHD)
Medications used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in people act as stimulants in pets and can dangerously elevate heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as cause seizures.

Fluorouracil—an anti-cancer drug—is used topically to treat minor skin cancers and solar keratitis in humans. It has proven to be rapidly fatal to dogs, causing severe vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest even in those who’ve chewed on discarded cotton swabs used to apply the medication.

Often the first line of defense against tuberculosis, isoniazid is particularly toxic for dogs because they don’t metabolize it as well as other species. It can cause a rapid onset of severe seizures that may ultimately result in death.

Pseudoephedrine is a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products, and acts like a stimulant if accidentally ingested by pets. In cats and dogs, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature as well as seizures.

Many oral diabetes treatments—including glipizide and glyburide—can cause a major drop in blood sugar levels of affected pets. Clinical signs of ingestion include disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures.

Vitamin D derivatives
Even small exposures to Vitamin D analogues like calcipotriene and calcitriol can cause life-threatening spikes in blood calcium levels in pets. Clinical signs of exposure—including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and thirst due to kidney failure—often don’t occur for more than 24 hours after ingestion.

Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that can impair the central nervous systems of cats and dogs. Some symptoms of ingestion include significant depression, disorientation, vocalization, seizures and coma, which can lead to death.

I knew about NSAIDs because my Vivy almost died after being
given Rimadyl, but I didn’t know about some of the others,
like Vitamin D derivatives.

If your bulldog is anything like Archie, he or she will jump at the
sound of a pill dropping on the floor.  And dive for it.  From
now on I’m going to be more careful where I keep medications,
whether they are simple pain pills or even vitamins!

And with Halloween coming up, be mindful of little chocolate
bars too!

You can read more about poisons harmful to dogs on the ASPCA

your bulldog pals,
Jan & Archie


Dangers of NSAIDS and Rimadyl for Limping Bulldog

We recently acquired another bulldog after losing ours this summer.  My hairdresser told me about a girl in her shop that wanted to find a good home for her bulldog since they felt they didn’t have enough time to devote to the dog.  “Lola” is one and half years old and a wonderful bulldog.  She is very healthy.

She takes these spirts and runs as fast as she can around the house – – but after doing so she started limping.  My husband and I felt she had probably pulled a muscle.  The vet gave her Rimadyl which is an anti-inflammatory.

Have you ever had any dealings with this drug? Has this ever happened to any of your bulldogs?? Lola has been very healthy and I was very hesitant to give her any drugs.  I don’t know whether it was simply coincidence or not but after a few days of this drug she broke out in hives.

The vet said they have never had any allergic reaction from this drug before.  In our area of Ohio, ragweed is extremely high right now and a lot of dogs are experiencing symptoms from that.  Her belly has been broken out and very pink.  What do you think??


Hi Marcia,

I’d take her off the Rimadyl immediately!!!!!

My bulldog Vivy almost died after being given a Rimadyl
shot.  Most of the reactions are gastrointestinal and can
be fatal but hives is one of them.

Rimadyl side effects include loss of appetite, wobbling, vomiting, seizures, dark or tarry stools, increased thirst and urination, lethargy, incoordination, behavioral changes, and severe liver malfunction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to this medication can include facial swelling, hives and rash.
Pfizer manufactures Rimadyl

Here’s a couple links to more information:

In fact, nsaid anti-inflammatory drugs in general have
similar side effects.

Rest should help her if she has a pulled muscle.  If she
has a torn ligament she should have it corrected sugically
for the best result.

your bulldog pal,


My Bulldog is Panting A Lot


I’ve noticed this past few days, she’s been panting more so than usual.
Since I live in Arizona, I always leave her inside with the air condition at 79;
which I think is not to cold or to warm for her until I get home.
Should I take her to the vet and have her checked out or is this normal?



Hi Jessica,

79 is ok for an English Bulldog that is just resting at home
while you’re at work, but it’s a bit hot if she gets excited
or runs around.

Heatstroke can occur in a bulldog at this temperature
if they run around too much and overexert.  It is very
difficult for a bulldog to cool down because they do not
have a normal nose, which provides cooling for a dog.

