Want Your Bulldog To Live Longer: Try These Tips

  1. Feed a high quality diet.

    Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet’s immune system, help maintain his or her intestinal health, help increase his or her mental acuity, help keep joints and muscles healthy, and much more.

  2. Keep your pet lean.

    Pets that are overweight are at risk for a myriad of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disease seen in pets currently and studies have shown that being overweight or obese can shorten a dog or cat’s life span by as much as two years. Why? Being overweight or obese puts your pet at risk for joint disease, heart disease and diabetes, among other things.

  3. Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly.

    All pets, including both dogs and cats, require regular veterinary care. However, veterinary care goes far beyond routine vaccinations, even though those are important. A routine examination by your veterinarian can uncover health issues of which you are unaware. In many cases, an early diagnosis improves the chances of successful treatment. Early diagnosis is also likely to be less costly for you than waiting until your pet’s illness has become advanced and serious before attempting treatment.

  4. Keep your pet’s mouth clean.

    A common problem among dogs and cats, dental disease and oral health issues can cause your pet pain, making it difficult for him or her to eat. If left untreated, oral health issues may even lead to heart and kidney disease. In addition to regular dental checkups, the most effective means of caring for your pet’s mouth at home is to brush his or her teeth at home. If your pet isn’t a big fan of toothbrushes there are other alternatives as well, including dental diets, treats, and toys. Ask your veterinarian for some recommendations.

  5. Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised.

    Allowing your dog or cat to roam free may seem like you’re doing your pet a favor. However, pets that roam are susceptible to a number of dangers, including automobile accidents, predation, exposure to contagious diseases, exposure to poisons, and more. Additionally, allowing your pet to roam unsupervised may alienate your neighbors should your pet ever “relieve” him- or herself in their lawn or dig up their garden.

from PetMD


What’s in Your Dog’s Food?

This is a comparison of raw diet and conventional “premium” dog foods. It totally bashes the dry food which is appropriate for most big box grocery and pet stores food selections.  There are brands of kibble that have much better ingredients.

If you just grab any old bag of dog food on sale, here’s what you’ll get! from Dr Becker’s blog:

Take a look at the ingredients in these two commercial dog foods. Which do you suppose contains more fillers?

Raw Dog Food, Sold Frozen 

Ingredients: Free-Range Meat = 69%chicken meat including bone, chicken gizzards, chicken hearts and chicken liversOrganic Vegetables = 29.3%carrots. squash, yams, zucchini, celery, romaine, parsley, apple cider vinegarSpecial Nutrient Mix = 1.7%kelp, sea salt, inulin, zinc, copper and iron amino acid chelates, vitamin E

Premium Dry Dog Food

Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols form of Vitamin E, soy protein concentrate, soy flour, water, rice flour, pearled barley, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, propylene glycol, animal digest, dicalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, sorbic acid a preservative, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, dried spinach, dried apples, dried sweet potatoes, choline chloride, calcium propionate a preservative, added color Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, DL-Methionine, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex source of Vitamin K activity, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite Another reason for the laundry list of ingredients in the dry food above is that in order to meet AAFCO nutritional standards, pet food manufacturers must add back in the vitamins and minerals that either arent found in a limited ingredient list raw food, above, arent found in a long list of low quality ingredients dry food, above, or are destroyed during the extreme processing that these pet foods undergo dry food, above.

via Defining Fillers in Processed Pet Food.


Avoid This Aflatoxin-Infested Food Like the Plague

Not only is corn and all its derivatives in commercial pet food highly allergenic and biologically inappropriate for dogs and cats, chances are it’s also genetically modified and carries an unacceptably high risk of mycotoxin contamination. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you move away from any pet food containing GMOs, including corn or its derivatives.Study the ingredients in the food you buy your pet, and avoid brands containing grains or corn in any form, including corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, corn flour, etc. Also avoid formulas containing cereal grains like maize, sorghum, pearl millet, rice and wheat.

via Avoid This Aflatoxin-Infested Food Like the Plague.


Have You Hugged Your Bulldog Today?

Bulldog Lovers already know this but now a study has proven it! People who hug their dogs have more of the “feel good” hormones and so do their dogs!

When it comes to keeping a pet healthy in body and mind, extra food and treats are a poor substitute for species-appropriate nutrition, physical activity, mental stimulation, attention and affection. In fact, a study2 published in 2011 concluded that the dog owners with the highest levels of oxytocin – the body’s “morale molecule” or “hug hormone” – had three things in common. They kissed their pet frequently, they viewed their relationship with their dog as pleasurable rather than a chore, and they offered fewer treats to their pet. In other words, they didn’t substitute food for attention and affection for their dog. And their dogs had elevated levels of oxytocin as well!

via Is Depression the Hidden Reason Why Your Pet Eats Too Much?.


Safety Notice – Tainted Chinese Jerky Products

For years I have been advising my readers NOT to buy any dog treats or other food items from Asia, specifically China where there really is no compassion for our animal friends.

