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               DEALING WITH HARSH WINTERS WITH OUR BULLDOGS

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones living in balmier climates, you've felt the cold chill of winter arrive. For some of us, cold weather is regarded as more of a nightmare and for others, it’s a fun time filled with my Boy's Favorite Hockey where plans for a rink at the house are already being made before it even snows! others may enjoy snowboarding, skiing and other winter joys. This is still a time of bone-chilling weather and huge piles of snow to deal with.

Whatever your viewpoint on winter, one thing remains the same for all of us with our Bulldogs, it’s a time of year when our beloved babies need a little extra care.  We have put together some helpful tips that may make coping with the inevitable arrival of Jack Frost a little easier for your Bulldogs to enjoy
.



                      KEEPING STAIRS AND WALKWAYS FREE OF ICE

Simple easy to make solution for Icy Steps so they won't freeze!

Mix 1 teaspoon of dish washing up liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and half a gallon of hot/warm water.  Simply pour over your walk ways and stairs and they won't freeze!  Will need repeating every 1-2 days.



                                 THE DANGERS OF FROSTBITE

Frostbite is a serious problem during winter, especially for little paws, tips of tails, and ears. This makes it even more important in keeping you Bulldog warm.  Coats and Shoes can help during your walks and never leave your Bulldog outside for long periods of time during cold temperatures 5-10 min intervals is all they need to go out do their business and get them back inside the warm house.  I am sure many of you who already have the pleasure of a Bully know just how hard it is to even get them outside during the nicest of days :).

However when the temperature goes below 32°F (0°C), blood vessels close to the skin start to narrow or constrict, this constriction of the blood vessels helps to preserve core body temperature by diverting blood toward the core and away from the cooler parts of the body.  When your Bulldog is exposed to extreme cold for a long period of time blood flow in some areas of the body, especially the extremities, to critically low levels. The combination of cold temperature and reduced blood flow can allow the tissues to freeze, causing severe tissue injury. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and in tissues with a lot of exposed surface area, as mentioned before the paws,tails and ears are the most vulnerable places you will see Frostbite.

Frostbite is very painful due to inflammation and clinical signs make take several days to even show. 

Look for early warning signs of frostbite:
*Discoloration of the affected area of skin - this discoloration is often pale, gray or bluish
*Coldness and/or brittleness of the area when touched
*Pain when you touch the body part
*Swelling of the affected area
*Blisters or skin ulcers
*Areas of blackened or dead skin

If you suspect your Bulldog has frostbite a trip to your Veterinarian is a must!  Since Thawing of tissue is extremely painful, Your Bully will be given a pain medication.  Antibiotics will be administered to prevent a secondary skin infection.  In severe cases if the tissue has died some dogs will require amputation of a severely affected area.

Please treat your Bulldogs with more care during the colder months so they will never have to experience the painful effects of frostbite. 



                                        WINTER CHEMICALS

ANTIFREEZE* The worst of all the wintertime chemical spills is antifreeze, which often leaks from a car's radiator. It may taste delicious to your Bulldogs, but it is Extremely Deadly! even the smallest sip can be fatal to your Bully! Better yet, keep your bulldren away from the garage and clean up any accidental spillage. You should also not let your bully wander too far during walks. You never know what dangers lie in your neighbors driveways?

ICE MELTERS*
Some people use a variety of Salt and ice-melters they can act as a skin irritant. Make sure to wash your Bulldogs feet off after coming indoors. Bulldogs having very short legs should also have their bellies cleaned with a warm towel after walks.



                         DOG TREADMILLS AND INDOOR WALKING
 
We can be thankful we have a very laid back easy going breed that will not complain if our schedules do not allow for a walk!  They will probably thank you for it.  Although Bulldogs are not an overly active breed it is still important to their health and well being to get daily mental/physical stimulation.  During the Winter months it makes it even harder to get them out for a walk and I know I don't like to go out when it is really cold and snowing, Being British we prefer the Balmier weather :)

So thats when I looked into purchasing a Treadmill for my Bulldren!  I know the idea of a Dog Treadmill probably sounds a little ridiculous to some but dogs of all kinds seem to love them!  There are a couple of brands who sell well made ones they are "Dog Pacer" and "PetZen" I prefer the Dog Pacer! It is sold in the USA but they ship worldwide and it will run you around $700cnd with shipping and Duty into Canada for the 3.1 model (which is what you will want for a Bulldog).   You can however use your home treadmill you have taking the right precautions they are just as well suited. 


