Poisonous Foods and Plants

It’s always good to be reminded of what food dangers lurk in your kitchen that could make your dog seriously ill.  We are familiar with a lot of them like chocolate and sugar-free gum (for the artificial sweetener xylitol), and grapes.  But there are more.

Onions, parts of apples (seeds, stems, leaves), bread dough! and more.

And if you have a puppy, be extra vigilant as they tend to chew on everything.

Here’s the entire article:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away — unless you’re a dog or cat, in which case a crunchy Golden Delicious can prove poisonous! Lots of “people food” and pretty plants can have harmful, even fatal effects on our furry friends. Keep them safe with this checklist of natural toxins; you might be surprised at what you find.

FOODS
Apples: All the non-meat parts of an apple — the stem, leaves, and seeds — contain cyanide, which is poisonous to animals and humans.

Avocado: Avocadoes contain persin, a toxic fatty-acid derivative that can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory distress, fluid around the heart, and even death. All species — domesticated animals, cattle, even fish — are susceptible, so keep the guac well out of reach of your pets.

Baby food containing onion or garlic: Baby food is often recommended for ill felines; Layla Morgan Wilde, cat behavior guru and founder of the Annex Cat Rescue, notes that it’s “excellent for cats that have lost their appetite, but check the ingredient labels” first to make sure no onions lurk within.

Bread dough: Cindy Wenger, animal communicator, comments that “a little bit of bread dough can cause a big problem.” Why? “A dog’s stomach creates the perfect warm environment to allow bread dough to do what it does best, and that’s rise,” Wenger says. “Bread dough can quickly expand in a dog or cat’s stomach, causing it to distend beyond its capacity, cutting off its blood supply.” On top of that, fermenting yeast can produce ethanol; once that’s absorbed into the bloodstream, your pet may appear uncoordinated and disoriented. (Drunk, in other words. Not good.)

Chocolate: Large amounts cause stomach cramping and vomiting in dogs and cats. (Keep in mind too that, for a cat or small dog, a couple of mini Special Dark bars is a large amount relative to their size.)

Grapes/raisins: It’s unclear how many grapes or raisins your pet would need to eat to cause kidney failure — some sources think it could take as few as four — but why risk it?

Mushrooms: All kinds — not just the sketchy-looking ones in your back yard — are poisonous to dogs.

Nuts: Macadamias and walnuts contain a toxin that affects the digestive and nervous systems of dogs, and could cause seizures.

Onions: In raw or cooked form, onions — and their cousins, like chives and leeks — are toxic to cats and dogs. They contain thiosulphate, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and shortness of breath in pets. What’s worse, says pet expert Steven May of The Daily Growl, “Typically the symptoms won’t show up for a day or two.” May recommends taking your pet to the vet right away if you think she’s eaten onions; better safe than sorry.

Sugar-free gum and mints: Sugar-free snacks and candy sometimes contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s the enemy of your dog’s liver.

PLANTS
Aloe: A wonderful topical treatment for humans, it’s bad for cats and dogs.

Baby’s breath: Also poisonous to cats and dogs. Keep bouquets out of pets’ reach, or just pull this “filler flower” altogether before putting flowers in a vase.

Bulbs: Including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Carnations.

Chamomile: Toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

Grass: “But my dog/cat eats grass all the time! It’s what dogs/cats do!” And usually it’s fine — unless, says Wilde, “it’s sprayed with pesticides.” Natural grass is okay, she says. But if you don’t know what the lawn guy put on the grass, don’t let your pets nibble it.

Hyacinths: Not just the bulbs; the rest of the plant is poisonous as well.

Hydrangea.

Lilies: Bruce Silverman, VMD of Chicago, IL deems lilies “probably the most common natural toxin I see ingested by cats.” Lilies “are toxic to a cat’s kidneys after a cat licks or chews on any part of the plant or flower,” Silverman says, and the cat will need IV fluids and other professional care “to try to get the kidneys back into healthy condition.”

Poinsettias: Now that the holidays are over, poinsettias pose less of a danger, but some folks do replant them outdoors.

OTHER OUTDOOR AGENTS
Insects: Often harmless, but Dr. Silverman relates a funny story about dogs and cicadas: “A few years ago half the dogs in the Chicago metro area went crazy scarfing down cicadas during their 13-year-cycle. Between the diarrhea and vomiting, and the twisted ankles from all the dogs jumping into the air to catch the cicadas mid-flight, the veterinary community had its hands full.” The occasional moth shouldn’t be a problem, but if your pet is snacking on a pile of bugs — or you live in an area with poisonous spiders — keep an eye on any bug snacking.

Rock salt: De-icing salt can cause burning and cracking to paws. If it gets stuck between your pet’s toes and he licks his feet to work it loose, it could irritate his stomach. If your pets go outdoors (and cats generally shouldn’t), add a quick paw rinse to your wintertime post-walk routine, and check the animal’s feet to make sure uncomfortable boluses of salt or dirt haven’t gotten trapped.

COFFEE, BOOZE, AND CIGARETTES
Alcohol: “Some people think it’s cute or funny for a pet to drink, i.e. a beer, not realizing alcohol is toxic to both cats and dogs,” Wilde says.

Caffeine: Could cause collapse and seizures, among other symptoms, in pets.

Nicotine: Smoking kills — secondhand smoke is bad for pets, too — and nicotine in any form, whether cigarettes, patches, or gum, can cause heart and respiratory failure in pets.