Safety Notice – Tainted Chinese Jerky Products.

Nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an outbreak of illnesses tied to contaminated jerky treats made in China, federal animal health officials said in an October 22nd statement. The epidemic is so severe that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is turning to vets and pet parents across the nation for help.

Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine said, “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered.” Companion animals have exhibited symptoms within hours of eating the tainted treats, including decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased water consumption and frequent urination. About 60% of cases reported gastrointestinal illness and about 30% experienced kidney or urinary troubles. A significant percentage developed Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease.

Some pet kids suffered severe cases of kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.


Killing With Kindness: Toxic Dog Treats Warning

Here’s a photo of  heathy, happy English Bulldog Shelby taken in December 2012 when her owner started giving her what he thought were healthy natural treats bought at the grocery store.


Here she is in May 2013, six months later, a couple weeks before she died.  She was only 2 years old.




She died of kidney failure from eating Chicken Jerky treats from Thailand. She loved them and her owners thought it was fine to give them to her as a reward or just because she enjoyed them so much.

If you have treats like these, return them to the store you purchased from and tell them to remove them from their shelves.  If you see them on the shelf tell them this story.

Here’s the sad cautionary tale submitted by Debbie Woods:

Dog Treat Warnings – Why Didn’t We See Them?

Recently, our family’s two year old English Bulldog lost her life due to kidney failure.

There are no words to describe the horrific shock of being told your dog’s kidneys are failing and then asked by the vet what treats she was given. After the test results came back, I thought I was just going to pick her up with some meds and instructions.  The diagnosis was so bleak and devastating.   How does a two year old get kidney failure?  It didn’t make any sense.  The Dr. tried to save her life and we prayed for a miracle.

There have been a mounting number of reported cases to the Canadian and Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, possibly linking imported chicken jerky treats from China and Thailand, to kidney failure.  Although under complex investigation, a contaminant has yet to be identified.  To date, scientists have not been able to determine a cause for the reported illnesses.  The company is allowed to sell them.  There is no proof.  There is no recall.

Shockingly, these treats remain on the shelves of major grocery and pet food stores being sold to unsuspecting pet owners.  The labelling and marketing are clever.  Some appear to be made in Canada.  Buried in the fine print, are the words, “imported by…,” but the company is not required to tell consumers from where.

In 2011, the FDA issued a cautionary warning against chicken jerky treats imported from China.  In 2012, the warning was expanded to include duck and sweet potato jerky treats.

According to the FDA, up to 360 canine deaths in the U.S., as of late 2012 have been blamed on pet treats, but there hasn’t yet been a definitive way to find the toxin responsible.

After Shelby’s death, we began looking for answers, researching dog treats and the possible link to kidney failure.  It’s sickening to see the flood of reports on this topic.  There’s so much of it, how could we have missed this?  Any number of key words would have brought the topic up in a search.

Shelby didn’t display all the symptoms of kidney failure.  They were so gradual and subtle, we overlooked them.  We are responsible pet owners, and if this could happen to us, I know this can happen to other pet owners.

While researching dog food five years ago, we found Jan Oswald and purchased, “The Healthy Bulldog.”  After receiving this information, we were educated on healthy food choices for our dogs, and within six weeks, they were looking great and feeling happy.  I concentrated on dog food, because that’s what they mainly eat.  What goes into them, certainly is going to affect their health.

Why didn’t we do as good a job researching dog treats? –  We didn’t think one treat every other day or once a day, (Shelby had them for 5 months this way), would do any harm.  None of us did.  It seemed like such a small amount to even worry about.  Besides, if there was a problem, the company would recall them – they wouldn’t be on the shelves of major stores – right?  WRONG.

It is up to consumers to educate themselves on pet food.  According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, it is not a regulated food commodity in Canada.  Go online, type in the brand name, know what you’re buying and make your own wise decisions.   Your pet’s health depends on it.  There are many safe alternatives produced domestically in the U.S. and Canada.  I have just learned there is an actual “human grade” pet food.  What could be better?

By the time it was obvious Shelby needed medical attention, it was too late.  Within 48 hours, she was gone.  She declined very rapidly.

It’s devastating and heart wrenching, knowing this could have been prevented if we only researched.  This concern has been going on for some time.  Ours is not an isolated case.   The Vet did not have the means to determine whether the treats were the cause of Shelby’s death or not.

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association has advised pet owners refrain from feeding any sort of chicken jerky treat, especially those imported from China or Thailand, until more information can be found as to whether they are responsible for these potentially life threatening reactions.

After the diagnosis, I needed to retrieve information requested by the Vet.  Coincidentally, the staff was taking Shelby outside when I pulled in.  She began walking toward the car.  She thought I had come to take her home.  It shattered my heart into a million pieces knowing I could never take her home again.  I could only kiss her, for what I knew would be the last time, and tell her to go with the girls.  Other stronger family members remained to comfort her during the euthanization process.

