My Bulldog Puppy is Overweight – What Should I do?


I enjoy your emails and helpful hints for my bulldog.  I have a problem.  My bulldog is 6 mos old and weights 52 lbs.  My vet has put him on a diet.  2 cups twice a day.  I started feeding him Royal Canin 32.  It has 32% crude protein and 18% crude fat and 3.6% fiber.  His muzzle and feet are red and the inside of his ears are broke out.  He is allergic to grass, the best I can tell.  He stays inside and only goes out on a leash.

I have now changed his food to Nutro Chicken meal, rice and oatmeal  it has 26% crude protein, 12% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber.  It has been 2 weeks  and his muzzle, feet, and ears are still red and itchy.  What can I do to help him lose weight and help with his skin.  Now that it has cooled off her in GA, we are taking him for walks and he runs around the yard playing with our outside dog 2 to 3 times a day.

Has has weak hip muscle (vet said due to his weight) and will drag himself before he will actually get up on all 4s to walk.  Is there a supplement he can take?

Thanks for your help

Hi Susan,

You need to feed him less than the recommendations for his weight,
so 3 cups instead of 4.  My adult Archie is 52 pounds and only gets 3 cups a day.
He’s trim and fit and very active.  Excess weight puts stress on a dog’s joints.

Also Nutro is not the best food, it was involved in the recall, and it has all kinds
of ingredients that can contribute to bulldog allergies.  It’s not so much the amount
of protein but more what ingredients are making up the protein.  Grains have
protein but they are not the best source of protein for a dog.  Dogs need their
protein to come from meat.

Try switching him to Canidae or California Natural  lamb and rice.  They have
limited ingredients which are very high quality. Many dogs are allergic to chicken
formulas so the lamb and rice could make a big difference.

Switch slowly, adding 1/4 new food to old and each day up the new food
to make the switch over a week.

You could also add Omega 3s to his diet in the form of fish oil or flax
seed oil for dogs.  These will help his overall health.

Diet and exercise will help your puppy with his hip problem too.  Many
bulldogs have growth spurts that can affect their joints but they can
grow out of them.  It’s really important to keep him active and keep
him slim.  You want to be able to see his waist.

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


Can I Feed My Bulldog Chicken? Is It Bad?

Is chicken bad for bulldogs?  I see it in a number of good dog foods and am confused.  If I look for other meats in dog food what should I be looking for?



Hi John,

Chicken is in a lot of good dog foods because it is plentiful
and inexpensive.

I don’t think chicken is bad but there are a lot of food allergies
in dogs related to chicken.  My bulldog Archie is allergic to
chicken.  He had digestive problems and the vet said it was
inflammatory bowel syndrome and he would need to be on meds
his whole life.

I simply could not buy into his diagnosis and that’s what led to
all this research I did on food.

So I did some food trials and whenever I gave Archie chicken,
he would have a reaction.

The reason why so many dogs are allergic to chicken is (in my
opinion) because of over vaccination.  Allergies are really an
immune reaction to a certain protein that that the immune system
perceives (mistakenly) as an intruder.  Like when you have an
allergic reaction to pollen.

In the case of dogs and chicken, it is a reaction to the chicken
protein.  The reason many holistic vets think this is related to
vaccinations is that vaccines are typically grown in chicken eggs
or kidneys or some such medium.

Anyway, whenever I feed Archie anything chicken (even an egg),
he gets diarrhea.

The meats I feed are lamb, venison, rabbit, and other less popular
and over-industrialized foods, sometimes beef (if I cook it myself),
especially if they come from New Zealand or Australia because
the food source is less apt to have been compromised in the
name of efficiency and cost-saving measures.

I used to be in the food industry – I was a food photographer working
for large food companies – and that’s when I learned a lot about
what is done to the foods we eat – and it isn’t pretty.  And all the parts
of the animals that can’t be turned into human food are turned into
dog food.

Purebred dogs and bulldogs in particular are more susceptible to
these things because they are so inbred.  A specialty breed like
the bulldog has been inbred for over a hundred years, and in the
last twenty or so years the AKC encourages this inbreeding by
awarding prizes to certain breed attributes.

This inbreeding is such an issue in terms of general health of any
purebred dog that is bred for looks rather than health.  It really makes
me wonder whether so called championship lines are all they’re
cracked up to be!

your bulldog pal,

——follow up question——

Based on what you are telling me, I will need to watch her “reaction” to it.  What should I be looking for for (itching, hot spots, etc). and how soon should I see these reactions?


The signs of food allergy are either intestinal (diarrhea or soft stools)
which you would see within a day, and skin reactions, usually the hair
starts to fall out in patches which could take a month or more to show
your bulldog pal,


Folliculitis Hair Follicle Infection and Diet in English Bulldog

Hi Jan,

How are you?  I noticed that you have a new program on nutrition.
What would you recommend for Folliculitis?  Biggie has had a skin
infection and we treated it with antibiotics but it seems to be back
any suggestions?


Sherry and Rick


Hi Sherry,

Did you read the material?  It’s free for all my clients and it
has a lot of useful information specifically about nutrition
and skin disorders.

