Equipement: A rocking chair or a really comfortable big chair you can sit in and cuddle your new Bulldog puppy. A food dish with straight sides and flat bottom. The best material is stainless steel - avoid plastic. A water dish, stainless steel is best.
A collar and a lead: A light weight, small link "choke" collar is best. It should be long enough to slip ovr tlie pup's head with room to spare but should not have more than a six inch "tail" when around his neck. His first lead should be a light weight one, you'll need a strong leather lead as he grows.
Nail clippers or grinder: There are several things which will make life easier and more enjoyable for you and your Bulldog. First in importance is a wire crate. This comes very close to being a necessity. It is much easier to house train a puppy if he sleeps in a crate. If you travel at all with your dog, he is safer and happier riding in a crate and if you are staying overnight he has a place of his own to sleep in. It is just as important for your dog to be in a crate in the car as it is for you to wear your seat belt. If you do not have a crate, or one won't fit in your car, get him a dog safety car harness. Bulldogs do better in wire crates than the Veri-Kennel type because the air circulation through the wire crates is so much better. Dogs like to have a special "my place" so If you don't have a crate, try one, you and your Bulldog will like it. A grooming table makes brushing, toe nail cutting, whisker clipping, medication, etc. etc. much easier. Start the pup out young and he'll soon learn to stand still with his neck in the noose and your life will be much easier.
A good brush: You can use almost any brush on a Bulldog but the best ones have flexible rubber bristles. You want one small enough to fit your hand comfortably. If you travel with your Bulldog you'll need a large insulated water jug so that you'll have "home" water available for him. A small water pan that hooks to the side of his crate is handy.
Bulldog Medicine: Vaseline. Use this on his nose, on his eye wrinkles, any place you need to soothe and waterproof but don't need to medicate. Use it also on the thermometer when you take his temperature.
Plastic RealLemon: If he gets phlegm in his throat and chokes on it, a couple squirts of juice from the plastic lemon will help clear it out.
Aspirin. For minor aches and pains. Most Bulldogs can tolerate aspirin but do not give any other human pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil. Buffered aspirin such as Bufferin is better than plain aspirin and Ascriptin is better than Bufferin. Remember that the dosage for aspirin, like most pain relief medication, is based primarily on body weight. A Bulldog should never be given more than one tablet at a time or more frequently than every twelve hours. Some Bulldogs are allergic to aspirin, so use with care.
Benadryl: Either capsule or liquid. Use this if the dog is stung by a bee or other insect, and for minor allergies. Panalog Ointment: A good all purpose ointment for minor skin afflictions. Also good for cleaning wrinkles, tail pockets and ears. Do not put in his eyes. Bag Balm: Also useful for minor skin afflictions. PeptoBismol For minor stomach upset. Kaopectate: For minor diarrhea. Q-tips: Use for applying medication and cleaning ears.
Toys: Never ever give your Bulldog a rawhide toy. Even Bulldog puppies can tear a piece off the rawhide and choke on it. Puppies like knotted socks to shake and play tug of war with. They also like Nylabone and Gummabone toys. Many like to play with balls, but be sure the ball is too big to lodge in the throat. They like cotton tug toys like Booda Bones. Some Bulldoggers give their puppies and dogs Choo-Hooves and the dogs really like them, but be cautious with these. They are an "only when I can watch you" toy. The only real difference between the toys for a puppy and the toys for an adult Bulldog is size. The puppy gels a fairly small Gummabone, (he adult gets a big one. Just be sure the toy is too big to swallow. Throw a Nyla or Gummabone etc. away before it gets so small the dog can get the entire piece in its mouth.
Feeding: A Bulldog should eat out of a pan which has a flat bottom and straight sides. Most Bulldoggers use stainless steel because it lasts longer. Do not use plastic either for his food or his water. Most breeders feed a two to four month old puppy four times a day. At this age the kibble is usually softened with warm water. Some add cottage cheese and/or yogurt. There are several good brands of puppy kibble. If you are not satisfied with the kibble he is eating, try another. You want a kibble the puppy likes and which produces a nice coat, keeps the puppy round but not obese, and produces solid stools. Most breeders in this area use Nutro's, Iam's, Eukanuba, Purina Puppy Chow or Science Diet. Check the list of ingredients on the sack. Do not feed your Bulldog a kibble which contains soybeans. You may feed the puppy on a set schedule, or have food available to him at all times. The pup will flourish under either regimen. The choice depends on which is more convenient for you.