Please don’t let another pet suffer a needless, tragic death.  Go to the websites of The Canadian and Ontario Veterinary Association, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the FDA to see the warnings they have issued.  Unfortunately, some large manufacturers of pet food don’t always look out for our best interests.

It’s too late for us, but not for others.  Early detection of kidney failure is essential and can save your pet.   If you have any concerns, please contact your Vet.   A blood test will reveal so much about your pet’s health.  It is a natural survival instinct for your pet to hide illnesses.

In Memory Of Shelby

Who Went To Romp In The Fields of Heaven, May 10, 2013

Debbie Woods

Napanee, Ontario, Canada



Natural Immune System Boosters for Dogs

Most Bulldog owners know are familiar with the breed’s immune function problems that include skin disorders, a tendency to infections, and even allergies.  My immune booster of choice for my Bulldog is Omega 3 fish oils.  Even adding a little olive oil (not on this list) to food can help boost immunity and remedy skin problems.  This article explains the immune system in dogs and how to boost it:

The immune system in canines is a complex structure that is made up of several cells and organs and plays the role of defending the dog’s body against various infections, toxins and parasites. If the immune system is weak, the dog is exposed to diseases and the body will not be able to respond to the attack. Consequently, it’s important to keep all components of the immune system healthy and provide boosters when needed.

The immune system is made up of:

  • The skin, which stops many bacteria and toxins from entering the dog’s system, containing also a few immune cells and producing antibacterial matter, which will play an important role in defending the pet
  • Tears, saliva and other secretions that contain enzymes that protect against infectious agents
  • The lining of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and genital tracts will also protect the body
  • The lymphatic system
  • Bone marrow
  • The spleen
  • The antibodies
  • White blood cells

The immune system can weaken due to:

  • Allergies, which will activate certain antibodies
  • Diseases and infections
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Surgeries or trauma
  • The administration of various medications such as corticosteroids or antibiotics

Natural immune system boosters may be administered to dogs that have a medical problem and require a strong immune system or simply to maintain the immune system strong and prevent any infections and diseases.

Herbs can be used to boost the immune system and keep diseases at bay, without having any negative effects as other types of medication. The most commonly herbs used to improve immunity in dogs include:

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), which contains various vitamins and minerals such as A, B, C and D, iron, zinc, magnesium, lecithin or potassium
  • Echinacea is a natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral solution
  • Ginger root
  • Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), which is known to detoxify liver and the entire system, containing powerful antioxidants
  • Burdock root, which has effects similar to steroids, but none of the side effects
  • Green tea, which is an antioxidant

These herbs may be used in the form of tinctures that can be added to the dog’s meals or applied on the dog’s skin, to provide protection. Teas may also be prepared and served cold instead of the dog’s regular water.

Other natural ingredients used in dogs with weak immune system include:

  • Fish oil, which contain numerous fatty acids that have various benefits for the immune system
  • Whale fat, which also strengthens the immune system.
original article here

Bully Stick Warning!

Study finds bacteria and a hefty calorie count in the popular treat

JoAnna Lou | February 4, 2013

There are a lot of pet treats out on the market and it seems like every week a new brand is getting recalled. I don’t even touch any chicken jerky manufactured in China due to the widespread contamination problems.

More recently I’ve been choosing deer antlers and bully sticks, thinking that they’re safer since they’re all natural. But according to a study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, there are two potential problems with bully sticks (also called pizzle sticks).

The first concern is an excessive amount of calories. The scientists calculated nine to 22 calories per inch, meaning that a 6-inch bully stick could represent nine percent of the daily recommended calorie count for a 50-pound dog or a whopping 30 percent of the requirements for a smaller 10-pound dog. This I’m less worried about as I usually adjust my pets’ dinner if they get a large treat during the day.

The second finding is much more serious. In testing 26 bully sticks, the researchers found one contaminated with Clostridium difficile, one with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and seven with E. coli. The scientists admitted that the sample size was small, but recommended that people should at least wash their hands after touching bully sticks.

I hope that they repeat the study on a larger scale, differentiating by finishing process. Some bully stick companies sun-bake their product, while others irradiate or bake the sticks indoors. I’m sure that these differences can affect bacteria levels.

It would also be good if they gave recommendations on how to get rid of the bacteria. I know that some people bake bully sticks in the oven before giving them to their pets, but it’s not a proven method.

I think that this study goes to show how careful we have to be in researching our pets’ food. I already know a lot about picking a good kibble, but this study has inspired me to do a better job at finding out the origin and manufacturing process for the treats I feed my crew. And it underscores the many benefits of making your own treats at home!

via Bully Stick Danger | The Bark.


