Congratulations! You are about to become a skin parent to a new bulldog puppy! How exciting! You are about to embark on a new adventure, because having a bulldog is unlike having any other. You are going to have a wonderful companion, and hopefully this article will help you during the first months of bringing them home.
The First 48 Hours
Hopefully you purchased your bulldog from a great breeder who will be there for you to help with any questions or concerns. If not, that is okay too. You can post any question, no matter how big or small, on our forum and our wonderful members of English Bulldog News will help you on your journey.
It is of utmost importance that you bring your puppy to your vet within the first 48 hours of bringing them home. You may want to call around and find a good bulldog vet in your area before you bring your new puppy home. Also please check our recommended veterinarian list here on English Bulldog News to see if there is one in your area. Make sure your vet checks your bulldog from head to toe. Have the vet check the puppy's nares and pallet to see if there will be any concerns in the future with these. Have the vet preform a fecal to check for worms. Set a schedule of follow up appointments for all the necessary vaccinations your puppy will need.
Some puppies will not show any signs of stress of being separated from their litter-mates. They will be happy to explore their new surroundings, and fall asleep from all the excitement. Others will cry, because they are confused and don't know why they are no longer without their brothers, sisters and mom. This is completely normal, just give plenty of affection and playtime. This is very important, make sure you have plenty of time to devote to your new puppy in the first few days.
Crate Training & Potty Training
Crate training has many benefits, especially for a young puppy. Young puppies who are crate trained will think of the crate as their "bed" rather than their "jail", which is a common misconception. Your bulldog will most likely choose to go to their crate when they are tired and most adult bulldog owners will keep their dogs crate door open so they can come and go as they please. They will also consider this their safe place. Most animals do not want to soil their space, so it also helps with potty training. You will have a few accidents (more than likely) at the beginning of the training, but they should learn quickly that if they pee in there, they have to sit in it until you come to the rescue. Not fun at all.
During the first few days of crate training, you should put your puppy into the crate often. They will more than likely cry or whine to get out. It is important that you do not let them out when they are crying. If you do, they will quickly learn that cry = get out of crate. So you will have to start all over again, and it will be harder to train. You may have to endure 1-2 days of crying but it will pass.
Make their crate a fun place to be! Treats should be given in their crate, and you can even give them their meals in there as well. Toys and comfortable bedding should also be added.
Make sure their crate is just big enough to turn around in. If the crate is too large, they will go potty in it if they have the space, even if they can hold it. It would be a good idea to get a crate with a divider in it so you can adjust it as they grow. Bulldogs tend to get overheated quickly, so a crate that has open airflow is best.
Get on Track with the Right Diet
When you bring your puppy home, most likely they will come home with some food that they were fed at the breeder. What you decide to feed your bulldog could be the most important choice you will make for your new family member. It is best to feed your bulldog scheduled feedings throughout the day if possible.
Most owners feed 3 times a day when they bring their new puppy home. A good starting amount would be 3/4 cup of kibble each feeding. If they are losing weight, up it by 1/4 cup. If they are looking too fat, reduce by 1/4 cup.
At around 4-6 months you can reduce your feedings to twice a day. A good starting amount would be 1 cup each feeding, adjust by 1/4 cup as needed.
The reason to feed scheduled feedings is to keep blood sugar in order, and also to learn that you are pack leader and set the food schedule. It is easier to become pack leader if you are in charge of food intake.
A English Bulldog News recommended food for English Bulldog Puppies is Fromm puppy. It is recommended to switch your bulldog from a puppy formula to an adult or all life stages dog food around 3-6 months of age. There are many great dog foods to choose from, so please view our Dog Food Ratings and our Dog Food and Nutrition section to learn more about dog food.
Always use stainless steel or ceramic bowls. Never use plastic, because they are germ factories and can cause skin issues especially contributing to chin acne.