MEDICINES
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, prescription drugs, and medications intended for use by humans should never be given to pets. Topical preparations for humans — sunscreen; bug repellent; rubbing alcohol, e.g. — should also be kept well out of their reach.

And drugs and medicines that are intended for your furry friends should be administered as directed. Do not borrow prescriptions from friends, or freelance the dosage; do as your vet advises, and if you aren’t sure how to give a medication, call and ask.

SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR
Excessive thirst
Lethargy
Panting or shallow breathing
Seizures
Vomiting/diarrhea

If your pet doesn’t display these symptoms, but you saw the cat nibbling a daffodil or the dog is behaving oddly after digging in the trash, don’t take chances. Call your vet, an emergency-care clinic, or an animal poison-control hotline right away.

original article here

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Want to Keep Your Bulldog Around Forever?

Warm Hearts and Freeze-Dried Pets

It looks like now we can keep our beloved pets forever.  There appears to be a growing industry specializing in the preservation of our “best friends” by freeze drying them.

And there is an entire tv show on Animal Planet called ‘American Stuffers’ devoted to the subject:

while taxidermy is merely fascinating, pet preservation, as the practice of memorializing pets by freeze-drying them is more delicately described, makes for truly riveting television. What a narrative: there are the grieving owners, invariably in tears; the stricken animal (frozen, not in the rictus of death, but in actuality, as Mr. Ross asks that deceased pets be kept chilled until they are brought to him); and the epic life story of each pet (like Chatters, the 40-pound raccoon, who gnawed cabinetry and snuggled in bed, or Sam, the bad-tempered Chihuahua, who ate toenail clippings).

Then, months later, because freeze drying takes time (up to six months for large animals like dogs, though the show telescopes that process into minutes), there is the spectacular reveal, as Mr. Ross, a former auto body specialist, presents his deft handiwork: the pet, revivified. (Well, almost.)

“Freeze-drying love,” as the show’s teaser promises. “One pet at a time.”

It seems to me that most of the attachment to my bulldogs is their personality, the way they come up to greet me, the click click click on the hardwood floor.  But some of us may want to just keep what’s left of them around forever.

You can read the entire article here: ‘American Stuffers’ Family – Warm Hearts and Freeze-Dried Pets – NYTimes.com.

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Genetics of the Bulldog Reveal Surprising Relatives

Recent advancements in genetic testing have revealed which dog breeds are closely related.  It is well known historical theory that the Bulldog was bred from the Mastiff.  Early illustrations of fierce Bulldogs reveal their similarity to the Mastiff.  When bull baiting was banned in England the Bulldog almost disappeared.  Fortunately for us the breed was saved and the present day incarnation was formed.

Early bull baiting bulldogs

Bulldog Puppy from 1903

Bulldog Puppy 1903

Bulldogs Play with a Ball

Contemporary Bulldogs

We can thank Victorian England with it’s passion for dog shows as a favorite passtime for the revival of our breed. Now genetic testing has revealed the close proximity of the Bulldog not only to the Mastiff, Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, and Boxer as well as some surprises.  A portion of the study defines our group:

The new third cluster consisted primarily of breeds related in heritage and appearance to the Mastiff and is anchored by the Mastiff, Bulldog, and Boxer, along with their close relatives, the Bullmastiff, French Bulldog, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Perro de Presa Canario. Also included in the cluster are the Rot- tweiler, Newfoundland, and Bernese Mountain Dog, large breeds that are reported to have gained their size from ancient Mastiff-type an- cestors. Less expected is the inclusion of the German Shepherd Dog. The exact origins of this breed are unknown, but our results suggest that the years spent as a military and police dog in the presence of working dog types, such as the Boxer, are responsible for shaping the genetic background of this popular breed.

If you want to read the entire scientific study, go here.

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Why Does My Bulldog Have Long Ears?

JAN I ENJOY ALL YOUR EMAILS AND THEY ARE VERY INFORMATIVE BUT WHAT CAUSES THE BULLDOG TO HAVE LONGER EARS THAN MOST OR WHATS THE COMMON LENGTH AND BY THE WAY MERRY X MAS

Hi Rodney,

Merry Christmas to your family and Gracie

Interesting question.  The ears are longer because of the original breeding of various dogs to produce the Bulldog, including the Mastiff which was in the “working” group of dogs that have long ears to help them “stir up the scent” when they track.  The Bulldog was also bred from terriers which have short ears as they were bred for “ratting” and controlling vermin.

The modern Bulldog is between these two extremes and the Bulldog standard requires that “the ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear joining the outline of the skull at the top back corner of skull, so as to place them as wide apart, and as high, and as far from the eyes as possible. In size they should be small and thin. The shape termed “rose ear” is the most desirable. The rose ear folds inward at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. (The ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped.)

Your Bulldog Gracie may appear to have longer ears because they do not have the “rose ear” shape that stands half way up (my Archie has one floppy ear).  Some dogs come out this way, more like the Mastiff.

for more info on the Bulldog Standard, go to http://www.akc.org/breeds/bulldog/

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Bulldog Puppy Socialization

I get a lot of questions that relate to Bulldog puppy behavior. Some people are very protective of their puppies and I can understand why, given the high costs and numerous health risks. But it is very important to expose your bulldog puppy to other dogs and positive outside experiences so he or she will not be a fearful (think aggressive) adult. This is from the Whole Dog Journal newsletter, a great source of dog information.

Puppy Socialization

The best socialization programs begin while pups are still with their dams. A good breeder begins handling her pups gently and early, just as their eyes begin to open, giving them a positive association with human touch.