You could try setting the temp at 75 and see if she does better.
When you come home she gets excited and that can make
her pant more, especially when it’s hot.

If you turn down the A/C and she continues to pant, you could have
her checked out.  An underlying heart condition can make a
bulldog pant with little exertion.  But in your case, I suspect
it may be due to excitement at seeing you and nothing to worry about.
your bulldog pal,


My Puppy Keeps Biting My Hand and Pants Leg

Hi Jan;

My puppy is 14 weeks old now and continues to bite.  When we run in the park, she bites my pants instead of running after the ball.  What can I do to inhibit biting?  She has plenty of chewies and toys to keep her occupied….and I try to redirect her as soon as she starts to bite but nothing seems to be working….please advise.

Thank you!



Hi Diana,

You must nip this behavior in the bud 🙂
I have a few solutions you can try.

Biting is normal behavior for a puppy, but needs to be stopped.
Many  people say to yelp or say ouch loudly when your puppy
bites or to distract them.  But this doesn’t always work.

The current trend is to ignore the behavior and take away their
freedom.  Any type of attention given to bad behavior tends to
reinforce it, so you need to withdraw your attention.  Dogs want
to please you but don’t always know how so you need to train them.

Click this link to see a video on this method of training.

That being said, I trained my dogs the old fashioned way by putting
my hand into my puppy’s mouth and pressing on his gums.
Not too hard, my puppy never yelped, it’s just uncomfortable to have
my hand in his mouth. My breeders taught me to do this. This is unpleasant
for the puppy, and along with a command such as “no biting”, the association
will teach her that biting is not acceptable.

They also told me to flick him on the nose, with my finger, to startle him,
along with the same calm reprimand of “no biting” – no yelling.
I was skeptical but they had been doing this with him for a couple weeks
and it really seemed to work well.

Whatever you do, be sure you are consistent, and calm.  The alpha dog
never gets agitated, is just quietly firm.

To discourage puppy biting of furniture or rugs or your pants leg or
even your hand, anything you don’t want them biting, you can spray
Bitter Apple onto the object.  Available at pet stores.  Be sure to shake
the bottle before you spray to mix in the bitters.

If that doesn’t work, try putting some Ben Gay on the object – the only
problem with that is it smells pretty bad to us too!

I hope this helps.

your bulldog pal,


Excessive Hum*ping in Bulldog

I have a 7 month old English Bulldog who I love with all my heart….I have had several, but, I have never come across a male that was so se*ually excitable As Buster, He actually humps air….and anything else that he can…
I’m concerned.



Hi Gary,

Some young bulldogs will get easily excited and hump the air.
This is usually just a phase that doesn’t last long (a month or two).

There is a danger that his pen*is could get stuck when it’s enlarged
and it can be painful.  Usually it resolves itself although he may
have difficulty even walking when this happens.  The little hairs on
the pupice curl in and keep the pen*is from being able to retract.

Here’s an explanation from www.lowchensaustralia.com/breeding/reprotract.htm:

During an erect*ion, the urethral gland on a dog’s pen*is can swell so much it is too wide to retract into the sheath. If the erect*ion is prolonged, the pen*is becomes dry and cannot be withdrawn. To treat this condition, lubricate the pen*is with water-soluble jelly and slide it back in its sheath. If this is not possible, keep it moistened with lubricant and get veterinary help.

If your bulldog tries to hu*mp people at this stage, you need to discourage
this kind of behavior or he will continue it his entire life.

To discourage it, you can either give him a verbal command if he will respond,
or squirt him with water and tell him firmly “no” when he attempt to hump a leg
or something.

In my experience this behavior is short lived.  When his testosterone stops
spiking, he will stop hump*ing the air.  And with firm, constant reprimands
for hump*ing a human, your English Bulldog will stop doing this as well.

your bulldog pal,


What’s the Best Chew Toy for a Bulldog?

HI Jan,

Could you tell me a good chew toy for bulldogs? Seems like everything we
buy Gracie only has it a few days then its all chewed up.  I have to really
watch her cause she will even chew the chair I am sitting in.

