Are you considering getting an English bulldog puppy or bringing one home soon? Knowing their stages of growth will give you a great idea of what having a puppy in your home will be like for the first year.
Every breed of dog follows a general timeline of growth and today we are going to explore the different stages of bulldog growth and when they reach adulthood.
So, when do English bulldogs stop growing? Generally, bulldogs are considered adults when they reach 12 months old, but continue to grow and develop up to 18 months old.According to the American Kennel Club, the breed standard is about 15 inches in height, and a weight of 50 pounds for males and 40 pounds for females. There is variation in time to full maturity and full size between individuals.
In this article, we are going to explore the different stages and milestones of the development of English bulldogs.
What are the different stages of development for English bulldogs?
At birth, English bulldog puppies (as well as every other breed) are blind and deaf, and completely reliant on their mother for food, warmth, and going to the bathroom.
They cannot regulate their own body temperature or control their bowels, and find their way around their litter purely by touch and smell.
Between ten and fourteen days, their eyes and ears finishdeveloping and open.
Bulldog puppies begin learning how to walk at about three weeks old. They crawl around their littermates and mother unsteadily. Between three and four weeks of age, they gain control of the bowels and no longer rely on their mother to use the bathroom.
Their puppy teeth begin to come in at around three weeks and they have all of them at six weeks. During this time, they begin to wean from their mother’s milk and start incorporating solid food into their diet.
By eight weeks old, the puppies can eat solid dog food exclusively. This is the earliest that the puppies should be placed into new homes. Their new owners can begin potty training and socialization at this age, as well as training commands and manners.
It is essential to acclimate a puppy to their paws and mouth being handled while at this age in order to make grooming and preventative care easier later on.
Socialization is extremely important between eight and eleven weeks of age, as this is the first fear impact period. There are multiple fear impact periods throughout a puppy’s development.
During these times, it is extremely important to make sure that puppies only have positive experiences with new people and situations. If they have a negative experience, they may be fearful of that thing for the rest of their lives.
At 12 weeks old their adult teeth start to come in and they will begin to lose their baby teeth. Owners often refer to this as the “teething stage,” although puppies go through the first stage at three to eight weeks old.
It is important to provide puppies with chew toys and discourage chewing or biting inappropriate objects.
Between 12 and 16 weeks, puppies should continue to be socialized and introduced to new people and places.
During this period of development, owners should continue with consistent training.
When puppies are six months old, they have lost all of their baby teeth and now have all of their adult teeth.
Between six months and a year old, they undergo another period of growth and another fear impact period. As before, is important to avoid negative experiences so that your dog does not form an aversion to certain people, places, or situations.
While English bulldogs are known for their sweet dispositions, do not be alarmed if they become slightly more reactive during this period of time. Remain calm and understanding, and focus on training and rewarding good behavior. Avoid punishment as it can reinforce anxious or fearful behavior.
40 weeks – 1 year
By the time bulldogs are a year old, they are considered adults but may continue to grow and mature until they are 18 months old. The exact timeframe is dependent on the individual dog and their genetics.
There are different schools of thought among veterinarians about the optimum time to spay a female or neuter a male dog. There have been recent studies that show the dog’s age at the time of surgery plays a role in the prevention of some diseases and chances of development of others.
However, more studies areneeded to get a better understanding of the relationship between age and effects across different breeds.
As of now, the American Animal Hospital Association states that, in general, small breeds (under 45 pounds) should be spayed or neutered around six months of age, and males of large breeds (over 45 pounds) should be neutered after growth stops.
The timing of spaying for females of large breeds is dependent on a variety of factors that are best discussed with a veterinarian.
What do you feed an English bulldog puppy?
Now that we’ve discussed the different physical and social developmental stages for English bulldogs, let’s talk about nutrition.
It is important that growing puppies and young dogs receive adequate nutrition to ensure healthy development. There are foods formulated specifically for puppies and adolescents that provide different nutrient ratios than adult dog foods.
It is also necessary to divide meals up into smaller portions more frequently throughout the day for the puppy’s first few months. They require a lot of food to grow but have relatively small stomachs.
Puppy food contains more fat and protein than adult dog foodand is more calorie-dense as a result. Other nutrients, like omega fatty acids, are also found in higher concentrations in puppy food.
Buy food with an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement (more on that here) and is made by a manufacturer that meets certain criteria. The manufacturer (whose name should be found on the packaging) should not be listed as the store where you are buying the food.
They should also have strict quality control, have a full-time veterinary nutritionist on staff, and perform clinical feeding trials that meet AAFCO standards.
These standards cannot be determined by simply reading the label of the food, so it is wise to research the manufacturer before purchasing the product.
The best way to ensure that your puppy is getting adequate nutrition is to have a discussion with your veterinarian. They can help you calculate the correct amount of calories your bulldog needs as they grow, as well as recommend good foods.
Are veterinary visits important for English bulldog puppies?
This article would not be complete without a brief look into veterinary visits and vaccines. Preventative care and regular veterinary visits for your puppy will ensure that they go through a healthy growth process.
English bulldogs are prone to many health issues due to very little genetic variation between individuals, and any genetic conditions should be diagnosed and addressed as soon as possible.
Vaccines are another vital part of caring for your English bulldog puppy. When puppies are born, they receive antibodies from their mother that provides them with some immunity to disease for their first few weeks of life.
However, this immunity wears off and vaccines are used to provide protection to protect your dog.
A lot of breeders will begin vaccination protocols at six weeks of age. Typically, puppies receive an initial vaccine protecting against multiple viruses, one of which is parvovirus, or “parvo.”
Unfortunately, this is a relatively common illness among puppies that has a high mortality rate and often requires hospitalization to give the best chances of recovery. This vaccine is typically given every three to four weeks until at least sixteen weeks of age.
Other vaccines that are commonly given during this time include the leptospirosis vaccine, kennel cough vaccine, and influenza vaccine. Puppies can receive their rabies vaccine after they reach fourteen weeks.
These vaccines are spread out over multiple visits and most of them require “boosters.”
Puppies also need to be tested for internal parasites. These include a few different kinds of intestinal worms, as well as heartworms.
Your veterinarian will likely request a stool sample to see if there are any roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, or tapeworms in your bulldog’s intestinal tract.
If your puppy ends up having intestinal worms, early treatment is necessary to eliminate them and prevent life-threatening problems.
Veterinarians test for heartworms through a small blood sample. Heartworms are serious and life-threatening, and require immediate treatment.
So, how can you prevent your bulldog puppy from getting parasites?
The best course of action is to start flea and tick preventatives and heartworm preventatives. Your veterinarian can explain the different types available and direct you towards the best one for your puppy.
The growth process of English bulldogs can take as long as 18 months, but they are considered adult dogs at one year old.
During this time, it is important to provide your puppy with proper socialization, training, nutrition, and healthcare.
Giving your companion a healthy beginning will maximize the chances of good health in the years to come.
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