Just as you and I watch our weight (or at least try to), we need to do the same for our pets, especially those of us that have English Bulldogs. Experts say that obesity is the fourth leading cause of death in pets. With odds like that, we must learn to be more aware of our pets’ weight and exercise routine. Daily walks, plenty of playtime at home and the right foods is the perfect start for a diet and a long, healthy, happy life – for you and your Bulldog.
Do a quick rub down of your Bulldog. Can you feel a hint of his ribs? Or does it seem your pup’s skeletal structure is made from the left-overs of last night? If you cannot feel the ribs, this may be a good indication that he needs a bit more exercise. But before you strap on the tennis shoes and snap on the leash, you must take your dog’s physical condition into consideration. Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat because of their short snouts. Also, their stocky build and short legs makes exercise more of a task – they have a lot of weight to pull around for the size of their legs.
Short, leisurely walks in the cooler temperatures of the summer evenings should be the starting point for you and your Bulldog, especially if he is overweight. Allow him to get used to these walks, going a little further each time. You want the walks to be fun, not dangerous. If you sense your Bulldog is getting tired, shorten the walk or slow the pace. Overheating is a serious condition which can cause exhaustion, fainting and even death. Take along extra water and a bowl to keep him hydrated and cool.
If you feel a walk may be too arduous for your Bulldog at this point, try a little extra play time in the house. Get a favorite toy and play fetch! Any kind of romping around will greatly help your pup’s metabolism, heart rate and circulation.
And, of course, keep a close eye on your English Bulldog’s food intake. Try cutting back on the table scraps, treats and that extra scoop of food. Consult with your veterinarian to find an appropriate amount of food to be feeding your pup along with how many meals per day. Getting our English Bulldogs on a regular feeding schedule along with some extra play and exercise will dramatically help their weight and, even more important, their health.