In This Chapter
- Keeping your Bulldog clean
- Making sure that your Bulldog stays healthy
- Improving your Bulldog knowledge
Of course, there are many things you should do for your Bulldog to keep him (and you!) healthy and happy, but sometimes it’s easy to fall into habits and forget about some of these things. This chapter covers ten important things that you should always remember to do in order to get the best out of your relationship with your Bulldog.
Cleaning Your Bully’s Collar
It’s not something people think of much, but daily wear can really dirty a collar, and pet owners tend to forget that fact. Imagine wearing a shirt or blouse day after day without washing it. Then imagine the collar. (They don’t call it “ring around the collar” for nothing.)
Scrub and clean leather collars with saddle soap, which is usually sold with shoe-polish products, and nylon collars with hand soap. A bit of shampoo also works well at cutting the grease, and an old toothbrush makes a good brush (but don’t put it back in the bathroom when you’re finished).
Washing the Food and Water Dishes
Sometimes food and water dishes get neglected because the food dish, especially, is licked clean. Put yourself at the dining-room table, stuffed from the great home cooking. Now imagine each family member licking his or her plate after dinner and placing the dish back in the cabinet. Would the plates really be clean? Your Bulldog doesn’t ask for much. Give him clean dishes. Stainless steel is the best choice, because ceramic dishes may have leadbased glaze or paint and plastic dishes may become chew toys.
Freshening Your Bulldog’s Bed
Just like your own bedsheets, dog beds need to be washed. Aside from dirt from paws and tummy, a bed can harbor fleas and flea eggs. Remember, don’t overdo the soap because excess soap can make your Bully itch. A splash of bleach in the wash water helps kill germs and freshen the bedding.
Vaccinating Your Bulldog
Even if you don’t legally need the shot, as with a rabies shot, there are preventive vaccines that can help your Bulldog live a longer life. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper shots for your dog. For more vaccination information, refer to Chapter Knowing Your Veterinarian, Vaccinations, and Common Treatments
Grooming Your Bulldog
Grooming is fairly easy with a Bulldog. You can even groom while watching television (you can watch dog shows together). At least once a week, cleanse all your dog’s wrinkles, and rinse out her ears. Don’t forget your Bully’s tail, especially if it has a pocket of skin around the base. A bit of Vaseline in the pocket can help prevent irritation. Refer to Chapter Grooming Your Bulldog for advice on how to groom your Bully properly.
Every year, Bulldog rescue groups receive many dogs with severe infections under the tail. Gently wiping this area helps but doesn’t prevent all problems. Once again, Vaseline is very good at helping prevent trouble. It should be applied once or twice a week, more often if needed, and after every bath.
Get your vet to recommend a good ear cleaner. Wrinkles can be kept clean by gently wiping and then immediately applying some Vaseline. It acts as a moisture barrier and is very safe. Nail trimming is important too!
You may not run marathons with your Bully (and you have to be careful she doesn’t overheat), but she does benefit (as will you) from a brisk walk around the block. Play a game of fetch with her favorite toy, and think about mental exercise too. Play hide-andseek or tag. Hide a toy, and have her find it. Exercising and games also increase the bond between you and your Bully because it is valuable time spent one on one.
Balancing Your Bulldog’s Diet
Does your Bulldog need to go on a diet? Is a balanced diet part of your bully’s routine? Your Bulldog can’t choose his own diet; he depends on you to feed him what he needs. Table scraps — people food — may be the worst thing you can give him, even if it’s what he likes best (which it wouldn’t be if you never started in the first place). Ask your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your dog. Pay attention to your Bulldog’s coat and overall condition. The food you’re feeding him may be perfect, or he may need a change.
Keeping Up to Date on Bully Information
If you don’t have a Bulldog, but you’re thinking of getting one, consider the lifestyles of both you and a Bulldog before you get your Bully. If you already have a Bulldog, read all that you can about the breed. The more you know, the more you understand about Bulldog health and about how your pet behaves. If there’s a local Bulldog club in your area, join. Research is another step to falling in love with your Bulldog.
Forgiving His Behavior
Forgiveness doesn’t mean giving up on training or not petproofing your house, but don’t lose your temper if an accident (or two) happens. Dogs shed. Puppies chew. How important is the diningroom table leg, really? How much love do you get from the table? Now think about how much love you receive from your puppy. You may regard the tooth marks fondly when your Bully is old and gray. You can have a perfect house, or you can have a Bulldog. I vote for the Bulldog.
Simply Enjoying Your Bully
Set aside time every day to play with your Bully. Watch the way she entertains herself, and supply a safe environment and appropriate toys. Take your Bulldog (on a leash, of course) to the pet store with you. Let her explore and pick out a new toy. Remember why you decided to get her and what a short time you may have her. With few exceptions, most of us outlive our dogs. Give your Bully your best, every day.
by Susan M.Ewing