Food Allergies in Dogs

this article about food allergies in dogs is from my book “Healing Your Dog With Food” that is one of the bonuses in my Bulldog Health System:

Food allergies are often an area of blame in many dogs showing allergic reactions, but in actuality, only a small percentage of dogs suffering from allergies are actually food reactions.  That said, I know about food allergies first hand because my Bulldog Archie is allergic to chicken which is the primary meat protein in most commercial dog food.

After several visits to my vet dermatologist who put Archie on an expensive “hypoallergenic” soy based diet for food allergies.  Unfortunately the soy diet made his skin really ratty looking and didn’t solve the diarrhea problem.

So I decided to stop the soy experiment and try my own food trials. I noticed that every time I fed Archie a commercial diet with chicken he got diarrhea and itchy ratty looking skin.  I no longer feed him chicken and he’s doing great.

If your vet has performed skin scrapings and ruled out parasites and fungus infections, you can perform simple dietary changes and see if your dog gets better.

Food allergies are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can vary, including:

  • Diarrhea or soft stools
  • Severe itching
  • Small sores with hair loss (not to be confused with mites)
  • Secondary lesions from the itching
  • Vomiting
  • Colic
  • Seizures, in severe cases

Hypersensitivity reactions tend to occur because the dog is reacting to one or two ingredients in the diet.  These reactions tend to slowly occur over time because the dog is eating the same diet for several months, or even years, at a time.  As the dog eats more of these allergens, they build up in the body until outward reactions begin to occur.  Additionally, those dogs that experience seizures often do so because they are reacting to an allergen in their diet.  Because of this, dogs that eat raw or minimally processed foods tend to not have food allergies and symptoms such as severe itching, skin lesions and seizures.

Although most skin allergies do not appear until the dog is one year old or older, food allergies tend to become apparent much earlier than this.  Many dogs that are 6 months old or younger will begin to shows signs, but the majority of the cases diagnosed are in dogs over two years of age.

One reason that food allergies become apparent in young dogs is because their system is shocked by the dog food they are eating and they tend to have more intestinal parasites and viruses than older dogs.  Parasites cause intestinal damage and this can cause a defective antibody response in the body.  The antibody response allows for the body to allow food allergies to develop.

The only reason that dogs, and people for that matter, don’t develop a host of food allergies is due to something called “oral tolerance.”  This is the body’s ability to ignore the foreign proteins that are found in the body.  Otherwise, anything we ate we would become allergic to.  This oral tolerance is believed to begin in dogs at about 6 weeks, which happens to correspond when most dogs are weaned.  One way to assist puppies and prevent food allergies may be to wait until about 8 to 10 weeks to wean.  This will also prevent other behavioral issues and the dog will be well prepared to begin a new diet at this time as well.

Unfortunately, the most common food items that dogs happen to be allergic to are the most common ingredients in all diets, whether commercially prepared or homemade.  These foods include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Fish

Many people believe that foods like lamb and venison are hypoallergenic proteins, but this is not the case.  An animal can develop a food allergy to any type of food they are fed over an extended period of time.

Commercial prepared foods are often made with large amounts of grains because it is an inexpensive source of energy.  However, these contain large amounts of carbs and gluten, which are two other ingredients that pets often develop an allergy to.  For young dogs, you can actually improve their oral tolerance by limiting the amount of gluten and carbohydrates they ingest.

In diagnosing food allergies, you will need to feed your dog a Hypoallergenic Diet.  This is the only way that you will be able to tell for sure that the dog has a food allergy.  This diet takes about 3 to 12 weeks to complete.  The purpose of this diet is to isolate the allergen in the food by banning all protein that the dog has eaten in the past.


The Hypoallergenic Diet

The use of this diet is designed to ban all protein that the dog has eaten in the past in an effort to determine which protein or other ingredient may be causing the allergic reaction.  The diet will last about 8 to 12 weeks depending on the ingredients that need to be tested.  Dogs that have food allergies will show a decrease in itching, and in some cases, the itching will stop all together.

There are two types of diets you can feed: homemade or commercial brands.

The homemade hypoallergenic diet uses 1 part protein and 4 to 5 parts cooked white rice.  For those dogs that have never had protein such as turkey or lamb before, these are both good options.  If you are not sure which types of protein the dog has had, it is advisable to try rabbit or venison, as very few dogs have eaten these in a normal diet.

Many commercial dog foods are now considered hypoallergenic because they have limited ingredients and few additives.  Go to a specialty dog food store for the best diets made by small manufacturers.  Every dog is an individual and there is no one-size-fits-all diet.  That said, my current preference is for Nature’s Variety diets Prairie or Instinct (avoid chicken).

During the diet, you will feed your dog only the prescribed diet.  This means no treats and no heartworm prevention medication.  While on this diet, you should also avoid any supplements, as these often have agents used in binding the vitamins and minerals together, which the dog may be allergic to.  You do not have to worry about any deficiencies developing in the short amount of time the dog will be on the diet.

You should see results in as little as a few weeks.  Stools become normal, itching and scratching stop, small sores go away.  However, if the severe scratching returns when the dog goes back on his regular diet, then you most likely have a food allergy occurring.