One big problem for English Bulldogs is genetic weakness
in certain areas, especially the immune system that fights off
infection, due to inbreeding to meet AKC show standards.

This depressed immunity can plague many bulldogs with
skin conditions that a normal immune system can fight off.

So nutrition is very important to help boost immunity and
let your bulldog heal from within.

Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicules and is characterized
by small white or red bumps on the skin.  It looks similar to mange
and often in a bullie there are mites attacking the base of the hair

The root of the hair follicle is under the skin and when it is damaged,
it becomes vulnerable to invaders.  It will often clear up on it’s own
in about a week, but with bulldogs with weak immune systems
drugs are often prescribed.

Folliculits can be caused by a fungus or bacterial (staph) infection.
I’m assuming your vet did skin scrapings to test for mites, and see
what fungus or bacteria might be present and is treating it with
the appropriate medication.

Folliculitis is also known as pyoderma or hot spots, so be sure
to read my section on those conditions in my Bulldog Health System.

If your vet did not do skin scrapings, go to a dermatologist specialty
vet who will because if it gets deep into the tissue it will become
harder to treat.

Once cleared, there are definitely some things you can do for
Biggie’s nutrition that will help.

First is diet.  I recall you are feeding Biggie a human grade food.
It’s important to rotate foods every 90 – 120 days so he gets a
variety.  You can choose from the ones on my list in the food

Also, you can add some supplements.  Even though they
might be included in your food, you need to give him extra
Omega 3s (not 6 and 9), probiotics (because he was on
antibiotics), and also an enzyme formula.  See the Supplements
list I recommend.

I think in your case, you need to get the specific bacteria or
fungus identified and treated.  I’m familiar with this because
Vivy had it (she had most immune related disorders!).  With
proper specific treatment, it should clear up.  Then the good
diet and supplements should help his immunity.

You also should let Biggie get lots of direct sunshine (when it’s
not too hot or intense) because sunshine kills bacteria.  That
shouldn’t be hard since bulldogs love to lay in the sun!

You might also consider some of the suggestions in the new
book about adding fresh food to his diet.  Even the best kibble
is deficient because of the way it is manufactured.

And yes, I did get a new puppy, Archie, he’s two now.  I did
a huge amount of research into breeders so I could avoid a
lot of the helath problems I had with Viv.

He’s been really healthy except he’s allergic to chicken! which
is in most dog food.  That’s what led to my new book on “The
Miracle of Healing with Food”.  I feed him a base of
human grade kibble with meat and vegetables.

Keep me posted on how Biggie’s doing.

your bulldog pal,


Blood in My Bulldog’s Stool and Diarrhea

Jan, I have a question for you.

My 10 month old Enlish Bulldog (roxy) has been having a diarhea and a little blood in her stools for the past couple of days. We called our vet once we noticed it and he said that a little blood in her stoos is not uncommon and to try and give her pepto bismol tablets to see if that helps the diarhea issue.

We have been doing that for the last 36 hours and nothing has really changed. If anything, both symptoms have gotten a little worse. Roxy acts completely normal, plays all the time, and has lots of energy. Everything seems completely normal except for her stools.

We are currently out of town at my in laws house and my wife and I dont know what to do. We arent sure if we should just bite the bullet and go to the emergency vet (because it is on a Sunday). Has your dog been through this before? Any suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Hi Ryan,

Blood in your bulldog’s stools is not necessarily an emergency,
and could indicate many things.

It depends what it looks like.  If it’s red and a little slimy, and stinky,
she could have gotten giardia or some other parasite.  These are
hard to diagnose because they come and go.  They do tend to
resolve themselves in time.

If it’s red and clotted, it indicates a more serious bleeding problem.
If it’s dark in color, it’s coming from further up the digestive tract.

She could have eaten the wrong thing and it’s irritated her stomach
or intestine.

Another thing that can cause diarrhea is food.  If your bulldog has
a food allergy, she could on occasion get bloody stools.

The main danger from untreated diarrhea, even if it’s not dangerous
diarrhea, is dehydration.  A lot of water leaves the system with diarrhea
and this is harmful to the internal organs.

Here’s a link to some useful information on different causes of blood in
a dog’s stool:,,j6cd,00.html

My bulldog Archie had bloody stools off and on for a while.  He was
tested for all kinds of parasites twice and was clean.  The vet
said he could have irritable bowel syndrome, but I didn’t think that
sounded right.  It turned out to be a food allergy to chicken.
I changed his diet to exclude chicken and he’s been fine ever since.

My Vivy did have this but she was quite ill and was not acting normal.
She was also vomiting.  She was listless and uncomfortable as well.
It was obvious she was quite ill.
In her case it was pancreatitus which I think was caused by Rimadyl,
a nsaid she was given for arthritis.  This was an extreme case.

Personally, I always think it’s better to be safe than sorry with a bulldog.
If it doesn’t get better or resolve itself in the next day, or if she worsens
and starts to act uncomfortable or listless or vomiting, I would definitely
take her to the vet.  If she’s otherwise normal, you could wait until you
get home

You could try giving her some garlic, maybe half a clove crushed in her food.
It’s a potent short term immune booster.

your bulldog pal,


Worrisome Dog Food Consolidation News

There have been many complaints about Canidae dog foods lately
especially their All Life Stages product.  Dogs that have been eating
it for years are suddenly having problems.