How much you feed him depends on the puppy. In most cases, a growing puppy which gets sufficient exercise should eat as much as it wants. If the puppy does become obese, you may need to regulate the amount he eats, but do not put a growing puppy on a severely restricted diet unless it is supervised by a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about Bulldog puppies. From four to six months a puppy's feeding regimen should remain the same but the number of feedings may be reduced to three. At about six months this number can be reduced to two. In most cases continue feeding the puppy as much as he wants.
How often you feed a dog a year or more old depends on your preference and the dog's. Most dogs do well on one meal a day. Some do better on two meals a day. You may prefer to feed in the morning or the evening. This is up to you. If you like it and the dog likes it, it's the right way. A Bulldog usually eats puppy kibble until it is at least a year old. If he is thriving on puppy kibble, leave him on it until he is at least two years old. You can feed him puppy kibble all his life, if it agrees with him. Most Bulldogs are changed from puppy to adult kibble at around twelve to eighteen months. The best change is to the adult version of the puppy kibble you have been feeding him. Ii does not hurt your Bulldog to change from one brand of dog food to another and then to another and so on as long as each change is done by gradually, substituting more and more of the new brand for the old. If your Bulldog is spayed or neutered or as it ages and becomes less active, you may need to start feeding a reduced calorie dog food to keep it from becoming too fat. Most good brands of dog food have such a kibble. Again, it's best if you stay with the same brand you've been feeding and change to the "lo-fat" version. Whatever its age, your Bulldog should have fresh water available at all times.
It is not really necessary to add to a good kibble. But you may find your dog prefers "goodies" on his food, or does a little better with some. The most common supplements are cottage cheese, yogurt and oil. Cottage cheese is especially good for growing puppies since the Bulldog must grow a lot of heavy bone in a short time. About a tablespoon per feeding. Yogurt helps to keep the digestive system working well, about a teaspoon per feeding. Oil helps to keep the coat and skin in good condition, about a teaspoon twice a day. Corn or canola oil is best, do not give your Bulldog any oil which contains soybean oil. You may also give your Bulldog a vitamin supplement. Any good vitamin tablet such as Vita-Tabs, Theralin, etc. Do not over dose. If the directions say "one a day", two is not better. You rnay also give a vitamin C tablet 100 - 500 units per day. Supplements to be very careful about are Vitamins E, D and A. Overdoses of these can cause trouble. Also be very cautious about adding more calcium than what about a quarter cup of cottage cheese per day adds to what is in the kibble. If you plan to breed a bitch, vitamin B complex, including folic acid, is recommended, but again be careful not to overdose. Iron supplements should be given with care and caution. Treats should usually be dog biscuits. It won't hurt your Bulldog to give him an occasional bite of meat, vegetables, fruit, soda crackers, ice cream, etc. etc. But do not give him chocolate or onions.
Bathing A Bulldog that receives frequent brushings and rubdowns does not need frequent bathing. Most Bulldoggers bathe their dogs when the dog is dirty - when it obviously needs a bath. Of course, if you are exhibiting your Bulldog he needs a bath before he goes 10 the show. A show dog in the ring should be a squeaky clean dog in the ring. Where do you bathe a Bulldog? Any place you want to and can! Some Bulldoggers have a big deep sink, some use the bath tub, some use the kitchen sink, in the summer some wash the dog on the lawn. You need a place where you can control the dog, where you can easily control the water supply and where you can rinse the dog thoroughly. It's a good idea, especially with a puppy, to take the dog outside to "do his thing" just before you bathe him. Gather up all the things you will need before you start. You will need: shampoo, any rinses you plan to use, cotton balls, Q-lips, eye ointment or mineral oil, Vaseline, wash cloth, towels. You will want a mild, no tears shampoo. Most Bulldoggers use a dog shampoo such as Lambert Kay or Groom-Rite. Some use a baby shampoo such as Johnson & Johnson No Tears or Avon Tearless. Most use a special whitening shampoo for white dogs (Lambert Kay Snowy-Coat, Bio Groom Super White, etc.). Many use a special shampoo for red dogs (Ring S Burnished Bronze, etc.). You may on occasion need to use a flea shampoo but since these are quite harsh, don't use one unless you really need to.