As the itching decreases over the 8 to 12 weeks, you can slowly begin adding back ingredients into the diet and watch to see if the itchiness associated with the food allergy reoccurs.  You will add each ingredient until you have developed a well-balanced diet plan and the dog does not have an itching reaction.  This diet can be fed long-term, as long as it is balanced.

Once on a homemade diet, many dogs may develop problems after being switched back to a commercial diet.  These may include symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and itchiness.  In some cases this is due to the same carbohydrate or protein being used in the homemade diet is the same in the commercial diet.  However, artificial flavorings, chemicals and preservatives are usually to blame in this situation.


Tips to Remember Regarding Food Allergies

  • Occur non-seasonally
  • Each dog is different
  • Occur at any age, but most common in dogs 2 years or older
  • Often allergic to beef, chicken, soy, wheat, fish, eggs, corn, and milk.
  • Neither skin testing nor will blood testing accurately diagnose the allergen.
  • Food allergies are less common than dermatitis

from English Bulldog Health


Doggie Advertising: Manipulating You and Your Pet

Now I’ve heard it all…

In an attempt to influence dog owners Purina, the makers of Beneful, have embedded high frequency sounds into their latest commercial.  The idea is if your pet sits up and pays attention maybe you will too and go buy this dog food.

Having been in the ad business as a food photographer for 25 years it never ceases to amaze me the lengths advertisers will go in order to persuade you to purchase their products.  The buyer must always beware!

In my opinion it is better to be educated than manipulated when it comes to something as important as your dog’s food.  Beneful is loaded with corn (not easily digested by dogs) and flavor enhancers, and very little real meat protein (dogs are primarily carnivores). I would never recommend feeding it.  A list of the foods I do recommend is included in my Bulldog Health System.

Here’s the ad in question:


Overweight Bulldog Cannot Breathe

I need some advise…. For some time now our bulldog Buster has been suffering from breathlessness when doing very little exercise, sores on his feet and NOT wanted to go out. He is picked on by other dogs often when he does go out even though he does nothing to justify being picked on.  He has obviously taken him to the vet for answers and we have found out he is approximately 36kg, apparently quite a lot overweight. From taking him to the vet he was referred to a specialist based on strange blood results, an xray showing a potential enlarged heart and a echo something or other showing a potentially strange heartbeat. The specialist is saying his heart is perfect, nothing to worry about, he does not have heart/lung worm which he is being treated with as a precaution but thinks he may have a problem with his throat and possibly needs his soft palette reducing to help with his breathing. My question is, should I give him time to lose some weight or go ahead with the recommended surgery of throat and soft palette surgery?  If he wasn’t so over weight as has been suggested would he even be presenting with the symptoms in the first place. I don’t want to rush into surgery if all he needs to do is lose weight…..


Hi Anita,

Some Bulldogs have breathing that is so compromised it becomes a danger to their health.  If Buster cannot get enough oxygen due to soft palate problems then he may need surgery.  If he suffers fainting spells or his gums are constantly bluish in tone you may not want to wait.

If he is not in immediate danger then I’d recommend you put him on a diet and see how he does when he’s a proper weight.  Cut down his food and give him NO treats unless they are vegetables.  An overweight Bulldog has extra stress put on his heart which when combined with an already compromised breathing/cooling system is a recipe for disaster.  Don’t feel bad if he looks hungry – you are saving his life.

Consult your specialist about how urgent his breathing problems are.  From what you say it sounds like his main problem is he’s overweight and it’s true that a correct weight may reduce his distress significantly.

Here’s a photo of my Archie – you can see his waist indents just behind his ribs. You want to be able to see a waist on him when you look down from above. I exercise him daily and keep him trim.

A healthy Bulldog has a waist

As he loses weight you’ll be able to walk him more.  Start slowly and stop if he starts to breathe heavily.

Concerning his being picked on. Is Buster neutered?  I have found that intact dogs do get picked on by other dogs.  Otherwise he may be timid or lack confidence (each dog has it’s unique personality)  and they sense that.  A trainer could help you work on this.


Hair Falling Out Around French Bulldog’s Eyes

Hello Jan,

My name is Erica I have a 81/2month old brindle frenchie lately I’ve noticed around her eyes she seems to be loosing hair and today one of her eyes looks a little puffy. I use puppy wipes to clean her face but have stopped using them just in case I didn’t know if it was from the wipes or maybe her food. We use  purina pro plan just wondering what I could do at home first to prevent going to the vet.

Thanks, Erica

Hi Erica,

From your description & your dog’s age that sounds like an outbreak of demodectic mange or a proliferation of mites.  Mites normally live peacefully on a dog’s skin but can get out of hand and start to multiply.  Since they live in the base of the hair follicle they will cause the hair to fall out.  Around the eyes is one of the places it shows up.

