english bulldog allergies
Category_Dog Knowledge

English Bulldog Allergies and Skin Allergies: Symptoms and Causes

by Andrew Ehlert

So, you finally did it. You brought home your Bulldog and are ready to love, pamper, spoil, and of course, feed them. Like every other pet parent, you want a healthy, happy pup and will do everything in your power to make sure your dog is well taken care of.

So, what do you do when your bully starts scratching or suffering from an upset stomach? What could it be, and how can you present it?

English Bulldog Allergies

Bulldogs are lovely family pets. They are gentle, calm, playful, and above all, loyal. Their lively and silly nature makes them excellent companions, and their distinctive faces —with all those wrinkles and folds— make people fall in love with them the moment they hear them snort.

The bad news is that Bulldogs are incredibly prone to allergies, and most of them will suffer from them after being exposed to food ingredients for an extended period.

This prolonged exposure is called sensitization. It means that the dog develops the allergy through exposure, so it's not an immediate reaction when they try the particular food.

However, after eating the same food for an extended period of time, they may start showing signs of allergies. The good news is that these allergies are usually very easy to treat.

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What Do Allergies Look Like in Dogs?

Let's start by looking at what allergies look like in a dog, specifically a Bulldog. Dogs suffering from allergies may show one or several of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin
  • Dermatitis or eczema, which might be challenging to spot and treat in Bulldogs due to the folds in their skin
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears or even chronic ear infections
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, etc.
  • Constant licking (especially their paws)
  • Runny eyes

When it comes to Bulldogs, the symptoms you definitely need to look out for are dermatitis and folliculitis, which can develop inside those lovely folds of skin (and which makes them not only hard to detect but puts your buddy at a higher risk of developing infections) and muzzle acne.

You want to be on the lookout for itchiness and irritation around your bully's skin folds, paying extra special attention to the face and the ears.

If you notice your bully develops itchiness and redness in his ears accompanied by a brown waxy discharge, or oily and flaky skin, you are most probably looking at an allergic reaction.

What Type of Allergies Do Bulldogs Have?

Bulldogs can develop several types of allergies, including:

  • Environmental allergies (allergies caused by something in their environment)
  • Allergies to food ingredients
  • Contact allergies (something that touches their skin)
  • Genetic (less common, but is passed on by the parents)

Let's take a deeper look at each of these allergies.

Environmental Allergies

Bulldogs' short coats and short stature mean they are always at risk of coming in contact with an irritant that can trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction can be caused by grass, wood shavings, a plant, and many other natural triggers.

They can also suffer from pollen allergies and dust mites. If your bully goes outside and comes in contact with an allergen on the ground, the odds are, they will show symptoms.

Skin Allergies

The folds of skin that we love so much in our bullies are also the main reason they are prone to skin allergies. As the skin folds on itself, the folds themselves can become filled with bacteria, leading to conditions like dermatitis, folliculitis, muzzle acne, and even bacterial infections.

These conditions manifest in the shape of irritation around their lovely wrinkles, so be very, very vigilant and always check the skin folds around your bully's ears, eyes, paws, and face.


Purebred dogs are particularly susceptible to developing certain health conditions. In the case of Bulldogs, one of these health conditions is allergies.

Food Allergies

Most food allergies in dogs are a response to a specific type of protein. The most common proteins that cause allergies in bulldogs are beef, chicken, and pork.

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My Bulldog Has Allergies. What Can I Do?

Suppose you notice your Bulldog is struggling with any of the symptoms associated with allergies. In that case, the first thing you need to do is take them to the vet to make sure nothing else is wrong.

Some of the symptoms listed here for allergies can also occur with other health conditions, so it is better to have your bully checked by your vet to ensure everything else is okay. After the vet confirms that your bully is suffering from allergies, it is time to figure out what to do to prevent them.

Bulldogs are very sensitive to food allergens, which means you have to be very, very careful about the ingredients in the food you are giving them.

These are some of the most common food allergens that Bulldogs are more susceptible to:

  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Food dyes and artificial preservatives
  • Artificial seasonings
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Chicken

Unfortunately, food allergies are notoriously tricky to diagnose and pinpoint, so the best course of action might be to avoid foods that contain some of the ingredients mentioned above.

What Should I Feed My Bully to Avoid Allergic Reactions?

Your best bet is to buy quality food that is made with Lamb or Bison protein. There are foods in the market that are specially formulated for your Bulldog.

These particular foods are not a special diet per se, but very high-quality foods that contain natural ingredients, free of preservatives and dyes.

The problem with lower-grade food is that it may contain unlabeled ingredients, which may pose a danger to your Bulldog's health. So, when it comes to food, your best option is choosing high-quality food that contains the right amount of protein and is easy to digest.

If you notice that your Bulldog reacts to a particular ingredient in food, simply remove it from their diet, and switch to a higher-quality food.

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