She doesn’t seem to like the real hard rubber ones which do seem to last
longer. Any kind of raw hide makes her throw up.

Any suggestions would be a great help?

Thanks so much,

Hi Janice,

I have found that Kong chew toys are the most durable for bullies.  Have
you tried the ones where you put a treat inside?  Sometimes this will
attract them when the toy alone they don’t like.

If Gracie is chewing on the wrong things, like your furniture, you can rub a
little BenGay on the furniture.  They hate the taste.  You can also try
Bitter Apple, be sure to shake it before spraying or else she’ll think it’s

Other brands that have done well for bulldogs are
-Nylaknot – nylabone’s extra tough line
-Sheepskin toys (be sure they cannot get the squeaker out and there are no
eyes that could be chewed out)
-Booda bones and ropes (be careful they can’t chew up the rope) – try the X-Large
Booda super 8 tug
-there is a rubber tug toy I’ve seen bulldogs playing tug-a-war with that seems to
last, called Invincible Chains Tug Toy – get the large one
-empty plastic water bottles (with cap, ring, and label removed) work really well,
my Archie loves them and the price is right!  Throw them out when they start to
show too much wear.

It’s ok for the dogs to play tug-a-war, but you should never let a human play tug
with them as it promotes a dominance instinct in the dog.

Rawhides, even the particle types are bad.  Rawhide expands in the stomach and can
kill a bulldog who swallows chunks of it.  Bulldogs gulp, they don’t really chew
their food.  Rope toys may be shredded and if they eat them, you can
get the same stomach problem.  So you need to keep an eye on them with a rope

A dog has a reflex at the back of the stomach that causes the to throw up
things that cannot be digested, but it does not always ensure your dogs
won’t be harmed by ingesting the wrong thing.

Never give a bulldog a greenie either, despite the new ads.  I’ve heard of
cases where a Greenie had to be surgically removed from a bulldog’s
stomach (at a cost of $3000).

good luck – bulldogs can destroy many chew toys in a matter of hours!

your bulldog pal,


Help – My Bulldog Bit Me

hey jan,

this is off topis but i need some help my english bulldog is so bad,
seriously he bit me and my girlfriend – he will get in our faces and bark
and bite – the more we i scold him he’s 10x worse.
i need beyond a trainer – and he asks like an angle when i have company
over or we go out. no one belives me

what do you thing about a shock collar maybe he can get to know wrong from right?
what do you think?



Hi Matt,

I do not approve of shock collars.

This is a classic case of lack of leadership on your part.
Your dog is telling you he’s the leader of the pack, not you,
he’s acting like a pack dog would act.

When you escalate by yelling or scolding, he responds by
growing and biting.

Most dogs are not true alpha dos and do not want to be the
leader of the pack.  But is they sense that you are not in
control, they will try to take over.

You and you dog need proper training.  You need to learn
to be consistent and set the rules.  I doubt at this juncture
you will be able to do this without a qualified trainer.

I know this from experience with my first bulldog who became
aggressive when she got older (not at me but at others).
Out of desperation I hired a company called Barkbusters.
They had her (and me) trained within a few hours.

If you do not get control of your bulldog, someone will eventually
get hurt because he will keep challenging you.

Barkbusters  is expensive, but to me it was well worth it – it
could save your dog from a much worse fate if his aggression is
not stopped as soon as possible.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Arthritic Bulldog Does Not Want to Walk

Hi Jan,

I’m trying to get Winston to walk. He lights up when I play ball with him (he loves pushing his basketball around with his nose and could do it for hours. The second I get him outside, he forgets that he walks – unless I drag him, it takes forever to get him to move past my driveway.

If I pull him or force him, sometimes it can bother his leg, so I don’t force it (he wins, whether he is faking or not…still not sure) I am wondering if they can give him something to help make him more comfortable or walk normally — it is sometimes a struggle when he gets himself to stand up…Anything you can offer, as always, I welcome….


There are a couple things I’d recommend for Winston’s leg. He probably has arthritis.

