Dog allergies are common to various breeds and unfortunately your English Bulldog is no exception. So if your little guy/girl is scratching or biting his skin, has red or swollen foot pads, skin flap odor or discharge, itchy, flaky skin, or scabs on his belly, it is likely he/she is suffering from allergies.
Dogs can be allergic to the same substances, or allergens, as people are and may exhibit similar symptoms as well. Some you might recognize are hives or itchy skin, sneezing, wheezing, diarrhea or vomiting. When you notice any of these in your English Bulldog you should begin testing, often by process of elimination, the environmental and food substances your dog has contact with in order to determine the cause of his allergy.
Your dog may be allergic to his bedding material, laundry detergent, or one of your cleaning products. Get rid of or wash your dog’s bedding – in a hypoallergenic detergent – and change cleaning products. If he gets relief, elimination of these materials should resolve his contact allergy symptoms. He may also be allergic to an inhalant, and therefore you should stop using sprays, perfumes, and air fresheners in your home. Or, he might be allergic to dust, mold or mildew, or naturally occurring outdoor grasses or weeds. If you cannot keep your bullie away from such allergens, you may only be able to treat the effects/allergic symptoms, which will most likely show up as hives, or may result in swollen foot pads.
All dogs naturally carry bacteria on their skin, however some develop allergies to this bacteria. Since English Bulldogs carry so much bacteria in their claws, it is easy for them to contract infections through the broken skin caused by scratching. Additionally, due to their wrinkled skin, English Bulldogs are especially susceptible to developing yeast infections, evident by odor and discharge between skin folds. You should check your dog’s skin folds, especially in the summer months, to prevent such infections. The most common treatments for the above allergies are hypoallergenic baths, antihistamines such as Benadryl, and steroids.
Fleas and flea saliva, which gets under a dog’s skin, also cause dog allergies. These reactions can be severe, causing excessive skin biting, leading to bald patches. You should be vigilant with your dog’s flea control; however, when those fleas do bite, you can likely treat your dog safely with Benadryl.
As per food, English Bulldogs are most prone to grain food allergies. If your dog vomits, especially with mucus, you must re-evaluate your bulldog’s diet. You might opt for “grain free” food, or begin a food test, starting him on hypoallergenic food for 8-12 weeks (until his system is clear of the old foods), and slowly reintroducing one new food per week into his diet. As soon as your dog shows allergic symptoms again, you know exactly what food you need to eliminate from his diet.