English Bulldog

Common Health Issues in English Bulldogs



English Bulldogs might make excellent pets and companions, but the sad truth is that they can suffer from a range of congenital health problems. This isn’t a feature that’s exclusive to the English bulldog; unfortunately, many pedigree breeds are predisposed to getting particular illnesses or ailments. If you’re thinking about becoming the proud owner of an English Bulldog, you should first think about whether you’re prepared for the stress and large veterinary bills that can come with this breed. These are the most common health issues that English Bulldogs face.

Bone and Joint Problems

Over the years, Bulldogs have been bred to have an abnormal build, but this build is actually a structural defect, known as chondrodysplasia. This defect causes a range of problems with bones and joints. One of the biggest issues is hip dysplasia. Roughly 75 percent of all English Bulldogs have been found to have hip dysplasia, according to the Orthopedic Foundation of America. However, this figure is likely to be higher, as x-rays which clearly showed evidence of dysplasia wouldn’t be sent off for further evaluation.  For proper bone and joint support we recommend the following two products: Dasuquin w/MSM and Cosequin Double Strength Chews

Many bulliepost fans know when you use those two products you are doing a great thing for your fur-babies long term bone and joint health.

Breathing Issues

Due to the short length of their muzzles, all English Bulldogs suffer from brachycephalic syndrome. This is more serious in some individuals than others, but manifests itself as difficulty breathing. These dogs can’t tolerate excessive exercise, and some can’t run at all without experiencing severe shortness of breath. Owners have to be especially careful with these dogs during the summer months – keeping them in air-conditioned areas and not allowing them to overexert themselves – as they find it hard to breathe in hot weather and are more susceptible to heat stroke.  Some breathing problems, such as the ones caused by common cough or allergies can be alleviated.  If you baby is coughing, try out Nectadyn COUGHFree Cough Syrup.  Specially formulated for your fur-baby, many have commented on its effectiveness in helping ease breathing issues due to cough and cold.

Skin Infections

Bulldogs are prone to getting bacterial skin infections, or pyoderma. The primary cause of this is down to the characteristic folds and wrinkles in their skin. The area between these wrinkles is warm and damp, making it the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. To prevent these infections, owners must have a strict grooming regime in place, thoroughly cleaning and drying these wrinkled areas every day.  A great way to keep up on daily skin fold cleaning and making sure you are keeping bacteria away is with DermaPet MalAcetic Wet Wipes/Dry Bath.  These premoistened, unit-dosed medicated wipes can be used on feet, faces, tails, anals, skin folds, ears, and around eyes to spot-clean and deodorize any pet.

Eye Problems

Another casualty of Bulldogs’ wrinkled, droopy skin is their eyes. Members of this breed are prone to a number of different eye issues including entropion (the inward rolling of the eyelid), ectropion (the outward sagging of the eyelid), distichiasis (where extra eyelashes grow inside the eye rim and cause irritation), corneal ulcers (ulcers on the eyeball), and conjunctivitis (an inflammation of part of the eye, caused by infection or irritation). Not much can be done to prevent these eye issues, but regular veterinary check-ups can catch any problems before they become too serious.  If the issue is less severe but still a concern such as tear staining, consider using Angels’ Eyes.  Angels’ Eyes works to prevent tear staining by tying up circulating porphyrins, a compound that reacts with light to produce a reddish-brown stain to the medial canthus (the meeting spot of the upper and lower eyelids).  Dry and irritated eyes can also be uncomfortable for your bullie, if that happens, a simple ointment such as Lubricant Ophthalmic Ointment can provide some instant relief from the bothersome dry and irritated eye.

Heart Disease

Various kinds of heart disease are common in English Bulldogs, including pulmonic stenosis, mitral valve disease, septal defect and subaortic stenosis. These dogs are also prone to having heart murmurs, which can have varying degrees of seriousness. Many of these heart problems are congenital, but keeping your Bulldog generally fit and healthy can reduce the risk of certain heart issues. It’s advisable to have tests, such as EKGs and ultrasounds of the heart, carried out on your pup on a semi-regular basis, to catch the early signs of any of these conditions.  It is also common sense to avoid salty diets, and try to get some daily exercise even if just a short walk.

While these are the major health issues that English Bulldogs suffer from, there are other conditions which they are prone to, including tumors, allergies, head tremors, hypothyroidism and demodectic mange. As an English Bulldog owner, you should always make sure your four-legged friend gets a thorough veterinary check-up at least once a year. You should also take your dog to see the vet if you suspect he’s suffering from any medical issue.


Image courtesy of Moto “Club4AG” Miwa via Flickr



  1. Kim Gemma

    August 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Great article.

  2. Pingback: All About The English Bulldog

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