As they get a little older (5-6 weeks) they should start meeting more humans – all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes – who feed them treats and pet them gently. The breeder will need to supervise these interactions closely, as rough handling at this stage can have the opposite effect, teaching the pups that humans aren’t safe to be around.

The mother dog’s attitude is important at this stage, too. If she is aggressive toward humans, or even just stressed about her pups being handled, the pups can register her attitude and learn this inappropriate behavior. If Mom is calm and relaxed around humans, pups are more likely to be, too.

By the time a pup is weaned at 7 to 8 weeks, he should already have a positive worldview programmed into his little puppy brain. When you select your pup from a litter, whether you’re at a breeder’s home or a shelter – or picking one from a box of free puppies on a street corner – choose wisely.

Resist the temptation to rescue the pup who hides in the corner. Select, instead, the pup who is outgoing without being overbearing – the one who seems to have a cheerful, “Life is good!” attitude. Otherwise you risk finding yourself in the Peterson’s shoes, with an 11-month-old dog who is biting children in the face.

Okay, you’ve adopted a friendly pup with a sound temperament. Good for you! That doesn’t mean your job is done, however.

You must continue your pup’s socialization lessons assiduously until he is 16 weeks old, and then maintain his positive association to the world throughout his life. If you take an 8-week-old well-socialized pup and stick him in your backyard with no outside exposure, the odds are good that you will end up with a problem.

The health dilemma

Puppy owners are often counseled by their veterinarians to keep their baby dogs cloistered safely at home until they are fully immunized at age 4 to 6 months.

Looking at the situation purely from a physical health perspective, this makes good sense. You certainly don’t want to risk exposing your pup to nasty distemper or parvo bugs.

From a mental health perspective, however, it’s horrible advice. You only have two to three more months to give your pup an unshakable faith in the goodness of the world. You cannot afford to wait until those shots are done.

During this period, you want to give your pup at least 100 new positive exposures and experiences, to “vaccinate” him against the possibility that he will feel compelled to bite someone, someday. It’s not a guarantee against biting, but it’s by far your best chance of ending up with an adult dog who is friendly and safe.

Fear periods

At one time in the last several decades, much ado was made about a pup’s “critical fear periods.” Behaviorists attempted to pinpoint those periods of time in puppyhood during which a “bad experience” would scar a pup’s psyche for life.

More recently, we have come to realize that, although pups do seem to go through periods during which they are more fearful than others, that time can vary from one pup to the next. Rather than wrapping your pup in cotton wool for a designated period, it makes more sense to watch him closely and ensure that he has mostly good experiences, especially if he seems to be going through a cautious stage.

Even if something does frighten him, it’s not the end of the world – you can set up a counter-conditioning and desensitization (CC&D) program to restore a positive association with that particular stimulus, and your pup should recover nicely.

Lifetime socialization

Now your pup is 16 weeks old. You’ve reached the end of that magic socialization window, your “100 exposures” list is all checked off, and your pup loves the world. Are you done? Hardly.

Like your training efforts, which continue on into adulthood and throughout your dog’s entire life, you are never done with socialization. You’ve laid a very solid foundation; that’s something to be proud of.

Much of that will be lost, however, if you toss your four-month-old pup into the backyard and cease all exposure to humans and their complex society.

He still needs to meet and greet people, go places with you, and continue to share your world and your experiences, if you want him to continue to be the happy, friendly puppy he is today. And, of course, that’s what you want!

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Bulldog Health: Can the Bulldog Be Saved?

Given the current popularity of the English Bulldog (now in the top 6 most popular AKC breeds) and the short life span (6 years average) and immense health problems, is it right to keep breeding our beloved Bullies?

I have struggled with this question over the years because of the health issues my Bulldogs have had, how I see them suffer, and when I hear so many sad stories from my newsletter readers.

An in depth article in the New York Times Magazine goes into depth about the Bulldog breed, how the British have changed the standard to reduce some obvious health problems such as breathing and hip dysplasia.

Citing the University of Georgia Bulldogs, all named Uga, with their short life spans in the public eye, the article casts a dim view of some breeding practices.

Here are some excerpts:

The short lifespan.

Though there is no recent comprehensive study in this country comparing the life spans of different breeds, a 2010 British study published in The Journal of Small Animal Practice reported that the typical bulldog lives only slightly longer than six years. “The bulldog is unique for the sheer breadth of its health problems,”…

Why are they so popular?

“We have, to some extent, accentuated physical characteristics of the breed to make it look more human, although essentially more like caricatures of humans, and specifically of children,” he told me. “We’ve bred bulldogs for their flat face, big eyes, huge mouth in relation to head size and huge smiling face.”

On Bulldog breathing:

the human equivalent to breathing the way some bulldogs do “would be if we walked around with our mouth or nose closed and breathed through a straw.”

On the history of the breed:

Bulldogs get their name from their role in bull-baiting, arguably the most popular sport of the Elizabethan era…

Fighting bulldogs were leaner and higher off the ground than bulldogs today, and their muzzles were longer. They had smaller heads, fewer facial rolls and a long tail…

“Bulldogs today are not even a figment of what they used to be.”…

The bulldog might have disappeared into obscurity had 19th-century Victorian England not gone dog crazy…

the bulldog underwent a physical, temperamental and public-relations transformation.

On the uneducated owners of Bulldogs:


“A lot of people buy a breed like the bulldog without realizing just how compromised it is,” he said. “They also have no idea how to differentiate a ‘responsible’ breeder from an irresponsible one.”