There was a formula change which is documented and touted as
a great improvement in holistic dog foods on their website

There is also a rumor that they were sold to Diamond Pet Foods.
I dug a little deeper and found that Canidae is in fact only using
Diamond as a processor of their foods. But that indicated to me
bigger and not necessarily better!

My specialty retailer told me the Canidae reps said the formula change
is due to the rice shortage. It is true there is a rice shortage, but
again the growth in size tells me they are ramping up to sell the company.

I used to be in the ad business and that is what a company often does
to promote a big buy out: increase output and market presence, like
when Wellness ramped up and started selling in big box retailers.

Now I’ve just heard that Nature’s Variety, my current favorite and
maker of Prairie, Instinct, and Raw Diets, has been sold to Berwind,
the same private company that purchased Wellness.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more consolidation stories soon.

your bulldog pal,


AAFCO – What’s Wrong With This Picture???

If you haven’t heard of the AAFCO, it’s the governing
regulatory agency that provides guidelines for pet foods.
You might think this is a good thing, but think again!

Here is a breakdown of approved foods for 2008.  It
makes me wonder who’s funding this group because they
recommend rice flour as their #1 ingredient to dogs
that are well known as primarily meat eaters.

This article came from Yes Biscuit, a blog devoted to
pet care.


Pet Food Ingredient Breakdown – #2

By YesBiscuit!

Today, I looked at a new, AAFCO approved food on the market for
dogs. It contains all the usual advertising tags which make me
suspicious: “100% complete and balanced”, “No fillers”, “High
quality proteins”, etc. Here are the first seven ingredients
leading up to the first source of fat:

1. Rice Flour – This is the main ingredient of the only food you
want me to feed my dog – rice flour? Isn’t that better used for
making gluten-free baked goods or something? Flour comes in a sack
and it’s all powdery. My dog doesn’t want that as the main
ingredient in his dinner! And I question the quality of any flour
sold for use in pet food. I assume that like many other pet food
ingredients, it’s of lower quality than the flour sold for human
consumption in my local grocery store. Exactly how much nutrition
is my dog supposed to get from this pet food grade sack of flour?
The “no fillers” claim isn’t sounding so truthful right about now.

2. Chicken By-Product Meal – This is a euphemism for things such as
chicken heads, feet, intestines, lungs, etc. If you don’t know (or
won’t say) what exactly you are putting in this food, don’t expect
me to feed it to my pets.

3. Meat Broth – What kind of “meat”? A hodgepodge of condemned
carcasses that were covered in charcoal to distinguish that they
are unfit for human consumption? Or is it something else, just as
disgusting? Again, if you either don’t know or won’t tell – I won’t
be feeding it.

4. Wheat Flour – See my powdery complaint above.

5. Glycerin – I was reading an article about how excited the pet
food industry is about using glycerin – a waste product of the
bio-fuel industry – in their products. Me, I was a little less

6. Corn Gluten Meal – Another waste product obtained from the
manufacture of corn syrup – not an ingredient I’m inclined to
sustain my pet’s life and health on.

7. Corn Flour – Enough with the sacks of powder already – my dog
wants some real food!

Overall product ingredients review: 4 paws down! Despite claims of
“premium nutrition”, there is not one ingredient appropriate for a
dog’s main meal among the first seven ingredients. And the product
itself is far more expensive than many on the market. What exactly
are we buying?


I don’t know about you, but that turns my stomach and I
would never feed my dog that kind of junk.  It’s a recipe
for skin problems and poor health.

To find out more about dog food and get a recommended foods list
and report on The Miracle of Healing Your dog With Food,
go to My Best Dog Food
fyi, it’s $29 but well worth the investment in my opinion!

your bulldog pal,



Bulldog Chewing Her Feet: How Can I Help Her?

Hi Jan,

I am wondering what to do for my grand puppy Lucy. I have written to you about her before and since she is having yeast issues on her feet and face I thought I would revisit your articles, and I noticed that you wrote that your Bulldog had some of the same issues for a while. My problem is compounded by the fact that she is not my dog. I do dog sit for her during the day, so I share in the care of her! I can’t take her to a vet that knows Bulldogs better than the one that the owners take her to. Their vet said that she has yeast , but he attributed it to “getting her feet wet outside”!

Please review for me what I can do to help her! Their breeder told them to use baby wipes on her face, but that does not seem to be enough. I have tried the eyewash and even Lotrimin and Gold Bond on her and nothing seems to help.Lucy is now one year old. She is on the Royal Canine Bulldog food. She now has chewed a hole in the fur on one foot!

Thank you for being such a Bulldog enthusiast.



Hi Marie,

Paw licking is a primary sign of allergies. In my opinion
that vet doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Her feet
are wet because she’s licking them all the time and she’s
licking them because she has allergies. Allergies are
caused primarily by a depressed immune system.