Put a couple of drops of mineral oil or a bit of eye ointment in the eyes and place a cotton ball securely in each ear before you wet the dog. Wet the dog thoroughly from just behind the ears to the tips of the toes on his hind feel. Be sure his underside is wet, too, not just the top and sides. Apply the shampoo starting at his neck and working back. Work the shampoo in to be sure you get all the way through his hair to the skin. Pay special attention to his paws (wash between the toes), his tail (clean all around the base), and the genital area. On a bitch, be especially careful to clean the vulva. Wet the wash cloth and use it to dampen the dog's face and ears. Put some shampoo on the washcloth and wash the dog's face. Wash the wrinkles over the nose, on the forehead, around the nose and under the eyes. Wash his nose. Wash his ears, inside and out. Now rinse. Rinse until you are sure every bit of the dog, especially in the wrinkles and tight places, is thoroughly rinsed and there is no shampoo any place. If you are applying a rinse, do it now, following the instructions. You can use a dog conditioner rinse like Oster Creme Rinse, Oster Coat Conditioner or Francodex Oatmeal Creme Rinse, or you can use a "people" conditioner like L'Oreal Creme. For a white dog, you can use a rinse of 4 Tbs. Mrs. Wright's Bluing, I qt. water, 1/4 cup baking soda. Mix enough bluing into the water to get a darkish blue (not black). Pour the bluing mixture over him and work in with your fingertips. Do not rinse. Do not towel dry. Let the dog drip dry. For red dogs, try VOS Henna Conditioner. Dry the dog with towels. Take the cotton balls out of the dog's ears and clean any wax carefully using a dry Q-Tip or one with a dab of Panalog. Rub a dab of Vaseline onto his nose to help keep ii soft. You can then let him air dry or use a hair dryer to finish the drying. It's best to keep the dog inside until it is completely dry - about two hours.
Nails Most Bulldogs need their toe nails cut on a regular basis - about every two weeks. The nails should be kept as short as possible. You may use dog nail clippers or an electric grinder. Most Bulldoggers use the clippers, either guillotine or scissors type. Which type you use is up to you, but they should be sharp. When the blade begins to dull, replace it or buy new clippers - dull blades can be painful to the dog. Each Bulldogger seems to have a different way to clip nails. Find the way that works best for you. The important thing is to be able to control the dog so that you do not hurt it. A grooming table is probably the best way. You can put the dog on the floor and scratch its tummy, or hold it between your legs - whatever works. Be especially careful not to cut into the quick. On white nails you can see where the quick begins. On black nails cut just to the curve of the nail. The clippers usually leave a rough edge. Use a good dog nail file to smooth them off. If you use en electric grinder, be very, very careful. It is easy to grind into the quick. The main thing is to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the dog so be really careful when cutting nails and don't cut into the quick. If you dog takes frequent walks on pavement or such, it will usually wear the nails down, so again, be careful as there may not be very much nail to cut. This is especially true of black nails which seem to wear more than the white ones.
FLEAS: The best way to treat fleas is to prevent them. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva and can develop really serious skin problems so try to keep the flea population to a minimum. If you do get a bad flea infestation you may need to "bomb" your house or kennel, spray the yard and/or dog runs. Frequent brushing is the first defense. Frequently changed bedding is very important. Flea collars are not very effective and many Bulldogs cannot wear them. If you do use one, do not put one on a wet or damp dog and do not allow the dog to wear a wet collar (this includes letting the dog out in the rain with its flea collar on). You may need to give the dog a bath with a good flea shampoo or use an anti-flea rinse when you bathe. The chemicals used in these shampoos are harsh so use them only when necessary and follow instructions carefully. Mycodex is probably the most used flea control shampoo. There are various types of dips, such as Adams i4 Day Flea Dip, and sprays, such as Escort Flea & Tick Spray and Mycodex Aqua-Spray. Since these really are medications, it's a good idea to at least begin with ones from your veterinarian or that have been specifically recommended by an experienced Bulldogger in your area. Avon Skin so Soft mixed in the rinse water is an effective, non-irritating flea deterrent used by several Bulldoggers. You can also use the Skin so Soft mixed with an equal part of water in a spray bottle, or, if you feel that's a bit too strong, try two capfuls in a pint spray bottle. This is also reported to repel mosquitoes and ticks. Above all else, a clean environment, especially his bed, is the best flea prevention.