I heard the same thing from Laurette Richin of the Long Island Bulldog Rescue. When she opened the doors to her rescue organization in 1999, Richin had 13 bulldogs that needed homes. Last year, she had 218. “This breed is so popular right now, and people fall in love with the dog’s face and buy it on impulse without doing their homework,” she said. “Then, when the dog ends up being too ‘needy’ or too expensive, people give them up.”

To read this compelling article on the Bulldog breed in it’s entirety:

Can the Bulldog Be Saved? – NYTimes.com.

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Natural Home Remedies For Fleas

I’d never heard of this simple remedy for fleas, but it’s certainly worth a try before subjecting your dog to strong chemicals.

To Eliminate Fleas

Try: Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. To kill fleas on dogs without using toxic chemicals, add a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid under running water to fill a sink or bathtub and give your dog a bath in the soapy solution. Work the lather into your pet’s coat and let it soak for more than 5 minutes. The soap penetrates the exoskeletons of fleas, killing them, and works more effectively than some prescribed flea shampoos.

Dog Health: Natural Home Remedies For Fleas | Prevention.com.

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What the Dogs Ate – X-Rays of Stuff in Dogs’ Stomachs

If you think your Bulldog won’t eat anything other than food, take a look at these x-rays of things dog ate from the annual contest called “They Ate What? 2011 X-ray Contest Winners” from Veterinary Practice News.  Bulldog lovers will like the last entry 😉

Pay attention to why the owners brought their dogs into the vet so you can learn some of the symptoms of your dog eating a foreign object.

I’m only showing the two Bulldog entries:

A 6-month-old bulldog, Tinkerbell, ate a training collar off another bulldog in their house.  The owners had no idea until she ate a second metal slip collar and then proceeded to become seriously ill.  Doctors were surprised to find two slip collars in her stomach.

And my personal favorite.

Prince Edward, a 9-year-old bulldog, ate his owner’s false teeth when he found them in a bowl that had ice cream in it. The teeth were returned to the owner and she is smiling again!

Bulldog that ate false teeth

To see the rest of the entries visit the Veterinary Practice News website

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Bulldog Vomiting Bile and Food

A French Bulldog owner contacted me concerning his health.  She did all her research into a good breeder
and it sounds like she had a very good one. But stuff can still happen.

We have been in contact with the breeder several times, and visited her house prior to the day we got to take him home. She also made a few surprise visits to our house to check on his progress.

I am still very concerned for his health however. He has been vomiting occasionally.  We have been keeping him on a diet of red meat or chicken necks and some dried food.

He usually eats twice a day, which we have recently changed to just dried food, a smaller meal in the morning and a larger portion at lunch time. We also give him an occasional “natures energy treats”. They are just a dried food treat, and he probably has 2 of these a day.

He will sometimes get up in the middle of the night to be sick (according to my son) and I will sometimes find vomit around the place, which appears to consist of bile. He has vomited entire meals up almost immediately after eating on occasion. He has been off and on his food recently, and he appears to have lost a little weight and his energy levels seem to be a little low, which I can only assume is from a lack of food. The dried food seems to suit him a lot better, and since we’ve switched to that he seems to be holding it down. We are trying to find meals that suit him, and if you could offer any advice, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance ,

Marisa

—-

Hi Marisa,

From your description it sounds like Jean-Baptiste may have a couple things going on: vomiting bile and one of the esophageal disorders that are fairly common in Bulldogs.

Since the French Bulldog is a dwarf English Bulldog there is a high probability of these disorders. A bulldog puppy vomiting yellow bile in the morning is fairly common and not usually cause for concern.  It happens because the dog hasn’t eaten for a while and stomach acids have accumulated overnight.  These acids irritate the stomach lining and cause him to vomit.

Try giving him an evening meal and see it this helps with this.

In my French Bulldog Health book I go into detail about the esophageal disorders. They sounds scary but there may be an easy fix.  First of all, there is a difference between vomiting and regurgitation. If your dog is simply throwing up food right after eating, food that has not been in the stomach, it is probably simple regurgitation from the esophagus (throat).

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

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

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

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

You can also feed him more frequently, smaller meals and see if he holds it down better.

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

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Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings- Beware

I recently saw an ad for “anesthesia-free dental cleaning” at my local dog specialty store here in Colorado and signed up because I fear putting my Bulldog Archie under for a dental cleaning.  He tolerated the procedure well but I have to say I was not that impressed with the cleaning.  And the cost was high: $155.

Today I read this!  And now I’m convinced it was not a wise decision.

I recently saw an ad posted on a billboard for a local feed supply company: Anesthesia Free Dentals $155. Two things struck me about this announcement:

1. The questionable legality of the procedure

2. The cost

Colorado (and most states as far as I’m aware) place dentistry under the classification of the practice of veterinary medicine. This means that only a licensed veterinarian, or a technician under the supervision of a veterinarian, can perform dental procedures on pets.

Posing as a “typical” dog owner, I called the feed supply company to ask a few questions and was given the name of the organization that provides this service for them. I looked up their website and learned that a veterinarian is on their staff, so if she were to be performing the procedures, they would be legal. The other employee that is listed underwent some training in anesthesia-free dental cleanings, but as far as I could tell was not a licensed veterinary technician. If she were to clean a pet’s teeth under the supervision of a vet, I think it would be legal (the language in the statute is kind of vague … the technician needs to be “trained” but I can’t find where he or she definitely needs to be “licensed.”) If she were to be treating dogs and cats without a veterinarian present, however, she would be on the wrong side of the law.