There are two important treatments: diet and exercise. Keep his weight normal, so you can see his waist when you look at him from above, and you should be able to feel his ribs under his skin. Weight adds discomfort to an arthritic knee simply because he has to lift more.

Exercise seems a bit of a challenge for you in terms of getting him to walk. If you try to drag a dog, they have an instinctual reaction to resist. So it’s better to entice him with a tasty treat to get him moving. Some dogs just don’t like to walk so you can look for alternatives to get him moving.

Since he loves his basketball, you should capitalize on that by throwing it so he’ll chase it. This is pretty good exercise for him.

You can give him a baby coated aspirin (enteric coated 81mg aspirin) daily to help his pain from the arthritis. The coating is a delayed release so it won’t irritate his stomach.

If you take him to a vet they might recommend you give him something like Rimadyl or another NSAID. DON’T DO IT!!!

Vivy nearly died from a Rimadyl shot my vet gave her without my consent. It resulted in 4 days in the ICU and $3000! So I DO NOT ever recommend giving these to a dog. There are too many side effects that can result in death and they are not well reported.

You can also give him a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement – you can find them online at a place like PetEdge.com I like the Osteo Bi-flex brand. Vivy and I took them for a while and it helped both of us! Glucosamine helps grow cartilage and it stays there once it’s grown.

To get him to take his pills you can try putting them in a glob of peanut butter or soft cheese. I think you can also find these in liquid form if that would help.

your bulldog pal,



My Puppy is Peeing Inside the Apartment

Hello again,

We finally got another English Bulldog that is healthy.  I have question about potty training him. we live in a 15 story apartment in Korea. We live on the 7th floor and its so hard to take him out ever hour or so.. that gets tiring so we are trying to train him two diffrent ways he is about 9 weeks old and we are trying to potty train on pee pads and outside also. Is this to much on a puppy or should we just keep one task.. Thank you



Hi Kim,

Congratulations on your new puppy.  Dogs do best with really clear instructions and by teaching him two different things you may be confusing him.

A puppy can’t hold their pee all that long so they do need to go a lot.  When he gets older he may still pee in the apartment if you keep using the pads.  However, it can be a hassle (I lived in a high rise for a while) so you can use the pads on a temporary basis and then start to take him and the pads outside so he starts to associate peeing on the pad with being outside.

Do you have a balcony?  You could put a little grass out there or put the pads there so that he’ll associate peeing with being outside the apt.

Does he have a crate?  Usually they don’t like to pee in their crates and that may help him hold it.

When he gets a little older he’ll be able to hold it longer and then when he pees outside just give him enormous praise in a high voice so he knows that’s the thing to do.  Never get mad at him for a mistake inside, just give him praise when he does the right thing.

Here’s a link to an article on potty training that you may find helpful:


I hope this helps and congratulations on the new puppy!

Your Bulldog Pal,


Help! My Bulldog Won’t Go For a Walk!

Hi Jan,
Reggie is as fit as a fiddle and bouncing about and not a thing wrong in the world !!!!!!!!
Then we get the lead out , he will never come to the car willingly , he walks up his ramp into the car and sits down and looks so sad , to get him out the back of the car for his walk is a S.A.S Operation as he wont move , so my husband has to lift Reggie out and put him on the ground to walk , but he wont move , he wants to get back in the car ,if reg does make a move he will walk so far , then sit down and nothing in the world will move him.
he just wants to come back home .
when we get back home reg will stand up , shake his head and look at us and jump out and get back into the house as fast as he can

Jan please could you tell me what else l could try , he is not a lazy dog and is NOT over weight . we have a large garden with an allotment and he runs walks and plays alot with everyone ,
Reg is not stupid either , he will not accept a treat to get him to move and l dont want to start that anyway. Reg is not use to human food so he wouldnt eat that either ./
Some bulldogs l see love to walk , but not my reg
sue and reggie


Hi Sue & Reggie,

As I recall Reggie is a few years old? Has he never wanted to go for a walk or is this
new behavior.