Most cases of mites will resolve themselves on their own with no treatment.  It is difficult to treat by the eyes because most products should not be allowed in eyes.

Diet is important in your dog’s immune system’s ability to fight off invaders like mites.  I would suggest you get a higher quality diet for your Frenchie.  Go to your local specialty dog food store (not a big box store) and get a human grade food made with no corn, no wheat, no soy, no chicken.  Try a lamb and rice formula I recommend in my book such as Prairie or a fish diet like Taste of the Wild.

Good luck – keep me posted.

Your Bulldog Pal,



French Bulldog Paw Licking and Allergies

Hi Jan,

My French bulldog is 13 months old.  We have been battling some skin issues with her since she was 5 months old.  It started with a yeast infection in her right ear.  Since then she ahs had 3 infections in the same ear.  We try prescription washes and solutions, with little help of preventing the situation or solving the issue.

She also has a severe paw licking issue, and gets a pimple looking rash on the hairless part of her belly.  We feel bad for her and want to resolve this issue for her sake. I started her as a pup on the Whole Pet Diet, then moved onto the B.A.R.F. diet, and now per my vets request Royal Canine Hypo- Allergenic Hydrolyzed Protein dog food. The same symptoms have persisted.

We have had snow for about a month and I noticed that my dog wasn’t liking her paws as much.  I am starting to believe that she is allergic to grass. The second the snow melted away and grass appeared, her belly broke out in a rash again and the paw licking started up again.

My husband wants to treat her with the allergy injections, but it is costly. What would you recommend for your frenchie?

Thanks, Sara


Hi Sara,

I have a couple suggestions.  First, do not feed her that Royal Canin formula, it’s soy and I don’t think dogs are meant to eat soy.  Feed her something high quality (raw or other) that is not chicken based but rather venison or duck or salmon, etc.

Next, her condition could be contact allergies since she’s better in the snow when her paws get cleaned off. Be sure you are not using any harsh chemicals anywhere she walks.  Clean her bedding once a week with dye and chemical free detergent.

You can give her the allergy shots and she will look better for a while. But they are steroids and have very bad long term effects.  I do not recommend them except maybe for a very short time to get severe allergies under control.

Try giving her dye free children’s dose of Benadryl (pink box) instead.

For her ears, be sure you keep them dry.  Yeast thrives on moisture. Try using an ear cleaner like Oti-Clens several times a day until her symptoms subside.  It’s available at pet stores, follow directions on box.

Do not over bathe her, it will only increase allergic problems.

I have a lot more suggestions on how to treat allergies plus food recommendations in my French Bulldog Health System.

your bulldog pal,


French Bulldog with Severe Allergies – Any Suggestions?

Thank you for such a quick response.  I look forward to any information you might have regarding the “frenchie”.

My little bulldog is miserable.  Her one ear continually has a redness to it, causing her to shake her head.  I take her to the vet and she is prescribed anitbiotics and ear drops.  It goes away for a short time then it returns.

She is constantly doing the sit and spin.  Her eyes are watery.  She constantly licks her paws which are red and inflamed.  And occasionally, her underbelly toward her back legs breaks out in a rash with little red bumps.

I recently stopped giving her processed or purchased dog food and started making meals for her myself.  I omitted anything to do with corn, included baby food, brown rice and hamburger or chicken with shredded vegies or potatoes.  It appeared as though she was getting better, then all of a sudden it all comes back again.

I bathe her once a week with oatmeal soap to keep her clean enough to know that her fur is not collecting anything.  She is primarily an inside dog and goes outside occasionally.

Someone suggested a product that I can purchase on line that controls the yeast levels.  Do you know anything about this?



Hi Judy,

That certainly sounds like allergies.  Keep up with the healthy food, it can
take a while.  Paw licking is the definitive sigh of allergies.
The rash could be the result of a “contact allergy” in which she lays on
something that irritates her belly.  Eliminate any harsh detergents and
get the ‘free and clear’ version, and don’t use any dryer softening towels.
Same with carpet cleaners & floor cleaners – nothing harsh.
I’d recommend you continue with the ear drops in case there is yeast
building up.  Clean them daily as the head shaking has to do with yeast
deep in the ear canal.  And you can treat the patch on the ear with a
soothing ointment.
Sitting and spinning is a sign of either yeast in the tail pocket or the
need to express the anal glands.  You can clean her tail with some witch
hazel on a cotton pad daily.
There is a simple home remedy I have used with my bulldog to help
control yeast.  Add 1 Tbs Braggs apple cider vinegar (available at natural
foods stores) to her water bowl each time you fill it up.  It changes the
ph balance and can help control the growth of yeast.
Also, you might want to reduce the amount of bathing as it can actually
dry out the skin and contribute to irritations.
And when she takes antibiotics be sure to give her some probiotics
(human or dog variety) or a little yogurt with live cultures to help counteract
the effect of the antibiotics.
Finally, has she been checked for mites?  Demodex is very common in
young dogs and a simple skin scraping by your vet will rule this out.  They
will cause little bumps and make small areas of hair fall out.  Often they
resolve on their own within a month and no medications are necessary.
your bulldog pal,

Severe Constipation Leads to Intestinal Blockage in Bulldog

Good Afternoon,

I have a question to see if you have experienced this or heard of this with other English Bulldogs.