Even if these clinics are legal, they have questionable value to the pets that partake in them. The most important part of a dental cleaning is the removal of plaque and tartar from underneath the gums and the complete examination of the entire mouth (including probing for pockets underneath the gum line and even radiographs in many cases). While the website claims that their operators can clean underneath the gum line, I find it very hard to believe they can do this with any kind of thoroughness in an awake dog … to say nothing of an awake cat! The website makes no mention of probing and admits that they cannot take X-rays. Without these diagnostic tools, very serious diseases that “hide” under the gums will be missed.

Another concern is that dental instruments are sharp! I shudder to think of what might happen to a pet’s mouth if he or she were to move suddenly while a dental scaler was being used.

I am sure that a dog or cat’s teeth look better after one of these procedures, but I doubt that their mouths are actually much healthier. The website I looked at recommends that the anesthesia-free procedure be repeated every 3-12 months, depending on a pet’s condition. For a purely cosmetic procedure, $155 is a lot to spend that frequently. I think these pets would be better served if their owners saved the $155 and sprung for a real dental cleaning when they had enough in the bank.

Anesthesia is scary, I understand that. But, under most circumstances (even when pets are being managed for some types of chronic disease), it can be done very safely. Veterinarians can use nerve blocks so that the level of general anesthesia needed is actually very light, even if teeth need to be removed. This helps pets maintain good blood pressure, cardiac output, etc., and decreases the risk of complications.

If you want to talk to a dental specialist about your pet’s care, take a look at listing of board certified veterinary dentists provided on the American Veterinary Dental College’s website, or ask your primary care vet for a referral.

Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings | petMD.

Granted the cost of anesthesia cleaning is higher but it is much more thorough and vets are much more mindful of Bulldog issues now that the breed is so popular.  Next time I’ll just take Archie to my vet or to Fort Collins vet school.

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Bulldog Seizure Management

This article casts new light on an old problem of seizures in dogs.  Many Bulldogs display “head nodding” or “head bobbing” behavior that is usually just a phase and can be treated with a little glucose (see this post).

If your Bulldog has a seizure disorder it’s a different and painful process finding medications that work.  This article is a repost from Dr Jennifer Coates:

Do you have a dog or cat that has seizures? If you do and the problem is serious enough to warrant treatment, chances are you are giving your pet phenobarbital or potassium bromide, either alone or in combination. In the majority of cases phenobarbital and potassium bromide do a great job of reducing seizure frequency and severity to acceptable levels (at least with dogs; seizures in cats can be really bad news). Up until recently, however, pets that did not respond well to these medications were out of luck. Thankfully, that situation is changing.

First, a bit of background. A seizure is a symptom, not a disease in and of itself. Sometimes veterinarians can find an underlying cause for a pet’s seizures. Electrical activity in the brain may be disrupted by tumors, inflammatory diseases, infections, metabolic abnormalities, and more.

If this is the case, treatment should be aimed at the primary problem, although medications to control seizures may also be necessary for either the short or long term. If no underlying cause for a pet’s seizures can be found, he or she will be diagnosed with primary epilepsy, in which case seizure control (not eradication – this is rarely possible) is the main goal of treatment.

Phenobarbital and potassium bromide have long been, and still are, the go-to drugs for seizure control in veterinary medicine. But they don’t work well in all situations. The problems associated with the drugs typically fall into two categories:
1. Pets continue to have frequent and/or severe seizures despite having serum levels of these drugs that fall at the high end of the therapeutic range.

2. Pets have unacceptably severe side effects, typically sedation, ataxia (difficulty walking), increased appetite, thirst and urination, or pronounced elevations in liver enzymes.
When phenobarbital and potassium bromide are not suitable options, it is time to look to the newer drugs like felbamate, gabapentin, levetiracetam, pregabalin, topiramate, and zonisamide. These have the advantage of fewer side effects even when used at the relatively high doses that may be needed to control a pet’s seizures. They can be used alone or in conjunction with phenobarbital and potassium bromide, in which cases the doses of the older drugs can often be lowered dramatically, which reduces their adverse effects.

But don’t run out and ask your vet for a new prescription if your pet’s seizures are well-controlled on phenobarbital and/or potassium bromide. I strongly believe in the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, and most vets have so much experience with these older drugs that we know what problems to look for and how to deal with them if they arise. The same cannot be said with the newer medications that we are “borrowing” from the human medical community.

The newer meds are also more expensive than phenobarbital and potassium bromide. Thankfully, some are now available as generics, which puts them within financial reach for many more pet owners.

If your veterinarian is unfamiliar with or uncomfortable using these newer anti-seizure medications, ask whether a consultation with a veterinary neurologist might be in your pet’s best interests.

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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…..

Anita

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.

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Hives in Bulldog – What Do I Do?

Jan, I am enjoying your e-mails and love learning about my bully!  Last night he got hives, which he still has today.  I’m not sure if it was because of the terrible storms we’ve been having or if he found something old and disagreeable to eat in my teenager’s bedroom.  Do you have any thoughts on hives?

Thanks,

Carol

Hi Carol,

Hives are an allergic reaction that manifests in the skin.  They show up as small elevated areas that are warm and inflamed.  They usually appear quickly after contact and sometimes go away quickly when your dog is removed from the source.

Hives can be caused by contact with an allergen such as harsh chemicals in the carpet  or seasonal pollens from trees or grasses.  They can also be caused by food, insect bites, or medication.