If he’s always acted this way, chances are he’s afraid of the “new territory” you’re sending him to. Dogs love a set routine, they don’t like changes in the status quo. So perhaps when you get him in the car and go off to an unfamiliar place, he gets scared and wants to go home to his familiar haunts.

I’d suggest you try to first put the lead on him when he’s at home and comfortable and let him get used to just having it on. Then walk him on leash around the house. Then the yard where he is quite comfortable. Give him enormous praise when he makes even small progress.

Then venture to the front yard, then down the block, etc.

Never pull him on the leash. If you try to pull a dog forward, they have an instinctual reaction to resist. So he has to be enticed. That’s why so many trainers use treats. You can also talk in a higher pitch and encourage him to ‘heel’ and give tons of praise if he moves only a step or two in the right direction.

I haven’t personally had this problem with my dogs who have all loved to walk anywhere, but I did have a problem with Archie being afraid to get into the car. I wound up enticing him into the car by sitting in the back and encouraging him until he’d make his way in. Now he jumps right in.

Good luck!

Your Bulldog Pal,


How Do I Introduce a New Bulldog Puppy to My Dogs.

I am in the process of getting a bulldog puppy. i already put a deposit down. so in about a month i will be bringing her home.

Well see my question is, i have 2 other dogs at home, shih tzus. one male and one female. ok, well my we just found out that my female is going to be delivering on April 30th. ok, well i will be bringing my bullie baby home a little before the birth.

My question is do you think that we might have a problem with this.? I will have a private place for the female shih tzu to whelp. How do you think a bull dog and shih tzus will get along with each other?  Is this a mistake.

From my experience of being around bull dogs they seems sooo easy going and loving, im hoping she will fit right in with our family, is this possible?



Hi Stacy,

Introducing a new puppy to home dogs does take some extra care,
but a few simple steps should help.  And yes, english bulldogs in
general are quite mellow and loving.

I’m not a behavior expert but I’m happy to give you my opinion.

I think they should all get along fine.  It’s the dogs you already have that
may potentially be a problem and need to be introduced properly to the
new puppy.

If you keep your dogs in crates this process could go much smoother,
but if you don’t it should be ok if you are mindful of a few things.

Dogs are pack animals and their instincts kick in when they see a new
dog in their midst.  You now have 2 dogs but 3 dogs constitutes a pack
and there will be ‘ranking’ in that pack.

Remember that you are the true alpha, or ruler of your pack and it is
up to you to set the tone and keep everyone in their place.

The pregnant female is going to be instinctually protective of her unborn
puppies, so she’s the one I would pay close attention to.

Fortunatley puppies do not pose as big a threat as an adult dog would.
That said, you have a pregnant female and are bringing in another
female.  Statistically the female dogs fight for rank more than the males.

It is best to introduce the puppy to your current dogs on a neutral location
like a local park or your neighbor’s yard.  When they meet, be sure to praise
them in a cheery voice to reward the behavior.

Let them sniff each other.  The puppy will probably bow down, which is a
sign of “lets play”.  If your dog’s hair starts to raise up, that is a sign of
aggression and you should probably separate them.

If things go well, which they usually do with a puppy, you can bring the
puppy in the house.  Be aware that a puppy will want to play with the
adult dogs a lot – possibly more than they want.  Your adult dogs may
growl to tell the puppy to lay off.  This is normal.

If you current dogs respond to the puppy by biting him, this could
be dangerous to the puppy so you need to keep an eye on them until
they all seem to be doing fine in their new pack.

This might sound scary, but usually these introductions go really well
when a puppy is involved.  I introduced my first bulldog puppy into a
household with an Akita and a cat.  We introduced the two dogs in the
front yard and they got along famously.  It was the cat that became the
benevolent dictator of the pack.

I’m attaching a pdf document from the Dumb Friends League with
more information for you.