Getting Started you will want to Spend a few days familiarizing your Bulldog with how it works. Use a slow speed and stand in front of the treadmill with a treat. Over three or four days, slowly increase the speed and the amount of time your bully spends on the treadmill. Work up to the same amount of time you normally spend on walks.  I will try and get a Video posted up soon of one of our Bulldren on ours!  You can also you tube Dog Pacer there's a ton of Videos to see -----

This is a great one of a Bulldog on it!  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibSMZdNgtVg



                        



                         JOINTS AND SWELLING IN COLD WEATHER

When it is Cold outside you may notice your Bulldog is more "Stiff" especially from waking up, the same as with us During the Colder months people tend to be more guarded. We clench up our fists and arms, we burrow into our coats and generally, tighten up our bodies to shield ourselves from the elements.  Dogs do the same and these defensive postures can cause more joint pain and stiffness.  You will also notice more "stiffness" in your Bulldogs joints in the Damp weather.

While their is no scientific data that weather exacerbates symptoms of joint swelling although there could be a link between low barometric pressure, high humidity and joint swelling.
This swelling causes stiffness of the joints, as well as pain. Cold weather stiffens muscles, which can be a contributing factor.

Bulldogs especially are more prone to developing Arthritis in life and this is mainly because Bulldogs ALL have some form of Hip dysplasia and are more prone to patella luxation also trauma as a puppy to growing limbs can also play a roll in Arthritis later in life so this is why we advice never to let growing Bulldog puppies jump from heights and be picked up and have their legs pulled on by small children as Bulldogs legs can be injured very easily.  These are just some factors that can play a roll in where joint swelling and pain can come during Cold and Damp weather.



        
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP RELIEVE JOINT PAIN AND SWELLING

There are some things we can do to help relieve the symptoms of joint stiffness and pain.  Firstly You can use a dehumidifier to maintain moisture level this will help relieve some of those symptoms.

Orthopedic dog beds for large dogs will help your Bully rest and reduce potential stiffness and achiness.

Moist heat does wonders for relieving pain. Fill heat packs with warm water and apply to painful joints. This is useful at the end of an active day, on cold winter evenings, and any other time you see your bulldog suffering from a flare-up

Eating off the floor adds strain to dogs necks and backs, especially if they’re already dealing with joint pain. To relieve strain, make the switch to raised dishes. Which you can adjust for perfect height. Ren's pet's who is one of our sponsor's sell some great ones, if you are located in Ontario.
 
Eliminating Grains from your Bulldogs Diet will also help tremendously
Grains increase inflammation, which makes arthritis and joint swelling worse. Check your dog’s food for ingredients such as wheat, corn, and rice. Dog foods often use these ingredients as cheap filler.  We feed our Bulldogs a High End Grain free diet only!  You will get what you pay for when you purchase dog food and don't you want only the Best for your Bully Best Friend? 

Lastly you can also Massage their legs,
Massage helps stimulate blood flow, reduce inflammation, and ease pain it's also a great time for bonding.

Hopefully you will find some of these simple but effective tips helpful for your Bulldog.  Any questions we are always here to help!





                              
                         VITAMINS WE RECOMMEND IN THE WINTER

Gloucosamine with Sulfatate (NO MSM) is something we give ALL our Bulldogs during the winter months! 
It is actually a natural constituent of cartilage, which is a tissue that supports joints so they move smoothly.  Glucosamine supplements put the substance back into the body and alleviate painful symptoms of common illnesses and joint pains. Since our babies cannot express pain as well as humans can, pain relief must be taken very seriously!

For every 25 pounds, your Bulldog should receive about 375 mg glucosamine sulfate (No MSM) once daily!  You can place the pill in a small piece of cheese or peanut butter I personally find sticking pills in pieces of Hotdogs works the best :)  Taking this supplement should most defiantly improve the health of your Bulldogs joints! 

             


        GET OUT AND ENJOY THE COOLER MONTHS MUCH AS YOU CAN

Weather you Enjoy the Winter and Snow or not it is always great for our Bulldren to get out of the house and get some fresh air and enjoy some fun in the snow with the family!      

A collection of pictures with some of our babies who enjoy to play in the snow!