It’s important to notice what your Bullie was doing before the incident.  If you can find the source you simply keep him away from it.  For example if his bed was washed in a new detergent that could be the source.  Only use “free and clear” laundry detergents.

For treatment you can give him a small dose of Benadryl (pink box, smallest dose – do not buy liquid).  This may clear it up.  If not you may need to take him to your vet for a cortisone shot if he has a really severe case.

You can also bathe him in cool water and oatmeal shampoo to remove any allergens that may be on his coat.  Do not use hot water as the hives are already ‘hot’ and this can aggravate them.

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Bulldog Puppy with Urinary Tract Infection

Hello Jan,

First of all, I would like to thank you very much for all the knowledge we’ve gain from your emails.

I thought of you because me and my girlfriend is having problems with our baby Basha. Since she was 3 months old we have been giving her CANIDAE (Grain-free Salmon). She’s now 8 months old.

We just found out she has an Urinary Tract problems, which causes her to urinate in her sleep. So our Vet prescribe her antibiotic and said we had to change her diet to Prescription Diet c/d.

I researched on the ingredients of that dog food which contains whole grain corn, chicken by-product, soymilk meal, corn gluten meal, soybean mill run, and soybean oil.

I’ve learned that all these are bad for any dogs especially for Bulldogs. I wanted to ask you before we consult with another vet. Shouldn’t there be other alternative diet for our baby.

Thank you for your kind help. Have a great day.

Ed

—-

Hi Ed,

Personally I don’t like those prescription diets and think their ingredients are not good for dogs long term.  Many vet schools are sponsored by Hills Science Diet and vets are trained to use these special diets.

Urinary Tract infections can call for reduced protein, some minerals and sodium. It’s possible that the grain free salmon was overloading her.  I’d just switch to a meat based diet like Prairie Lamb or Venison and see how she does.

It’s important that Basha be treated for this infection and once you start the antibiotics it’s advisable that you finish them.  You can add probiotics to her diet while she’s on them to help promote beneficial bacteria that antibiotics tend to kill with the bad.  Also you can add 1 Tbs of vinegar (I use Braggs raw unfiltered) to her water bowl when you fill it up and be sure the
water is fresh.  The vinegar helps neutralize ph and can prevent overgrowth of the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.

Bathe her ‘private’ area at lease once a week in mild soap to keep bacteria from proliferating, walk her a couple times a day to encourage her to pee which will also prevent bacterial build up.

your bulldog pal,
Jan

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A Bulldog Easter – Who is the Real Easter Bunny???

Bulldog Archie reveals the real Easter Bunny!

Happy Easter to all Bulldog lovers!!

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Bulldogs: “Notorious Droolers” ??!!!

I found this post on the vpi website under the pet breeds section.  “Notorious Droolers”??? where’d they get that idea?  I’ve never had a bulldog who drooled, except Archie who turns into a fountain when he smells me open the peanut butter jar!  Anyway, the rest of the description is good and the photos are really cute.


Bulldogs

Notorious Droolers are Family Favorites

Bulldogs make an immediate impression. With a large head, shortened muzzle, undershot jaw and a strong, square build, bulldogs appear formidable.

Don’t be fooled. These drooling, heavy breathers are softies at heart and are one of the most popular canine companion choices in America. They are also on the AKC’s top 10 most-wanted dog breeds list year after year.

Bulldog History

Descended from the mastiff breed, the bulldog was bred to guard, control and bait bulls during the Middle Ages, using its wide lower jaw to clamp on to the bull’s nose like a vise. The bulldog’s short muzzle allowed the dog to continue breathing while clinging to the bull.

The bulldog is known to be dominant and courageous, with a seemingly high tolerance to pain, characteristics of which have been attributed to the breed’s fighting dog ancestry.

Bulldogs are Family Dogs

Bulldogs also have a gentle and patient nature, making them ideal family pets that notably behave well with children and other pets.

They rarely whine and usually bark only when there is a good reason to do so. While bulldogs are not very demanding by nature, they can be stubborn and will often not complain if they are injured, ill, suffering from thirst, hunger or cold.

As a result, bulldogs require attentive owners who can properly take care of them.

Chewing can be pronounced in bulldogs, so training is essential to curb this behavior.

Bulldog Behavior

Known as perpetual puppies, bulldogs reach maturity by 36 months of age, as compared to the average 12 to 18 months in most dog breeds. Although they may be particularly needy as puppies, don’t worry; bulldogs mature into calm adults.

Case in point: Bulldogs prefer to spend their days lounging as much as possible. You may never convince a bulldog to enjoy outdoor sports; a bulldog would rather exercise his jaws chewing on foreign objects. Chewing can be pronounced in bulldogs, so training is essential to curb this behavior.

Bulldog Breeds

There are a variety of bulldog breeds, although they share similar characteristics and health conditions:

  • Alapaha Blue Blood bulldog
  • American bulldog
  • Aussie bulldog
  • Banter Bulldogge
  • Buldoque Campeiro
  • Ca de Bou
  • Catahoula bulldog
  • Dorset Olde Tyme bulldog
  • English bulldog
  • French bulldog
  • Olde English Bulldogge
  • Olde Boston Bulldogge
  • Victorian bulldog
  • Valley bulldog

Common Bulldog Medical Conditions

While these may be common medical conditions, your bulldog will not necessarily develop any of those listed below.

