Can I Have a Pond In the Yard if I Have a Bulldog?

Hi Jan,

I have a question is it possible to have a bulldog with a water pond inthe back yard??? or is it to ricky to have the bulldog in a house that has a water pond???


Hey Laura,

You can have a pond if it’s not deep enough that your bulldog
cannot stand up.  Bulldogs cannot swim and if the water is too
deep, if he fell in you would risk losing him.

You can put a barrier around it to keep him from falling in, just
as one would do with a swimming pool.  Or be sure that you
are out there with him but that has some risk as well if he gets
outside when you’re not looking, gets intrigued by something
in the water, and decides to go in after it.

Best to keep it shallow or inaccessible.

your bulldog pal,


Should I Amputate My Bulldog’s Tail To Keep It Clean?


I’m thinking about having my bulldog’s tail amputated, because I think
it would be easier to keep clean and free of infection.  Do you know if
this is routine, and roughly how much something like this should cost?

Thank You


Hi Nick,

This is not routine although some people would make you think so
(along with palate surgery).  The bulldog has an inverted or screw tail,
meaning that part of it is inside his body, which is why it is so short
and called inverted.  Sometimes this causes deep folds where it
emerges and can be a challenge to keep clean.

What a lot of people do not understand is that this may seem like
a simple surgery, it can have complications and some dogs die
after surgery.

The tail is part of the spine which is an extremely sensitive area
in terms of surgery.

So I would not recommend tail amputation unless your bulldog has
chronic infections in the tail area or if he has part of the tail bone
emerging in a raw wound that abscesses, and the pocket is so
deep that it is not cleanable.

A far better alternative would be to keep the tail pocket clean and
dry.  It is moisture (often from bathing your bulldog) that causes
the yeast and smell.  If the tail is kept dry, in most cases little
cleaning is required.

Here is a good description of how to clean a tail pocket by a bulldog

You have a bulldog with a deep set, tight “cork” screw tail.  It is a built in recessed chamber that is constantly damp, moist with bacteria and yeast that can cause skin irritations and infections.

I have seen plenty of these over the years with my bullies.  My recommendation is to clean it daily with warm water on a soft wash cloth and mild soap; rinse (damp cloth) with warm water; then carefully dry the same area. Then get the “Gold Bond” ointment in the squeeze tube and apply a small amount using your finger.  Work your finger round and round following the path of the tail until you get into the recess of the tail.

This will cause a little reaction from your bullie due to the slight stinging sensation but will dissipate within a few minutes.  This procedure keeps the bacteria,yeast, and infection under control.  Once you get the bullie use to this cleaning procedure they won’t fight you as much as at the beginning.  After a period of time you can change your cleaning to every other day.  Just stay on top of the cleaning and treatment.

It is critical to stay on top of this “screw tail” situation and if you do it is very manageable and becomes routine after a period of time.

I do not know what the surgery would cost.

If he does have an open wound or deep chronic infection that is
oozing and could compromise his general health, then surgery
should be considered.

your bulldog pal,


English Bulldogs Holiday Video – darned cute!

I was thrilled by all the bulldog photos sent in by my subscribers
of their bulldogs dressed in holiday garb, so I put together
a little Bulldog Holiday video.

All the photos are also on the VivyLand website,
but the video sure is cute if I do say so myself!


If you can’t see it here, view it on YouTube at this link:
Bulldog Holiday Video
and be sure to send it on to all your bulldog friends!

Happy Holidays from Jan & Archie!


Bulldog Scratching Makes Open Wound

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

your bulldog pal,
———follow up———-

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


Hi Ellen,

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

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

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

Allergic reactions like hives and cause the skin to increase in

your bulldog pal,


Sprain or Torn Ligament in Limping Bulldog

Hi Jan,

It has been a while since I have written you.  My “grand -puppy” Lucy has grown to be almost two years old.  Her facial folds are so much better since I convinced my son to change her food!  She has not had any injuries since the one I wrote to you about below. Now she has her first real casualty and I have a few questions:

She was in the ER last night with a right hind leg injury ( from jumping off the couch)
She will not put any weight on it. I know from your email that you have had some injuries in your girls.
If it is sprained only, how long does it take to heal? If it is torn, how long is the recovery time?

Need your wisdom.  The ER vets are excellent, but the vet that my son and daughter in law take her to normally is so so in my book. ( Your friends agreed).

The ER vet is guessing that it is a torn ligament and will need surgery.  How do we know? I don’t think that ligaments show up on an x-ray.

I also know that special care has to be taken with the anesthesia in Bulldogs. What questions do we ask the vet?

Anything else we can do in diagnosing this problem?

Gratefully yours,


Hi Marie,

Jumping off the couch is often the final straw for a bulldog’s
malformed knee.  I would guess that she does have a torn
ligament, but here’s the usual test.

Keep her confined to walking only for a week.  That means no
jumping on or off the couch, no running around, no walks – as
little activity as possible.

If she is still limping in a week, it’s a pretty sure sign of a torn
ligament.  It’s important to take care of this injury as additional
injury can occur with movement and this can lead to arthritis.

It’s true that a torn ligament will not show up on an x-ray, but
a malformed knee joint will.  This floating kneecap or luxating
patella that I write about in the book is a common genetic
disorder of the bulldog and results in a torn ACL (anterior
cruciate ligament).

I would wait a week and then if she’s still limping or starts to
limp again, take her to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.
Find a good orthopedic surgeon in your area or take her to
a vet school if there’s one near you.  Do not let your regular
vet do this surgery!

The recovery time from surgery on a young dog can be
fast.  Lucy may start putting weight on it right away, but she
will have to be restricted from vigorous activity for at least
three weeks.

As for anesthesia, be sure the surgeon is familiar with bulldogs.
They have very small trachea and esophagus and need to have
smaller breathing tubes that most dogs.

I hope this helps clarify.  Let me know how she’s doing.  I went
through this twice with Vivy and both times she had to have
surgery to correct her malformed knees.  The surgery definitely
improved her quality of life.

your bulldog pal,