Our 5 year old threw up her food (several X’s same day). Next day did same so we took her to vet. They did blood work, x-ray of stomach. There was a mass noticed. To make a long story shorter she ended up and had to have surgery. It ended up she had a stool blocking part of large intestine.  She couldn’t keep down even small amount food. They carefully massaged intestine, put anti-inflammatory and antibiotic to help prevent infection.

She’ll be at vet’s for several days so they can watch her, be available for any added medications and watch stool. Said she would have to push so to speak to get it out and they wanted to be able to do what might be needed for her to pass stool hopefully without problem.

Have you ever heard of one having this. I’ve heard of them not wanting to grunt a you might say and she is one we have to watch as she seems to get tight stools once in awhile and we have to give pumpkin to keep soft enough. If not, she’ll not complete job.

They did not open intestine and remove as they felt danger of infection etc was to great etc to great. Rest of everything looked good. No other blockage or foreign object.

Needless to say I have been a basket case, but now we’ll need to be even more checkful of this area.

Any suggestion to help prevent this from happening again. And how do you know if they’ve gotten cleaned out.



Hi Mary,

I have heard of several cases of intestinal blockage but not from
food alone.  Usually they ate something that made the blockage.  And
I have not heard of a dog being so constipated that they could not
defecate.  It sounds like she’s absorbing too much water out of her
food as she digests so they become hard and stuck.  This leads me to
believe she’s dehydrated.

As for remedies, I think that diet could make a difference.  Dry kibble is very
dehydrating and can actually absorb water out of the stomach and intestines
and lead to very firm stools.  Maybe you should add some warm water to her
food.  Or switch her to canned which has a higher moisture content.  food.

Do you add the pumpkin at every meal?  It’s a good solution, perhaps you
should add more.

You could also try adding fiber to the food.  Psyllium is a natural fiber – it
needs to be given with lots of water!  You could also try adding some oil to her
diet in the form of fish oil or even olive oil.  Milk is another remedy if she can

tolerate it.

Finally fresh pureed vegetables added to her food may help her.  Vegetables
have lots of fiber.  They must be pureed to be properly digested by a dog.

Finally exercise is good for proper digestion.  Be sure she is getting enough
exercise.  Take her for walks a couple times a day or throw the ball for her to chase.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Seasonal Shedding of Your Bulldog’s Coat

Shedding & Healthy Coats
by Dr Jane Bicks, Healthy Pet newsletter

The splendor of summer is right around the bend.  We are approaching the season when children, freed from studies, populate the neighborhood, friends and families hold cook-outs, and we find ourselves preoccupied with the health our pet’s coats.

There’s a reason for our annual fixation.  Dogs usually begin to lose their winter coats in early spring, when it is gradually replaced by a shorter, lighter coat suited to the summer months.  The amount of shedding varies widely from breed to breed.  For example, the pet parents of German Shepherds will groan about the amount of shedding all year long, while those of us with poodles rarely have to get out the broom or vacuum, even with the arrival of summer.

While we’ve seen that growth cycles can be affected by mood, hormones, and nutrition, changes primarily occur due to fluctuations in the amount of daylight and temperature.

The length of daylight hours is believed to have a greater impact on the shedding cycle than temperature, which is why all pets shed during particular times of the year.  Even artificial indoor lighting can have an effect, especially on companion animals who stay primarily indoors.

And companion animals experience big differences in temperature when leaving and entering your home, which is most extreme in the summer and winter months.  These differences induce a constant state of change, setting up conditions that lead to increased shedding throughout the year.

And an unhealthy coat can have negative impacts on pet parents, too, in the form of allergies.  Contrary to popular belief, hair is not the culprit of allergies in humans, but rather dander and proteins in the oil produced by glands in the skin.

For all of the hair support systems to function properly, they require a variety of nutrients, including fatty acids, minerals and vitamins.  Additionally, a healthy coat requires a great deal of protein.  Almost 95% of the protein that’s ingested is used by the body to support hair production and maintenance.  Fortunately, nutritious foods like Life’s Abundance and Instinctive Choice provide the protein content necessary to supply your pet’s body with the protein necessary to help maintain a healthy coat.

Just as it is important to feed a high-quality, nutrient-dense food, it is also advisable to give your companion animals a balanced supplement that provides the additional nutritional support necessary to achieve the utmost in a healthy coat and skin.


9 Year Old Bulldog with Arthritis on nsaids

Hi Jan,

Thank you for your regular and most helpful information that we receive on a
regular basis.