The best thing you can do for Lucy is to change her food –
get her off that Royal Canin, she’s probably allergic to something
in it.

Switch her to something like Prairie lamb and oatmeal or California
Naturals lamb and rice or Canidae lamb and rice. You should see
significant changes within a month.

You could also add probiotics and Omega 3s to her diet. They will
help boost her immune system. I give Archie Nordic Naturals Omega
3s and Optagest Digestive Aids – both purchased at a natural foods

While you make the switch, you can bathe her in a medicated
shampoo like Chlorhexiderm 3x a week and/or a rinse of
apple cider vinegar mixed 1 to 1 with water. Or you can just
put dilute apple cider vinegar on the most yeasty areas – it is a
natural anti-fungal. Avoid getting any of these in her eyes.
This should make her feel better.

Gold Bond is probably irritating her face. Just keep her dry and
maybe put a little Monistat in her nose folds. The change of food
should help immensely.

Explain to the owners that spending more on better food will save
on future huge vet bills and keep Lucy from suffering needlessly.

I hope this helps. Please keep me posted on her progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Multiple Problems in Bulldog Puppy

Hi Jan,
I’m so glad you e mailed this, as a matter of fact my husband is responcible for purchasing our bullie. I had just lost my 14 yr old companion, an Old English mastiff, and was needless to say heartbroken. I took a little vacation to visit a friend, to help take my mind of my loss, only to discover when I arrived home this little bundle of cuteness awaited me. Being a dog lover since birth, at first I was angry at my husband, but after a day of sharing my space with this adorable creature, I was once again in love. Now if it was me purchasing a dog, I would have really investigated the breeders. Jim purchased Spike from an online breeder, I did some snooping, and although I get thousands of complements on Spike’s looks and friendliness, I am now dealing with some of the issues you mentioned in your  email.  He has terrible stains in the folds below his eyes, I am now treating this with medicine from the vet. I have also had his nostriles operated on because his snoring and breathing was so bad.  He is passing gas all the time, so bad that we have to leave the room. And I have noticed he vomits alot, I thought it was from me tugging his leash against his short throat. He is fed a product called Innova “puppie” which the pet shop in my neighborhood reccomended as it is all natural and suppose to be one of the best ( I say that with tongue in cheek) as I am a sceptic with all the commercial dog food products. I am a business owner and ashamed to admit I don’t have the time to cook for my family let alone my Spike. I have hunted the internet for any and all articles on bulldogs and I’m happy that I stumbled upon yours. I will go to all lengths for my animal, I’m happy that I can afford a purebreed and all I want is to give him the love and care that he returns to me everyday with his anticks and personality. THe bulldog is one funny critter, I can’t tell you the joy he has brought me. Owning a Mastiff was a very expensive endevor to say the least, he had skin issued, allergies, ear problems. So I know now how important preventitive care is. I could have put another child though 8 yrs of college with what I paid in vet expenses. I look forward to your reply and I want to thank you for your time to send me your emails. I was very impressed with your interviews and your knowledge.

Thank you again,

Rosemarie Tinsley

Hi Rosemarie,

I’m not familiar with that breeder – did a quick search on the internet, but didn’t learn much.
Many breeders do their breeding for looks and for the money.  And many of them love the
breed but don’t really know what they’re doing.  Usually when I hear from someone, it’s
because they are having problems.

The problems you list are common, although in my opionion, they can be bred out of the
breed lines by conscientious breeders.But you love your bulldog so now what you need
to do is cope with what you have.

The eye problems are probably caused by eyelashes that are irritating Spike’s eyes.
I recommend you take him to an ophthalmologist who can treat them.

The gas can often be cured by elevating the food and feeding 3x a day instead of

The vomiting is another thing that may be cured by elevating the food, but can also
be a more serious issue known as megasphagus.  You can read about that on my

I think Innova is the very best brand.  It is rich and can cause some digestive things
like gas and soft stools.  But it is particularly high quality.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Food Allergy or Seasonal Flank Alopecia?

Thank you Jan –

I live in South Florida and have a 1 year old (birthday 2/15) male bulldog, Winston (70lbs) who on one previous occasion (July) had spotting (looked like someone sprinkled oil on his back and left spots) along the ridge of his back.   It lasted a few weeks and wasn’t anything drastic.

Dark spots (minimal hair loss) located about rump wrinkles….

Winston did not have any discomfort (no scratching) nor did he show any signs of knowing about what we saw.    Late January, his spotting (hair loss) re-occured in full force (I brush him and the driveway looks like a hair storm hit…)  along his shoulders, back, rump and hind quarters.

I have been reading up about the seasonal flank alopecia and think that he may have that (he is inside all day long while I am at work until darkfall).  I take him on regular (long) walks every night and several times a day on the weekends (morning, afternoon & night).

He is a HEALTHY eater… too fast, but never leaves a morsal….  Hahahaha

But I wonder about his diet and if that may have instigated a skin condition (or allergic reaction).