TRAINING: "House" training The key here is consistency. Take the pup outside, preferably to the same area each time, as soon as he wakes up, about ten minutes after each meal, about every hour when he's awake, just before his nap or night bedtime. The puppy must empty bladder and bowels before he goes to bed for the night. Always praise the puppy as he is going, and move away from the area as soon as he is finished. Very few dogs will soil their beds, so it is best to keep him confined at night and any time you cannot watch him. If you see the pup "hunting" (sniffing and circling) take him outside immediately. If you see him urinating or defecating in the house, say "NO, NO" and take him outside at once. Do not scold him unless you catch him in the act. Praise for correct behavior works much better than punishment for "incorrect" behavior. Remember, a puppy is a baby, his capacity is small, his muscle control limited. Be consistent, be patient, and you will succeed in training him to go outside not inside.
Lead training: The earlier you start the better, but if your puppy has not had any lead training before you get him, wait a week or so until he's settled comfortably into his new home before you begin. You will need a light weight "choke chain" collar and a light weight lead. The collar should be long enough to slip over his head with ease and have some room for growth, but should not be more than six inches longer than the circumference of his neck. Put the collar on the puppy 50 that it goes over his neck from his left to right. Fasten the lead to the collar and let the puppy lead you around. If he doesn't move, move a bit and coax him to move after you. Do not ever pull on the lead and drag or choke the puppy. This should be a happy experience for the puppy so give him lots of praise. As he becomes used to walking about with the collar and lead, begin to give little tugs and encourage him to follow you rather than you following him. Always keep him on your left side. Keep his lessons short. Several five to ten minutes sessions a day are better than one half hour session. Do not play with the puppy during his lesson, but do praise him often when he follows you. Once he is following you with consistency you can begin taking him on walks around the neighborhood. You will probably need to give him several gently tugs the first few times to keep him with you rather than exploring on his own. You may need to stop and talk to him a few times. Again, do not pull on the lead and drag or choke him. A quick jerk and immediate release on the collar is the way to control him. Do not try to rush this. A few minutes a day, every day, lots of praise when he does it right, a quick jerk and release to correct when he doesn't, lots of praise, patience and consistency and he will soon be walking nicely at your side. If you plan to exhibit your puppy, you will also need to train him to stand still and let you hold his head. Start this training along with the lead training as early as possible.
Grooming Your Bulldog should be thoroughly brushed at least three times a week. Most Bulldogs love to be brushed. Use a soft bristle or rubber brush. Start at the rear and brush against the hair. After you've brushed the entire dog against the grain, brush it with the grain. Follow this with a good rub down. This will keep his hair shiny and his skin healthy. During shedding time, spring and fall, you may need to brush more often, give more frequent rubdowns. The idea is to remove the dead hair and distribute the natural oils.
Bedding Bedding material used for Bulldogs ranges from straw or wood shavings (for kennel dogs) to special dog beds of all types and prices. The most common is cotton rugs or blankets which can be washed with ease. Don't pamper your Bulldog with a wicker dog bed. He will thoroughly enjoy reducing it to twigs and it really isn't a good thing for him to eat. The fake sheepskin rugs available from most pet stores and dog catalogs make good beds as they are soft and wash and dry with ease. The important thing for bedding is that it be easily washable and provide a soft nesting area for the dog. As long as it meets that requirement, any bedding will do.
A puppy pen: Even though you have a fenced yard, you may want to confine the puppy to or out of a particular area. Puppy pens are easily portable and very handy for keeping a puppy confined to a small area. They are especially useful for a winter puppy. You can put his bed in his crate, put the crate in a puppy pen, and put his papers in a corner of the pen. If you plan to exhibit your Bulldog you will need a pair of whisker scissors. These are small, sharp, blunt end scissors which you can purchase from a pet store, a dog show vendor or a dog supply catalog.