Do not over feed your puppy, this can cause runny stools and having a 'fat' bulldog can cause growth issues and future problems with arthritis when they get older. Your puppy should start loosing the puppy fat around 6-9 months of age, so once they are around a year old you need to start monitoring their figure. At 1 year they should not be round and pudgy. When looking down at them from an aerial view, they should have a defined waist, but you should not see their rib cage. If they show ribs, they need more food! If you see no defined waist, you need to feed them less. I have to admit, a pudgy bulldog is awfully cute, but it is not best for their future health.
Puppy Proof Your Home!
It is important that you puppy proof your home. I am going to ask you to lay on the floor and scoot around your home at puppy level. Is there anything you would desire to chew on if you were your puppy? If so, remove it all! All cords need to be hidden. If you have precious furniture, put it away for a while or it will get chewed. Don't underestimate your puppy, if they can chew it, it will get destroyed. There are sprays that will deter your puppy from chewing, and even tho they don't always work well, it is better than nothing at all. This is another good reason to crate train, so your puppy will be safe when you are not there to supervise.
If you have young children and toddlers now is a great time to teach them about picking up toys. If your puppy swallows anything it could get lodged in their intestines and have to be surgically removed. In many ways, having a puppy is harder than having a baby, so always keep in mind a worst case scenario and protect your puppy and your home from a horrible disaster.
Toys and Treats
Toys and chews that should not be used for bullies because they are unsafe and could be fatal include: Pig ears, rawhide chews, compressed rawhide, bully chews, these can swell when wet and can become lodged in their throat or intestines. Plastic toys or hard plastic toys, they can bite off small pieces and become lodged in the throat or intestines. Ropes, certain cloth or fabric toys, Greenies or eatable chews are chocking hazards.
Chews and toys that are safe include: Nylabones, hard rubber toys like Kongs, Deer antlers, and hard rubber balls at least 3" in diameter or larger.
Kongs are a great choice for your bulldog. Make sure to replace puppy sized Kongs with larger Kongs as they grow. I was once at the vet where they were preforming a surgery on an English Bulldog who had swallowed a puppy sized Kong!
Nylabones and deer antlers are wonderful chew toys for bulldogs.
For treats, usually a high quality food will also offer treats as well. There is no point in feeding a high quality food if you give your bulldog Milk Bones, Pup-er-onis and Snausages. Give your bulldog fresh fruits or vegetables and treats that are high quality. Pay attention to the ingredients.
There are many human foods that you must avoid at all costs, as they can be toxic to your new puppy. Some include onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes, raisins and more. To view a complete list, CLICK HERE.
It is important to socialize your puppy around other animals. There are many great ways to do this.
Sign your puppy up for a puppy training class. This will give them time to meet other humans, dogs of different breeds, and bonding time with you!
Look into local groups and meet ups in your area. Then they can get to know more dogs of their own breed.
Doggie Daycare is also an option, but before you take your dog to any daycare facility you should find out as much as you can about the place and ask for references. Beware, your bully can or may catch several colds and viruses. Similar to children who go to school, they will bring germs with them. It is important to trust your daycare facility to be a clean environment, and that all other dogs who attend are up to date on all shots and Bordatella* vaccine.
*Note that if your bully ever gets the Bordatella vaccine, never allow them to give the nasal vaccine, you want it to be in a shot.
Take them to a dog park, but ONLY AFTER they have received all of their vaccinations. While you have your bully out and about, never let them drink from a public place, no puddles, fountains, ect. Always bring with a bowl and water of your own. Other items to bring are a misting spray of water and lemon juice, but we will talk about that further in the next section.
There is one other important matter about socialization that I must discuss. It is unfortunate that English Bulldogs get stolen very often. Be very cautious when meeting strangers, and never tell them where you live. Protect your bulldog like it were your own child, never let it wander alone. I myself have been victim of this TWICE, once out of my own backyard and another while I had my bully boarded at the Vets.
Weather and Temperature
It is imperative that you watch your bulldog in the weather just as you would watch a small child. Bulldogs love to sunbathe, but they also do not know when they have had enough. You must monitor their sunbathing and tell them to come in when it is has been too long. They cannot be left outdoors for long periods of time in the heat, and should NEVER be purchased to be an outdoor dog. They should spend most of their day indoors in a climate controlled environment.
