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,


English Bulldog Skin Problems


Hello I have a few quesitons for you about your book. I have 2 bullies a
male 2yrs. old and a female 1yr. old. My male has had problem after
problem. Now we have skin problems. He his going bald on both sides like
where he scratches. he has had this 3 times before each time my vet was
able to somewhat say what it was (each time a different problem or was it)
we would treat it and his hair would come back. this time has been
different. He was daigonased with ring worm @2 mths ago. we went through
the treatments and they also treated my female since it can be spread and
she also started to loose hair they have been retested and the tests came
back negative, but their hair has not grown back and the area where they
have lost the hair is really sensitive to touch. Now my vet has nothing
left up his sleve he wants to send us to a dermotoligist. Will you book go
over issues and give maybe some at home suggestions to try before you head
to the vet. It seems like i live there sometimes and just sounds strange to
me that she also just started having problems at the same time as my male (
I just dont see allergy). also do you know how many pages it is if you
download the pdf file. I am trying to decide weather or not to buy the book
or download it.



Hi Sue,

Allergies take up the largest portion of my Bulldog Health System book and cd. I also have a lot of additional information in the bonus materials. The book is 84 pages.
The printed version comes with a cd that includes all the bonus materials.

As for your dog’s condition, I think I may be able to help you with it.
I’m not sure where you live, but the first thing that comes to mind is that
your male has seasonal flank alopecia, a condition where in the winter
the hair falls out symmetrically on both flanks. Here’s an article on it:

Because of the ringworm (a fungus) both your dogs have lost some
hair and it may not return until the spring when the days get longer.
The sensitivity could be from the treatments – what were they?

There are other conditions that bulldogs get that can lead to hair loss,
and a dermatologist can do skin scrapings to determine what it is.

I hope this helps. Let me know.

Your Bulldog Pal,



I ordered your book and I just love it. Wondered if you have any
sugesstions on a problem i am having with my 1 1/2 year old female bully. I
just weened her over to a new food and i noticed saturday morning that her
belly was bright red. I applied some hydrocortizone cream on it the redness
has toned down but has not gone away it is also under her front legs. she
also has been rubbing both eyes. thinking it was an allergy to the food i
stopped feeding her that food. Her skin is still the same and she has no
energy and sometimes shivers when she is sleeping. I do have an appointment
with the vet but was just wondering if you had any idea what i may be
dealing with.



Hi Sue,

It sounds like it could be some sort of allergic reaction. The red on her belly
could be hives. I have a few questions.

What was she eating and what did you switch her to?

That’s a pretty dramatic reaction to be just food. Providing good food
helps with immune function that in tern helps keep many problems at
bay. Year 1 1/2 is when there’s a large growth spurt – the shoulders
bulk out very rapidly. And that can tax the system a bit.

It could also be a hormonal thing. Has she been neutered?

It’s worrysome that she’s not eating and that she’s shivering. Those are
both signs of illness. And there are many possibilities. So taking her to
the vet is a good idea. He will ask more questions and probably do some
blood tests and a skin scraping if it looks like she has a yeast infection.

Please let me know what he says.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Hi Jan,
Just wanted to let you know the update on Roxy. My vet said he thought
it was an allergic reaction most likley from the food (royal canin bulldog
food) funny! Her symptoms were pretty bad on that Saturday her eyes were
real swolen, belly bright red, shivers and not eating the new food. Of
cource my vet was not in so i stopped feeding her that food. By Monday when
i could get her into the vet the swelling of the eyes had gone down and she
was eating IAMS dog food. She did have a slight feaver and the bright red
belly when I took her in but she gets so excited at the vet that he said
that her temp could be a little high due to her being so excited. To play
it on the safe side he did some blood work and put her on an antiobiotic.
The blood work came back with no problems. And within a couple of days her
belly was back to normal. Thanks for your sugesstions.

All better,

Hi Sue,

Great news! Such a simple fix – it’s a great testimony to how important diet
is for a bulldog. It’s weird that some react differently to foods that others
have no problems with.

Thanks for keeping me informed! And hugs to Roxy.

Your Bulldog Pal,