If you bulldog suffers from allergies, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the cause. He might have a genetic predisposition to skin problems or a hypersensitivity to environmental factors.
Your breeder should tell you if the animal is predisposed to certain allergies, and you can take care to protect your dog from common allergens.
Warning signs include shaking the head, scratching at the ears and changing behavior.
Bulldogs can develop ear infections because of food allergies, overpopulation of yeast in the ears or bacterial buildup from not keeping the ears clean. Treatments range from allergy shots to antibiotics to ear drop applications, or a combination.
This condition occurs most commonly in bulldog puppies less than 2 months old, but can also afflict older bullies. Herrell and Angie Collins, who have been breeding and showing American Kennel Club Champion English Bulldogs since 1998, say some of their older bulldogs developed cherry eye after inhaling allergens or chemicals such as pollen or fertilizers.
It’s called cherry eye because the dog’s tear gland pops up and appears puffy and “cherry” in color. A puppy may have to undergo surgery to correct the problem, but an older dog’s cherry eye may be carefully pushed back down by a veterinarian.
Flea and Tick Allergies
According to the Bulldog Club of America, some bulldogs are allergic to flea saliva. If untreated, flea allergy dermatitis and tick allergies can lead to more serious skin conditions. The dog will scratch or bite himself and may lose hair in some areas, especially on the bottom directly above the tail.
There are many treatments available for fleas and ticks, but according to the BCA, applying flea-control drops is more gentle and effective than using flea collars or strong shampoos.
A common allergic reaction in bulldogs, eczema is a condition characterized by pink or red itchy, flaky, rough skin that can cause open sores and discomfort. Bulldog food allergies, environment stressors and insect bites can lead to eczema.
Common treatments are using hair conditioners with natural emollients and applying over-the-counter cortisone creams; in severe cases antibiotics may be needed. The Bulldog Club of America advises not to feed food containing soybeans.
Bulldogs, like humans, develop acne on and around their mouths and chins. If the bulldog is a puppy, it may just be due to his young age; if he is older, he may be allergic to something in his environment such as a plastic food bowl. The Bulldog Club of America says that you can usually treat acne by applying an antibacterial soap or cream.
If that does not work, use an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide wash or ask your veterinarian about oral antibiotics. If the condition does not clear up, a veterinarian can work with you and your dog to pinpoint the allergy source.