The American bulldog has short, close and stiff hair that should never be kept frizzy. It has very low grooming needs. Regular brushing is one of the best things you can do to keep your pet healthy and happy. This grooming practice is one that most dogs will come to love and enjoy.
. Removes dirt and debris . Invigorates skin . Spreads oils to moisturize skin and keep a shiny coat . Prevents mats and tangles which are irritating painful and can harbor bacteria, fungus, other infection . Keeps your house cleaner especially during shedding seasons . Bonding, massaging, loving interaction . Early detection of fleas, ticks, eczema, infection smell that can signify sickness
Tools: Curry comb, chamois or soft cloth, cleansing lotion
Brush your American bulldog once a week to keep up with your dogs hair loss. Use a curry comb that appeals to your pet, soft rubber or a harder and rougher one. Rubbing it down with a chamois or soft cloth will remove dirt and loose hair, and make the hair more glossy. It’s important to remember to clean between the folds and wrinkles on your dog’s face and tail: dampness here can breed bacteria and lead to infection. There is a specific lotion developed for this issue that can be applied within folds.
Eyes: Check your dog’s eyes daily.
Debris is flushed to the corners of the eyes and daily wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel can prevent the build up of bacteria.
Ears: Check ears once a week.
Your dogs ears should be pink and healthy inside. If not, don’t do anything to them until you see a vet. Keeping your dogs’ ears clean minimizes odour, removes dirt, bacteria and mites trapped in wax. Never use a cotton swab on the inner ear.
Tools: cotton wool balls or soft cloth and ear solution.
There are solutions made specifically for dogs but substitutes include: hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, mineral oil, witch hazel, and tea tree oil. Place a few drops of ear solution in ear and rub and massage to loosen wax. Swab out with cotton wool balls or cloth.
Brush a bulldog’s teeth? Yes. 80% of 3 year old dogs have periodontal disease. Cavities and gum disease are painful for your dog; they diminish its pleasure and ability to eat. Bacteria that develops can infect the heart, kidney, liver and brain. Really bad breath is usually a sign of gum disease.
Tools: Toothbrush/finger cap/cloth, doggie toothpaste, tooth scraper.
Starting this dog off with this practice can be tricky. Reward it constantly to get it used to grooming. Start off by getting it used to its mouth being handled. Progress to touching the teeth with your finger. Get some meat-flavoured toothpaste and apply with your finger. Then introduce the brush. Clean a few teeth at a time and soon you will have a routine that takes just minutes. Brush in a circular motion and get under the gum line. If you don’t want to brush everyday, use a tooth scraper once or twice a month to get rid of the build up of plaque. It accumulates mostly on the outside of the teeth and on the back molars. This won’t be much fun for your or your dog though. Lots of bones and hard, crunchy foods can minimize plaque but not to a truly effective degree.
Nails: Every two weeks.
Nail care is very important for your American bulldog. Nails that aren’t trimmed can splinter and infect the quick or grow and curl into the flesh. This can be painful for your dog to walk on. It will affect its gait, posture, and eventually it’s skeletal and ligament health. Nails should never touch the ground. When your dog is standing its nails should rest above the ground. If you hear clicking on the kitchen floor, clipping is overdue.
Tools: Doggie Nail Clippers of the pliers variety, Dremel or file, Styptic or Kwikstop.
Introducing your dog to nail clipping should start off by getting it used to its paws being handled. Stroke and touch your bulldog’s paws whenever you are giving it affection. Getting it used to the Dremel is your best bet to avoid clipping altogether. Sit beside your dog and put your arm around its shoulders if you can so that you are clipping from underneath and at the right angle. Lift the paw and press on it to expose the claw. If it has a clear nail you should be able to see the quick: a dark bundle of nerves and blood vessels. Clip from underneath close to the quick but do not cut into it. If you do, your dog will soon let you know. Use Styptic pencil or Kwikstop to staunch the bleeding. Buff the ragged edge with a file or Dremel. If it has a dark nail, clip just under the curve of the nail and then you will be able to look inside and see the quick if you look close enough. Clip using tiny snips at a time. Don’t forget to check for dewclaws: an extra claw dogs may have farther up on the leg that works like a thumb. It is better to clip your dog’s nails frequently as this encourages the quick to recede farther away from the tip.
Paws: Check daily.
It is very important to check between dog pads for foreign objects that may have wedged there and to check the pads themselves for cuts, scrapes and infection.
Expressing Glands: Every 2 to 4 weeks
This is a task normally done when you take your dog in for professional grooming. Your dog uses scent glands in the anus to mark its territory. These glands also excrete when your dog defecates. At times, they may get impacted. Signs of this include: increased doggie odour, excessive licking and chewing of the behind and worst of all, scooting (when your dog drags its bottom along the floor or carpet). There is no risk of overly expressing these glands so it’s best to get accustomed to doing it regularly as it will lessen dog odour.
Tools: Warm cloth
Lift the dog’s tail and hold the cloth against it’s behind. Place your fingers at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock and press inward and squeeze to expel.
Bathing: As needed
No dog needs regular bathing and the American bulldog is no exception. It has natural oils that moisturize its skin and keep its coat glossy. Stripping these oils with frequent bathing dries out the skin and is a detriment to a healthy coat. A rubdown with a damp towel can remove dirt and hair. With regular brushing, ear cleaning and gland expression, dog odour will remain minimal. Bathing a few times a year is usually adequate. Of course, if your bulldog rolls in something not-so-pleasant, have a look at it further also.
Tools: Non-slip mat, sprayer hose, dog shampoo, leash, towels.
Choose a place where you can block escape routes and expect 1-3 water-spraying shakes. A leash tied to a higher point than your dog’s head will keep it standing and prevent it from escaping. This is highly recommended as it’s really hard to hold a slippery dog. If your dog is being difficult or awkward, a muzzle and a helper would be a good idea. Never bathe your dog in standing water and never use human shampoo. Wet your dog using your hand to massage it. Avoid getting water into the eyes, nose and ears. cotton wool balls may be placed into the ears to deter water. Massage shampoo into a lather. Rinse thoroughly as leftover shampoo can severely dry out and irritate your pet’s skin. Squeeze off excess water by running your hands along its body. Dry with a towel.