  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature variations and difficulty breathing in hot temperatures due to a shorter muzzle. Good ventilation and air conditioning are essential with this breed.
  • Skin infections, hip and knee problems.
  • Abnormal dentition placement, number and development of teeth.
  • Brachycephalic upper-airway syndrome: Signs are noisy or open-mouth breathing, snoroing, panting, exercise intolerance, vomiting and difficulty eating. An exaggerated movement of the dog’s abdomen during breathing is commonly seen in more severely affected animals.
  • Distichiasis: This occurs when eyelashes grow in the wrong spot and cause an eye irritation even to the point of scarred corneas. Treatment options your veterinarian can offer include manual removal, electrolysis, electrocautery, cryotherapy and surgery.

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your particular four-legged friend.

bulldogbreed

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Finding a Healthy Bulldog Puppy

6 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Bulldog Puppy

1.  Don’t ever buy a Bulldog puppy from a pet store. The Bulldog’s popularity means he’s often found in pet stores, puppy mills and in the hands of people more interested in the thousands of dollars a Bulldog puppy commands than the well-being of the dogs themselves. The lucrative trade in Bulldogs has even interested international crime syndicates, and some puppies advertised as “locally bred” may have in fact been imported from overseas puppy mills.

2.  Look for a good, reliable Bulldog breeder. While the Bulldog Club of America is usually a good place to find a responsible breeder, the traits that make a Bulldog a show ring success are the very ones that lead to many of the health problems common in the breed. Look for a breeder who abides by the club’s Code of Ethics and seek out one whose dogs are active in agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.

3.  Don’t fall for a bad breeder’s lies. Many breeders who have no motive other than profit will try to take advantage of people seeking a healthier Bulldog. These breeders seem too good to be true – because they are. They will brag that they’re trying to breed an “original” or “genetically improved” Bulldog, so don’t be fooled.

4.  Ask your breeder for the the results of genetic screening tests. Those include testing for the spine, hips, elbows, knees, thyroid, hearing and heart from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), and for eyes from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF).

5.  Puppy or adult, take your Bulldog to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

6.  Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

via Finding a Healthy Bulldog by Embrace Pet Insurance.

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Want a Bulldog? Know the Genetic Health Risks First!

Bulldogs have many genetic conditions that may plague them over their lives.  And if you get insurance they will not be covered.  So know what you’re getting into before you purchase a Bulldog.  And be very careful where you get your Bulldog.

Health Issues Common to Bulldogs

Bulldogs’ hips and spines are often malformed, as are their mouths. They suffer from a long list of respiratory ailments. Their many wrinkles and folds, and tightly curled tails, mean lots of skin infections. Cherry eye, inverted eyelids, cataracts and dry eye are just a few of the eye abnormalities that can affect the Bulldog.

Many conditions have no screening tests, even though they’re known or believed to be genetic. These include seizure disorders, allergies and skin problems, several kinds of bladder stone, a long list of airway defects, birth defects, infertility and cancer, and more. Bulldogs are also at high risk for “bloat and torsion,” where the stomach twists on itself, trapping air inside, and requiring immediate emergency surgery.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat

Pulmonic Stenosis

High $1,000-$7,000

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

High $1,500-$7,500

Elbow Dysplasia High $1,500-$4,000

Aortic Stenosis Medium $500-$1,500

Colitis High $500-$3,000

Entropion High $300-$1,500

Deafness High $100-$300

Fold Dermatitis Very High $300-$2,500

via Finding a Healthy Bulldog by Embrace Pet Insurance.

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Blue Gene Bulldogs – Good Color or Not?

jan do you know of any books or info about blue genes in bulldogs?

the only thing I know is the “blue genes” are recessive ‘d’ genes that when
combined will produce a bluish color instead of black. They are more common
in French Bulldogs where breeders try to hype them up.  They are not up to
the French Bulldog Club of America standards and cannot be shown.  Some
breeders are now touting them as special.
I do not know of any English Bulldogs with these genes but if there are,
they are not a normal genetic make up and not a breed standard.
Read this update for the truth about certain breeders
Here’s what the French Bulldog Club of America has to say about blue genes:

COLOR AND THE FRENCH BULLDOG BREED STANDARD

The Constitution of The French Bull Dog Club of America says: “The objects of the club shall be . . . to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which French Bulldogs shall be judged

Our Standard has included basically the same color requirements and disqualifications since they were added in 1911. During the intervening 97 years, it has listed the following as disqualifications: solid black, black and white, black and tan, liver and mouse color. In the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) Standard, the term “mouse grey” is used (Mausgrau in German, gris souris in French). Since our color disqualifications were added the same year that a Conference of French Bull Dog Clubs of Europe, at which our club participated, developed the European countries’ standard, it is clear that the “mouse” in the US Standard referred to the mouse-grey coat color shown by dogs expressing the recessive “blue dilution” (D/d) gene.

The genetics of canine coat color is complicated because there are several genetic loci involved, some of which control the color and intensity of the pigments, and some of which control the pattern of distribution of these colors.

Briefly, there are two types of pigment in dogs— a light pigment (phaeomelanin) which may range from reddish through yellow to pale cream; and a dark pigment (eumelanin) which is either black or brown. French bulldogs should carry only the gene for the black type of dark pigment and therefore should have only black noses, lips and paw pads. Brown pigment in the coat or nose/lips/pads is unacceptable (and is the “liver” that our Standard deems a disqualification; it is also a DQ by the FCI standard). The light pigment gives rise to a range of fawn coat colors — all phaeomelanin, but in various degrees of concentration to produce the range of pigmentation from red through fawn to cream. Some fawn Frenchies have a black mask, which is a recognized and acceptable coat.