We have a Bulldog who’s name is Gilbey, and he’s almost 9 years old (see
picture attached). We have had Gilbey since he was a pup and he has always
been in fairly good health. However, he has developed a rather severe case
of arthritis as he has become older and has come to the point now where he
can hardly walk sometimes. Other than this he is in very good health and
although he gets regular exercise and we watch his diet (currently weighs
around 30kg) it is sad to watch his mobility and lust for life be eroded by
this awful disease as time goes by. We have him on the Hill’s F/D Diet and
we supplement this with a product called Mobiflex to assist with the
deteriation of his joints. We have heard that magnets can help with
arthritis but we’d like to find out what we can do to make life a little
better for Gilbey. Can you possibly assist in this regard?

Kind Regards,

Sam Taylor


Hi Sam,

Congratulations on a long lived bulldog – he looks like a real love!

You can give Gilbey a dog supplement with Glucosamine and
Condroitin.  Cosamine DS or In Clover’s Connection

You can also give him a baby aspirin instead of the Mobiliflex
(ask your vet first).

Mobiliflex is a nsaid anti-inflammatory drug with some powerful
side effects such as nausea, dizziness and even pancreatitis.
My Vivy nearly died after being put on Rimadyl – another drug
in this class of anti-inflammatory.

I’d suspect the nsaid if he has become less active after being on it.
It is possible he is feeling bad from the side effects:

Be sure your vet tests his liver function when on the anti-inflammatory drug.

Exercise is good for him so keep him moving.

I would also say that Hills is not a very high quality food and I’d
suggest you switch him to something from one of the very high
quality brands like Innova or Nature’s Variety (Prairie).

I don’t know about the magnets, have not tried them but have
heard of people using them with success.

One other option you could try is acupuncture – it is known to
work really well on dogs with arthritis.

I hope this helps.  Please let me know how Gilbey does.

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,


Little Red Bumps in Ears – What Kind of Infection?

Hi there Jan,

My name is Angela and I have written to you in the past pertaining to
my wonderful little bully, Dolly. She had been having head tremors at that
time and you really helped me out with the information you provided.
You will be happy to know that for the most part the tremors have subsided.

I do have another question for you about Dolly that you may be of some
assistance. My husband and I have your book, “The Healthy Bulldog”, which
we love and refer to on a lot of occasion.

We just can’t seem to find what we’re looking for when it comes to her ears.
For the past two weeks she has these tiny red bumps inside her ears.
They are crusty with dry blood on them. There is not an odor or any puss.
It actually looks like the end stages of the chicken pox. One ear worse than
the other. She has just began to scratch at them.

Since she was a puppy, she has always allowed me to clean her ears out
with aloe and vitamin E baby wipes, but lately she runs from me and hates
for me to come near her with the wipes no matter how gentle I am. It is
strange for her to not like her ears cleaned considering she used to love it.

My hubby and I also are very proud owners of another male bully named
Samson and two very precious toy poodles, Tiki and Sweet pea. I have
been watching their ears and they are fine. No bumps or crusty blood.
Brian, my hubby, seems to think it may be an allergy to her food, but
she has been on the same food since we first got her.

Could she be developing this allergy as she gets older? We think
it may also be a yeast infection. She also has a couple small bald
spots on her neck due to scratching.

I just wanted to pick your brain and see what you thought. We will
be calling the vet if need be. Please forgive my long email. I know
your busy and I do appreciate any ideas you may have.

Thanks a bunch, Angela


Hi Angela,

It is probably not yeast because with a yeast infection in the
ears, there is usually brownish smelly discharge or waxy stuff.
And it’s sour smelling.

It could be food allergies – what are you feeding her? And is she
on any medications or supplements?

Food allegies can create bald spots and ear infections.  The scratching
is a classic sign of allergies.

She can develop an intolerance to her food over time.  Being
fed the same ingredients, however good, constantly can lead
to a reaction to some small ingredient.  I recommend changing
food every 3-6 months to avoid this.

Although food may be the underlying cause, there are some
remedies to make her feel better now.

You can give her a dye-free benadryl children’s dose (pink box) –
it really helps short term with allergic reactions.

You can try using some calendula cream in her ears – it’s a soothing,
healing cream.  You can get it at a natural foods store.  It may clear
them up in a few days.

If not, it could be mites.  Do you see any tiny brown granulated looking
spots?  Usually there’s an odor involved with a mite infection.
An easy cure for mites is to rub a few drops of mineral oil or
mullein oil (natural foods store) in the ear.  It will kill any mites.

It can also be associated with fleas, but I’m assuming that is not
the case.

It is also possible that there is something in the baby wipes that
is irritating her ears.  By stopping using them, you’ll know soon if
that’s the case.

If you take her to the vet, he should do a skin scraping to determine
what it is.  They often just prescribe anti-biotics without even finding
out what’s the cause.  And it doesn’t sound like she has an infection.

I hope this helps.  Please let me know how she’s doing and tell me
what you’re feeding her.

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,

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