I have had him on Royal Canin – Large Breed Puppy formula since he was 4months old.   However, in January, I began to switch (mixing) him to Royal Canin – Bulldog formula. Coincidently, the hair loss began at this time. Now that we are in mid February he continues to lose major amounts of hair and I don’t know what to do.

I’ve been reading on your website and others about the possibility of diet being the cause of bulldog skin conditions….

But, I also see that you list Royal Canin as a preferred brand???  I’m confused…. we are still using the same brand, just moved to bulldog specific formula.  Can this be the problem?

Do you think that the hair loss was triggered by the change of foods…. or SFA?

Any suggestions? HELP

Thank you in advance for you help.

Michelle & Winston


Hi Michele & Winston,

Sorry for any confusion.  There are always conflicting opinions when it comes
to  english bulldogs and the connection between diet and skin.

On my site I list Royal Canin as the most popular brand according to a survey
of my bulldog owners.

That said, I don’t feed it to my Archie because he seems to be allergic to
chicken, the primary protein source in it.

And since your Winston’s hair loss started with your switch to RC B24, I
would definitely be suspicious of a food allergy.

What I currently feed my bulldog Archie is either Canidae or California Naturals
lamb meal and rice formulas.  I have found lamb to be much easier for bulldogs
with allergies.

This is not a set deal.  Some dogs are allergic to different things.  But the
most allergy producing proteins according to my vet skin specialist are
beef, soy, and chicken in that order.

Try switching him to one of these two foods, slowly, over a week or two, and
see what happens.  You should see results within two weeks, as I did with my
Archie.  It’s pretty basic food so he may not be crazy over eating it.  If he
won’t eat it add a little canned Wellness Lamb and Rice formula.

If it doesn’t work you may need to try Duck and Sweet Potato or Venison
and Sweet Potato formulas and see how he reacts to them.

It’s a matter of trial and error with food allergies.

About Seasonal Flank Alopecia, it doesn’t look like that’s what’s bothering
Winston because SFA shows up on the shoulders or sides of the bulldog,
whereas food allergies tend to show up on the top and along the back.

It is also more common in the northern states where there is less daylight
during the winters, like Minnesota.  But it can appear anywhere.

You can read about SFA and see some photos here:

It is always good to let your bulldog get some sun, it is a great natural (and
inexpensive!) anti-bacterial.  Just 20 minutes a day is good.

I hope this helps.  Please keep me posted on his progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,


How Can I Tell if My Bulldog is Overweight?

Hi Jan, I have another question for you. Tyke is a very fussy eater, but I am concerned that he will gain weight and I would like to keep him healthy. I feed him twice a day a mix of Paul Newmans dry organic food with either chicken or chopped meat mixed in. My question is how many calories should a Bulldog eat a day. He has two good walks a day but I don’t want him to become over weight. He is up to 60 lbs right now my vet says he should be between 50 and 55lbs. how do feel about this?  Thanks you, Your Bully Pal JoAnn


Hi JoAnn,

That’s a good question!  I have found that most people overfeed their bulldogs
because they think they should look chubby.

I have that one photo of Tyke and he doesn’t look overweight to me (hard to
tell with that Bear’s shirt – lol).  If he still looks like that, I’d say you’re feeding
him the right amount.

A healthy dog needs to have a waist and you should be able to feel his ribs.
It takes a little practice to feel a bulldog’s ribs but you get a sense for it by
moving the skin around his ribs.  You should be able to feel them but not
really see them because he has so much skin.

To see a bulldog’s waist, you look down on him from above and you can
see a narrowing behind the rib cage before his hind quarters.  Contrary to
what a lot of people think, a bulldog should not have what I refer to as a
buddha belly – a chubby protrusion from his stomach.

Tyke is a big guy.  A normal male will be 50-55 pounds.  If his parents
were large, then 60 pounds may be genetically normal for him.

If he has a waist and you can (kinda) feel his ribs, he’s probably a fine
weight.  Some bulldogs get to be upwards of 70 pounds.

As for caloric intake, I’ve never really measured it that way.  I usually go
by the amount of foood recommended on the package.  So if you add the
extra protein you should reduce the amount of dry food.

You can tell pretty quickly if your bulldog is gaining weight.  It only takes
a couple of weeks for them to start packing on the pounds.  I used to
have this dog sitter for Vivy when I would leave town.  And when I came
home after a week or so I could tell the sitter had been giving her tons
of treats (because she’s so cute she said).  So it shows up really fast.

So my method of weight maintenance is primarily visual.  If Archie starts
to gain weight, I cut back a little.  He gets more exercise during different
seasons and I adjust for that.  Again primarily by looking at him.

Exercise is really important for any dog.  And two walks a day is great!
That will help his heart and keep his weight down.  Also remember muscle
weighs more than fat.

I take Archie out for two walks a day for about 20-30 minutes each.  And
we have a little training each time as well.  Sit, stay, heel, etc. to keep
him from pulling me from one point of interest to the next.

Dogs love the stimulation of walks and adding a little training really helps
stimulate their minds as well.

I hope this helps, it’s more of a trial and error process than a set formula.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Food Allergies or Demodectic Mange?