There is a “pattern” genetic locus that gives rise to brindle coats. Brindle Frenchies have a base coat of fawn hairs through which black hairs extend in bands to produce a coat ranging from a “tiger” brindle in which the fawn hairs predominate, to the more common dark brindles in which the black hairs predominate. In some of the latter, the black hairs are so numerous that there may be only a small number of fawn hairs arranged in one or more bands. Our standard refers to “a trace of brindle,” which should have enough fawn hairs to demonstrate this pattern. There is no such thing as a “brindle hair” since brindle is a pattern consisting of a mixture of black hairs and fawn hairs.

Another ‘pattern” gene produces pied (piebald) in which the coat is white with

pigmented patches most commonly located on the head, tail base, and “saddle”. The pigmented patches may be either fawn or brindle, but in a brindle pied dog there must be enough fawn hairs visible in at least one of the pigmented patches to provide the brindle pattern, so that it is not the disqualified “white with black.”

Another pattern gene gives rise to black-and-tan (black with tan points), also a disqualification in both the US and the FCI standard. While there have been some black and tan Frenchies, these are rarely seen.

The color that has become more widespread in recent years, and which some are promoting as “rare,” is the “blue” coloration caused by the recessive gene called “Blue Dilution” (D/d). This gene can act on both the dark (black or brown) and light (red to yellow) pigments.

In a brindle or a brindle pied dog, what should be black hairs (as well as black pigment on the nose, and paws) is a slatey blue-grey color. In a fawn or fawn pied (white with fawn markings) dog, the fawn hairs are a silvery fawn and the nose, the dark mask (if there is one) and paw pads are slatey blue-grey. Any French Bulldog that has mouse colored hair – whether on a brindle or a fawn dog – should be disqualified as mouse. The coat color constitutes a disqualification – as does the nose color.

Although some people find blue Frenchies attractive, neither they nor their offspring should be sold for show or for breeding, as they all carry a disqualifying genetic fault. If a blue dog (d/d, with two copies of the recessive “blue gene”) is bred to another blue (d/d), all of the resulting puppies will also be blue (d/d). If a blue dog (d/d) is bred to a non-blue who is NOT a carrier of the blue gene (D/D), ALL of the puppies will be carriers of, but will not express, the blue gene (D/d). If a carrier of the blue gene (D/d), is bred to a non-carrier (D/D), 1/2 of the puppies will be normal non-carriers (D/D) and 1/2 will be carriers (D/d). If two carriers are bred together (D/d X D/d), 1/4 of the puppies will be blue (d/d), 1/2 will be carriers (D/d), and 1/4 will be normal non-carriers (D/D).

Some people mistakenly believe that even though a dog may have a blue dog in its ancestry, that if no blues have been produced in several generations that means that their dog can’t be carrying the blue gene. This is wrong. It is not like mixing paint in a bucket, progressively diluting out the undesirable gene. A recessive gene will keep passing hidden and unchanged through an infinite number of generations of carriers. The insidious thing about a recessive gene is that carriers pass the gene on to about 1/2 of their offspring, producing another generation of carriers; then those carriers pass it on to 1/2 of their offspring, and so forth, so that the gene spreads unnoticed through the gene pool as people unaware of an affected ancestor breed its descendents. It will only surface when a carrier is bred to another carrier (or to a blue), which happens when people do

linebreeding. This is one of the beneficial things about linebreeding; it exposes the presence of undesirable recessive genes in a line, so that responsible breeders can undertake to eliminate them.

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Does Your Bulldog Eat Stuff Like Cardboard?

Pica is a term used to describe a dog’s behavior of eating things that are not really nutritious.  I call my Bulldog Archie the “napkin thief” because he loves to snatch and eat napkins and tissues.  He will also tear a cardboard box to shreds but he doesn’t really eat it like some dogs would.


Pica was first used as a term for a perverted craving for substances unfit to be used as food by Ambrose Paré (1509-1590). Pica is the medieval Latin name for the bird called the magpie, who, it is claimed, has a penchant for eating almost anything. When we say a child is suffering from pica, we are really calling him a magpie.

No one is quite sure why dogs do this and there is lots of speculation. Unfortunately our four legged friends can’t tell us why they do it.

Dr Khuly has some advise for pet owners whose dogs like to consume cardboard, paper napkins, tissue and other oddities.

So what’s a veterinarian (or pediatrician) to do?

In Slumdog’s case, as for most of my patients, the issue comes down to several major points of order:

1. Is the animal receiving appropriate nutrition (calories and nutrients)?

2. Is the animal suffering from any discernible biological imbalance?

3. Is the animal allowed sufficient opportunities to display normal chewing behavior?

4. Does the animal display any other behavioral abnormalities that might be relevant to this one?

5. Is the animal’s health threatened by this behavior?

The approach here is to rule out other conditions — especially those that have a discreet treatment pathway — and when none are identified, to decide between the following options: (a) stop the behavior at all costs; or (b) ignore it.

In Slumdog’s case the penchant for paper has rarely proved dangerous. Though I do my best to keep bathroom doors closed and paper napkins from hitting the floor, paper products will invariably go astray in a household whose thirteen-year-old member hasn’t yet acquired an adult sense of responsibility in these matters.

You can read the entire post here:
Pica: The funny little word for a potentially serious pet behavior problem | PetMD.

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