Learning to Live With Pets

Three Things You Need to Know About Your Short-Nosed Dog

If you've recently fallen in love with an adorable English bulldog puppy and decided to share your home with it, you're undoubtedly looking forward to spending many happy years with your new canine companion. English bulldogs are gentle, family-friendly companions that don't require any specialized grooming and have low exercise needs, making them ideal for busy owners. However, there are certain things you should know about your furry friend in order to provide it with the best possible life.

One of the things that gives this breed its distinctive appearance is its short, almost pushed-in nose. Dogs with this type of nose are referred to as brachycephalic dogs—the word brachycephalic literally means "short-headed." Here's what you need to know about them.

Your English Bulldog May Not Be Able to Fly

Because brachycephalic dogs have smaller nostrils and less room in their windpipes than their counterparts with average noses, flying may not be safe for them in unpressurized parts of the aircraft. Instead of taking your English bulldog with you when you go on a family vacation, consider leaving it at a local dog boarding facility. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. 

Your English Bulldog Should Not Be Over-Exercised

Some dog breeds, such as Irish Setters, Border Collies, and German Shepherds are high-energy breeds that need abundant amounts of exercise in order to remain as happy and healthy as possible. English bulldogs, on the other hand, may experience respiratory distress if they get too much exercise, so always be mindful during play sessions that they aren't breathing heavily or wheezing, grunting, or snorting. Although some people think this is normal for this breed, that is not the case. Always make an appointment with your vet if your bulldog starts showing signs of having trouble breathing, especially if it occurs during periods of inactivity. Keep in mind that because of their less efficient respiratory systems, English bulldogs and other short-nosed breeds are prone to suffering from poor cardiovascular health. 

Your English Bulldog May Become Overheated Easily

Because dogs don't have the ability to sweat, they regulate their bodily temperatures through panting—and your English bulldog's ability to pant sufficiently may be curtailed by its smaller nostrils and lack of large surface areas of the tongue that their counterparts with longer muzzles have. Always take care to keep your English bulldog in an air-conditioned environment when outdoor temperatures soar.

None of this means that English bulldogs are a poor choice for the average family. They're great dogs as long as you don't need an active partner for strenuous hikes, don't plan on traveling by plane often and taking the dog with you, and don't plan on having an outdoor-only dog no matter the temperature. If you are interested in getting an English bulldog yourself, look for English bulldog puppies for sale in your area.