If you let your bully get too hot, they can choke on their tongue or their airway could get blocked/swollen. It is also difficult to get them to drink water when they are overheated. Also overheated dogs that drink cold water can suffer from bloat. It is best to give some water and mist them down with a spray bottle on their chest and belly area, and squirt lemon juice into their mouth. Knowing this could potentially save your bulldog's life. Entice water drinking after they have cooled down.
Anytime you take your bulldog anywhere, put these three items in your bag! Lemon juice, bottled water, misting bottle.
Grooming and Bathing
Depending on preference, you can bath your bulldog as often as needed. Over bathing them can dry out their skin, so make sure you are adding salmon oil to their dog food daily. This will also help with many common bulldog skin issues as well. Many bulldog owners bathe every 2-4 weeks. The longer you can go in between bathing, the better.
Ready for the first bath? Great! First thing you need are cotton balls. These are to protect their ears. You need to push them inside enough so they cannot shake them out. If any water gets in their ears, it could and probably will become an ear infection. Bulldogs don't have a snout so be care of water running down the front of their face. Be sure to dry their ears out well after their bath. This is also a great time to clean their ears, just in case any water got in there. Squirt about 1/2 tsp of ear cleaner (like Malacetic Otic) and massage the ear liberally for about 15 seconds. Wipe out access moisture, and allow them to shake out the rest. Wipe out again.
Choose a good shampoo. There are so many on the market, but anything that is soothing to the skin (oatmeal based) or better than that, hypoallergenic is the best choice. Search our forums for shampoo topics, or start a new topic to see what everyone is using. The shampoo you choose is another very important choice, a bad shampoo choice can lead to disaster with bullies. Common symptoms are itching, hives or skin infections.
Wrinkle care is going to be your daily duty. Keep the wrinkles on the face and under the nose rope if your bully has one clean and dry. There are many products to help you in this task, but to start with I suggest some MalAcetic wipes or MalAcetic Otic skin cleanser. Squirt some on a fragrance free baby wipe and wipe in the folds each day as part of your routine.
You can purchase MalAcetic Otic on Amazon.com or from your vet. It will be MUCH cheaper at Amazon however!
When your bully gets older you should check to see if they have a tail pocket. If they do, this should also be cleaned on a regular basis. The tail pocket is above the anus and right under the tail. If your bulldog has one, it will feel like a small cave. You will not know it is there unless you feel for it, as it cannot be seen usually with your eyes. It is basically a great place for germs and bacteria to have a party. Also use the MalAcetic Otic cleaner on a baby wipe for this as well. How often it needs to be done differs from each bully.
Meeting New Friends
Trust me, when your friends come to your house in the middle of summer wearing jeans so that they won't get scratched by your jumping 40-60 lb bulldog, or you have to lock them away altogether when visitors come, you will be glad you took the necessary steps to prevent this.
Crate with airflow
Stainless Steel or Ceramic Food Dishes
Safe Toys and treats
Collar or Harness
MalAcetic Wipes or MalAcetic Otic
Quality Dog Food
Quality Dog Treats
Also please view our article 35 Things you should have if you own an English Bulldog
Signs Something May Not Be Right
If your bulldog snubs their food, this could be a sign they are not feeling well. If they do not drink, you should consider it serious and take them to the vet right away.
If you bulldog has diarrhea they need to be watched and if it does not improve within 24 hours you should take them to the vet. Severe diarrhea (projectile) should be seen immediately.
If you bulldog pees a lot and the pee has a bad ammonia smell, they may have a UTI and should be seen.
Yellow or green discharge coming out of nose along with coughing/hacking should be seen by a vet, especially if they are not eating or drinking.
If the belly or abdomen seems swollen, they should be checked for parasites.
Last but not least, we would all love to welcome you to our bulldog loving community! If you have not registered at our forums yet, please do so. It is completely free, and we would love to see photos of your new bully. Please?
Welcome to the English Bulldog News family!