Congratulations on your puppy and let me know how it goes.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Inverted Tail in English Bulldog Gets Infected

Hi Jan,
Thanks for the email and I also ordered your book! I have a question about our 9-month-old bully, Mack. For the past 3-4 months he has started scooting across the carpet and spinning in circles while whining painfully.  I have noticed his tail is very tightly screwed into his body which is apparently causing him a lot of pain. We clean and disinfect his tail daily, however it is still inflamed and sometimes has little sores. We have checked his anal glands and had them expressed a couple times, but it does not seem to give the poor little guy much relief. It has now gotten to the point where he is almost acting psychotic and won’t stop spinning/scooting even when coaxed with treats or his favorite toy. Fortunately, he has a very good breeder who breeds champion bulldogs and we called him when we were at a loss of what to do. We brought Mack over to see him and after throughly cleaning his tail and seeing his behavior, he suggested we might want to think about tail amputation. Our vet has also suggested this. It seems like such a drastic move and I don’t mind paying the money as long as it gives him some relief. Do you have any suggestions of what to do?? Please help!


———my answer——

Hi Jessica,

Since you’ve ruled out impacted anal glands as the source of Mack’s butt scooting,
it sounds like he has an infection in his tail pocket.  It can be quite painful and
life threatening if it cannot be cleared up.  He may have a severe yeast infection
in the pocket – does it smell sour?  The little sores could indicate a
bacterial infection such as staph.  A chronic infection can become systemic
and spread through his body.  This would be very dangerous.

All English Bulldogs have part of their tail still inside the body as an extention
of the tail bone.  Some have straight tails and some have screw tails.  An
inverted tail is a condition where part of a screw tail makes a loop inside
the body and then comes out.

This inverted tail is very tight and close to the body with a very tight tail pocket
and part of the tail constantly rubbing and festering in the pocket.  This is
not a fault of breeding, it just happens sometimes.

Sometimes constant maintenance of the tail pocket will keep your bulldog
healthy.  You need to clean out the tail pocket daily using warm water on
a washcloth in a circular motion and get deep into the pocket. Then the
area must be thoroughly dried and perhaps add some Gold Bond powder.

In your case it sounds like you have been very diligent in keeping Mack’s
tail clean and he still has chronic infections. So in this case it would
probably be best to amputate his tail.

This is a condition that happens on occasion with bulldogs, even from the
best lines.  And he will be much happier and healthier if you do the

I hope this helps.  Please keep me posted on Mack’s progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,


English Bulldogs and Rawhide Treats

Jan, another question.

I have read conflicting reports on the net about Bullies and Rawhides. Roxie absolutely loves the Pig Ear style and small stick rawhides. When she has them, we always monitor her and never leave her alone or put one in her crate with her. Is it OK for her to have them, or is it too risky, as some say they pose a high risk for choking?



Hi Eric,

My opinion is never let an English Bulldog have a rawhide, pig’s ear, or greenie.
Not even if the rawhide is the particulate type. Bulldogs do love them because
they are quite tasty but to me it’s not worth the risk, even if you are watching
Roxie she could swallow it whole.

The problem is the bulldog tends to inhale, not chew, and they can get lodged in the
throat or worse in the stomach or intestines. Rawhide expands in the stomach and can
kill a bulldog who swallows chunks of it.

I learned this the hard way, twice having to do the heimlich on my first bulldog. She
inhaled a rawhide and it got stuck in her throat. On another occasion she dug up my
neighbor’s dog’s rawhide and ate it without my knowledge.  She regurgitated it
onto the carpet about 4 hours later.

A dog has a reflex at the back of the stomach that causes the to throw up
things that cannot be digested, but it does not always ensure your dogs
won’t be harmed by ingesting the wrong thing.

As for greenies, they don’t dissolve when swallowed whole and can get stuck in
a bulldog’s intestines. I’ve heard of a case from my breeder where a Greenie had
to be surgically removed from a bulldog puppy’s stomach (at a cost of $3000).

Rope toys may be shredded and if they eat them, you can
get the same stomach problem. So you need to keep an eye on them with a rope

I’ve found the Kong toys to be the most durable. You can put something tasty
like peanut butter inside and it will keep Roxie occupied for quite a while.

I’ve found it best to err on the side of caution.