Hi Jan,

I have a 3 year old English Bulldog. I take him to the vet about every week for his allergy shot. The vet says he has food allergies but no matter what food we try it does not seem to work. He is currently on Royal Canine. Do you have any suggestions for me, on what to feed him. He also has cysts appearing all over his body, shedding real bad and hair loss. Is this normal



Hi Tracey,

No that is not normal.  But it is common in bulldogs.  He may have demodex,
otherwise known as mange.  It is caused by a proliferation of mites that
live in the hair follicles of dogs.

The only way to know for sure is to have your vet do a skin scraping.
It is treated with a drug called Ivermectin.  Some vets recommend a
dip but I think this is very harsh and toxic for your bulldog.
You can also treat him with goodwinol topical cream.

But this could also be a symptom of food allergies.  So if your
vet has done a skin scraping and ruled out demodex or other
parasites, I would definitely suspect food as the culprit.

My belief is that these types of skin conditions are aggravated
by food allergies and can be treated effectively by simply
changing the diet in most cases (including mine!).

Centuries of inbreeding the bulldog line has led to some genetic
weakness that can cause a compromised immune
system which can leave them vulnerable to opportunistic diseases such
as demodectic mites that would not invade a healthy dog.

That said, there are many other things that can cause a depressed
immune system, such as stress, fighting an infection, and environmental
allergens.  And food allergies.

What sort of shots is your vet giving your bulldog?  I am not a fan
of prednisone shots because they only treat the symptoms and not
the underlying cause.  And they can contribute to weakening the
immune system.

I would suggest you switch your bulldog to a single protein source food
such as California Naturals or Canidae Lamb Meal and Rice.  The lamb
seems to be easily digested and the only other ingredient is rice.

Lots of people feed their bulldogs Royal Canin, but it’s primary ingredient
is chicken.  Chicken is one of the primary food allergens in dogs (along
with beef, soy, and fish) so I would definitely switch him off of that.

Take a week or two to switch the food, starting with just a small part of the
lamb and rice, then up the proportion slowly until it is all the new food.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Can a Bulldog Eat Eggs and Broccoli?

Hi Jan How are you today?

I have another question for you. How many eggs a week can a dog eat!
are they like people and can get too much cholesterol?

Also can they eat Broccoli?

Your Bully Friend,


Hi JoAnn,

Most experts say 1-2 eggs per week.  They are like people and can get too much cholesterol.
In fact, the dog genome is very similar to the human genome – which may help explain why
we love our dogs so much!
Eggs are one of those “whole foods” that have good cholesterol to counteract the bad.
They also have certain properties in the whites which help draw the good nutrients
out of the yolks, so I’d never just feed my bulldog (or myself) egg whites only.

Many of the raw diets include eggs. You can feed the eggs raw or cooked.  They also help
keep your dog’s coat shiny.

Exercise and weight control are very important in preventing heart disease in bulldogs.

Broccoli can be fed in small amounts.  Large amounts can be toxic but I always fed Vivy
a little broccoli when I was preparing it and never saw any ill effects.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Bulldog Head Nodding

Hi Jan,
I have a 18 month old boy called Boyce. Yesterday he started nodding his
head, well like his mouth was nodding, any Idea’s?




Hi Jackie,

From your description I think that “nodding” could be low blood sugar.
Sometimes during a growth spurt (which happens in a bulldog at 18 months)
the dog experiences low calcuim and glucose at times.

There’s an easy way to find out.  Give him a little yogurt or Karo syrup or
even ice cream and he should stop nodding within a few minutes if this
is the case.

If this works then you know what to do the next time it happens.  This
should just be a phase he’s going through and he should outgrow it.

If it doesn’t work and/or if you are still concerned you should take him
to your vet for a full blood count to rule out other causes such as seizures.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Bulldog Butt Scooting: Anal Glands Need Attention

Hi Jan,

Recently, my 20 month old female bulldog , sits and drags her bum across a
rug. If we use a medicated wipe on it, it seems to help. Is there anything
else I should be doing?



Hi Linda,


Butt scooting is a sign of impacted anal glands that need to be “expressed”.
You can take your bulldog to the vet or you can remedy this yourself.

Warning: there can be an unpleasant smell associated with this procedure.

If you attempt this yourself and she shows any signs of pain be sure to call
your vet to have it done.

Anal glands are small glands to the left and right and just below a dog’s anus.
They normally secrete a little fluid onto the stools when she defecates.
They can become impacted and uncomfortable for your dog, so she tries to
relieve this discomfort by scooting across the carpet.

There are two ways you can do this yourself.

First put warm water on a washcloth and clean the anus area.
Put on latex gloves. Hold a tissue outside the anus to collect
the fluid that’s “expressed”.

Method #1:
Press the sides of the anal gland together by squeezing with your thumb
and forefinger. You may have to try a few angles on the gland to get to it.
You can use moderate pressure. You will know it’s worked when a foul
smelling brownish fluid comes out the anus.

Repeat for both sides.

Method #2:
Lubricate your gloved finger with vaseline.
Put your finger inside your dog’s anus and with your thumb on the outside,
squeeze the gland by drawing your thumb and finger towards the anus.