Your Bulldog Pal,



English Bulldog Gagging and Coughing?

I have spent a fortune at the vet this past month. My
Olde English is 1 1/2 years old. She has started gagging (like trying
to clear her throat or puke? Sounds like a bark) and coughing. This
goes on basically 24/7. The vet first gave her injections and benadryl
100 mg. 3 times a day. Now another steroid and hydroxizine 25 2x a day.
She is getting WORSE. I don’t know what else it is.



Hi Amy,

Your english bulldog is being treated as if she had an allergic reaction to
something in her environment. If she does not have an allergy, steroids
and anti-histamines will have no effect on her gagging.

At a year and a half she’s just reaching maturity. She could have a congenital
problem with her elongated palate. Does her tongue and the inside of her mouth
start to turn blue? If so, she may be a candidate for palate surgery. This type
of surgery is not to be taken lightly but sometimes is the only way to cure this
condition. It’s called bracycephalic syndrome and the dog literally chokes on
her own palate and throat.
Here’s an overview of what is involved in this:

Or she may be experiencing problems with her esophagus. There are two
conditions that plague bulldogs: megasopagus and esophogeal motility
disorder. You can read more about them on my Q&A blog:

I hope this helps. Please write with any more questions.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Aggression & Dominance of Female Over Male Bulldog

Hi there,

I was recently on your website reading all your knowledge on our adorable friends.

I have two British bulldogs one male and the other female, they are both only a day apart in age and are 10 months old.

I brought them from different breeders so they are not blood related, in the idea of breeding them one day.

All up until a month ago i have come into some problems that have concerned me extremely.

My Female has become very aggressive towards the male, she dominates him over food, toys and human affection. They are calm all up until i walk in the backyard to play with them she becomes very aggressive and attacks him. The male is very placid and does not want to fight with her but she does not stop.

I have tried stopping her with spraying her with water but she likes the water and thinks its a game, I have since separated them at feeding times and this i feel has caused more aggression with her.

Up until 2 days ago i never smacked her but she was attacking him so much i smacked her with a shoe and this has now caused her to be upset with me, she will no longer come to me for a play and he will not come near me for the fact that she will attack him.

I love my puppies and would hate to see one of them go, i have contacted my local vet and there answer was to get rid of one of them. I do not want to get rid of one as i love them both but on the other hand is it cruel to leave him feeling scared in his own enviroment??

With my male he is very loveable but he has an aggressive streak towards children which iam quiet scared of, i would never leave an animal with a child un attended, but it concerns me as he has been brought up with young children.

Kind regards for reading me problems



Hi Ellen,

I’m not an expert on training, but I suspect your problems are stemming from
the fact that there is no clear leader in the “pack”

You need to take control of your dogs so they look to you as the alpha dog.
Your female is stepping in because she thinks you are not doing the alpha
job.  Then the male looks to dominate other threats to the pack (the children).

Female dogs are usually more dominant than male dogs.  They want to
take control and male dogs tend to be more submissive and easy going.

Since both of your dogs are still puppies, they are just learning how to
behave, and they take their cues from you.

It is very important that you become the leader.  You cannot do this by
behavior that she thinks is a game (the squirt water) or punishment (hitting
her with the shoe).  She is very confused because she thinks she’s doing
her job.  When she gets punished for what she perceives as ‘good’ behavior
she will naturally avoid you.  She’s now afraid to come to you.

There was a very good episode of the Dog Whisperer about bulldogs with
the same behavior pattern.  I can’t remember the name of it, but it was on
my local cable.

My advice is you get a very good trainer immediately.  When I had an
aggression problem with Vivy I hired Barkbusters.  They are expensive,
but did a wonderful job in one day!  There are many competent trainers
out there, so you could contact your local bulldog group.  I think your
vet’s suggestion is just plain ignorant.

Part of the training process is to teach you how to be the leader.  In my
case, since Vivy was ten, it took a lot of leash training.

Do not delay because you will have an escalating problem that will become
more difficult the longer you wait.

I hope this helps.  Let me know how they’re doing.

Your Bulldog Pal,

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