Repeat for both sides.

Here is a website with an illustration of where the glands are located
and instructions on this procedure:

The anal glands normally express themselves with the movement of the
stools in your dog’s intestines.

There are a couple things you can do to try to prevent this from occurring again.

Be sure there’s enough fiber in your bulldog’s diet. Oat bran and flax and
raw vegetables such as carrots are good sources. Check the fiber
percentage on her food – you may want to switch to a food with higher fiber content.

Regular exercise is good to keep things moving and it’s good for her heart

Your Bulldog Pal,



Healthy Additions To Dog Biscuit Recipe

Hi James,

Flax seed is really good for your bulldog.  It is a great source
of Omega 3’s.  And you are correct to crush it (or pulverize it
in a blender) – the whole seeds would just pass through his
system.  Whole flax seed should be stored in a tight container
in your refrigerator.  If ground or liquid it doesn’t keep very long.

Garlic is really good for him too.  It’s a natural immune booster.
You could also replace the wheat flour with spelt or oatmeal
flour in the recipe.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Dog Bones – Are they good for your bulldog?

Hi Jan,

I’m writing you to ask about lamb bones called
Lamb Trotters. Brutus loves to chew, we had him
chewing on a mega busy bone, which lasted a long time
and he seemed to enjoy. But in our attempts to
completely switch him over to a all natural diet. We
started looking for a natural chew that would seem to
last. I came across these Lamb Trotters (lamb seems to
agree well with Bru, and he loves it) Have you had any
experience with these lamb bones? Any feedback would
be greatly appreciated. I have heard both positives
and negatives as you usually do while researching most
anything. We do respect your opinion. Thanks again.


Hi James,

I am not familiar with Lamb Trotters, but I’m assuming they are
boiled and then covered with something tasty.  The main problem
with giving your dog cooked bones is that they are very hard and
your dog can wear down his teeth scraping them across the bones.

My bulldog Vivy actually filed down her canines by about an eighth
of an inch working on the large white leg bones.

The other danger is cooked bones can splinter into small pieces,
which your dog could then swallow.  The english bulldog has such
a powerful jaw that they can easily crush a bone.

I don’t know if these bones are cooked this way, so keep an eye on
Brutus and see what he does with them.

Raw bones would be better because they are not hardened the way
the cooked ones are.  Of course, they are pretty messy and stinky!

Your Bulldog Pal,


More on Dog Food Choices for an Allergic Bulldog

Hiya Jan,

We saw Archies Christmas video, very cute, thanks. As in a previous email I sent, my wife and I have been researching premium dry kibble. We pretty much have decided on Wellness. It is readily avaliable and Old Mother Hubbard sends $5.00 coupons when requested. The only thing that concerns me about Wellness is thier using Rye flour as 1 of the ingrediants. Could you give me your input about this. We were thinking that a 100% grain free food would be best for Brutus due to skin alergys. I dont know if Rye flour is good, bad or indifferant. We have Bru on Eukanuba Medium Puppy and want to switch him to Wellness but we’re not 100% yet. Any comments or feedback you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again, you are very much appreciated in all that you do to better the breed.

From our Family to Yours … We Wish You The Very Best During this Holiday Season. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Thanks Again,
James, Patty and Bru


Hi James,

Wellness is one of the best foods out there.  It was rated the top dog food by The Whole Dog Journal.  It’s ultimately a matter of the individual dog’s response to the food, but I don’t have a problem with rye (especially since it’s so far down on the list of ingredients), it’s the wheat that’s usually a problem.

Wellness does make a new grain-free formula called Core:

Personally I don’t think grains are bad for a dog, you just don’t want wheat and you don’t want grains to be the first ingredient, you want the first ingredient to be a protein source.  The Wellness Super 5 is a really terrific food, but I can’t give it to Archie because it is too rich for him and he gets soft stools.  Maybe when he’s older.

Let me know what you decide.


Hiya Jan,

I’m sorry to keep bothering you. I really do
appreciate your time and input. Wellness is the food
we plan on going with. In your opinion and considering
our Brutus having sensitive skin issues. We were
looking at the Wellness Fish & Sweet Potato and The
Lamb Super 5 Mix. Which of these 2 do you think would
be better for Bru keeping his skin issues in mind?

Also I’m using my yahoo to send emails because my
bellsouth addy is recieving incoming mail but having
problems with my outgoing.

Once again thank you so much for your opinions and
time. We tell all our bully lovin friends about ya.

James & Patty


Hi James,

My preference on those two would be the lamb Super 5.
The Fish and Sweet Potato is great too but the fish can
cause problems in a dog with food allergies.

The primary food allergens are beef, soy, chicken, and fish
in that order.  Lamb seems to be the safest choice, and
Wellness only uses New Zealand lamb which is raise far
more naturally than lamb in the US.

Your Bulldog Pal,



50 lb Bulldog Puppy – How Big Will He Get?

Hiya Jan,

James here …. wanting to ask you if you heard of this food. >>> Life’s
Abundance Premium Health Food For Puppies & Adult Dogs. I have been doing
research on a premium kibble for our Brutus when we are ready to take him
off puppy food. He is eating Eukanuba Med. Puppy after having some issues
with other puppy foods, we went with what the breeder was using and he is
doing great on it. Also what age do you recommend switching from puppy to
adult food. Brutus is 7 months and 50 pounds. He is in good shape and
exercises daily. I want to make sure we are able to maximize his gowth
potential in his chest and head. Let me know your suggestions and opinions.
Thanks alot.


I enclosed a picture of Brutus, in your opinion should he get bigger in
height & width ?


Hi James,

Thanks for sending the photo of Brutus. He is a very handsome bulldog!
He probably won’t get any bigger in height but he will fill out his width until
he’s a year and a half. Exercise is good because it will build up his muscles.

You can keep him on puppy food for a year. It generally has more
fats and protein for his growing body. So keep him on it for maximum

I have not heard of Life’s Abundance but just did a quick check of the
ingredients. The first ingredient is chicken, so if Brutus is ok with
chicken it looks good. Many dogs are allergic to chicken (my Archie

Eukanuba med is lamb and rice. So you might look into another lamb
and rice formula like Canidae or California Natural if he has food allergies.
Those are what I feed Archie, mixed with a little Wellness or California
Natural canned food.

Here’s a post on food allergies on my blog:

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

Your Bulldog Pal,


Bulldog Interdigital Cysts (growths between the toes)

I haven’t gotten the book yet but I am anxious to know about some problems that my bulldog has. One thing is he has small growths or blisters between his toes on front feet only that do not seem to hurt him but the sometimes burst and bleed a little, and he cleans them up and they seem to subside for a while. Very strange.

Hi Fred
Those growths between his toes are called interdigital cysts. They so seem to have a higher incidence in bulldogs, probably because of their inbreeding. Nobody really knows what causes them, some people think it’s a fungus and some think it’s an ingrown hair. They usually clear up on their own and I am of the opinion they should not be punctured because that can lead to infection. And I wouldn’t go the antibiotic route because I think it not necessary unless there is an infection.

Here is a discussion thread from bulldog owners and breeders on how they treat them:

As for the cysts, I have used part of the process you’ve included: we
usually soak the affected paw in Epsom salts water. I don’t worry about
applying Panalog or other creams unless the vet has recommended it.
Generally with a cyst or any lesion on the paw that I am just starting to
treat, I just start with soaks. That way I clean the foot and can get a
really good look, and Epsom salts helps to soften and start the lesion
draining if it needs to. If it’s a cyst, is there a need for Panalog or
other anti-bacterial (antibiotic) ointments or creams? Not necessarily, only if it’s infected. So, if draining it and/or keeping it clean is enough, then why bring in antibiotics and tinker with resistance and such? If pus drains, then I do use ointment, usually triple antibiotic or Bacitracin. Like you, if soaks (with or without ointment) don’t work in 2-4 days, or if it worsens, it’s off to the vet we go!



What I have found is that many cysts are caused by ingrown hair. I
soak the affected food in Epson salts for about 5 minutes. When drying the paw if you look on the underneath side of the foot between the pads on the toe that is effected you will probably see an area that appears to have a black head. You can usually use a tweezers and pull the hairs out without causing your pet much discomfort. This has always worked on my dogs.


a long coarse of antibiotics usually cephalexin. and give it some time. i
have two that got cysts between the toes and used antibiotics 1 dogs went
away and hasnt come back… the other girls cyst has been back several times
now i dont even put her on antibiotics anymore, i keep it clean use panalog
oint and basically just keep popping the cyst to drain it and within a week
it starts to go away her last cyst i did this and it hasnt been back in over
a year. i am a technician at a vet clinic and ive seen surgeries removing
these cysts and 90% of them ive seen return anyway after several surgeries
and alot of money it is very hard to get all of the stalk inbetween the
toes so you often get regrowth any way…

well thats my 2 cents



There are as many interdigital cyst remedies as there are Bulldoggers.
I think the cysts have multiple causes including fungus advancing to
infection as the cyst develops.

Along that reasoning, I use a Nolvasan Surgical Scrub solution; 5%
Surgical Scrub, 95% water, applied with a spray bottle and massaged onto the
affected area. I apply twice daily and I’ve never had it last more than three

Nolvasan Surgical Scrub is a bit pricey,perhaps $55.00/Gallon, but a
gallon will last a lifetime (Or more) It’s very effective for hot spots and
simple skin problems. Most importantly, It’s an anti-bacterial agent and an
effective fungicide, not an anti-biotic. A simple solution for a complex problem.



I agree with Walt’s solution –

That’s a great idea

I also use a home made concoction we fondly call “Oden’s Foot” It is 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% water – you boil the water and ad 2 heaping tablespoons of salt till it dissolves. Let is cool a bit then mix with the alcohol put in a sprayer bottle and spray several times a day –

this dries up themoisture and the cyst – this is a people remedy given my son when he had severe fungal infections of the toe nails – it works great you just need to be consistent and spray frequently

Kathy J

And here are some links to more information and photos on the topic:

Your Bulldog Pal,

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