You may have noticed that your English Bulldog eats ... well ... almost anything! There's a reason for this. Although dogs are classed among the meat eaters, they are actually omnivorous creatures. They'll eat anything from carrots to cockroaches. They'll even eat garbage! English Bulldog's especially were not meant to be pampered pets, although that is what they have become. Most of them have an adventurous appetite and will eat whatever they can find. They didn't survive through their earliest years by being coddled.
As you probably already know, what your English Bulldog eats has a tremendous impact on his well-being. However, to better understand what and how often to feed your English Bulldog , it's important to understand how the English Bulldog's digestive system works, as well as what nutrients are needed to keep him healthy.
It's not a surprise to learn that English Bulldogs have much better sniffers than we do. How well the smell mostly depends on the size of the nose - The bigger the nose ... The better the smeller! We humans have about 40 million odor receptors lining the olfactory epithelium; big-nosed dogs have about 200 million of them. Great nosers like Bloodhounds are good at their jobs because the have big noses in addition to a very determined attitude. The English Bulldog will never match "big-nosed" breeds in this regard ... but the Bulldog still 'sniffs' much better than we ever will
The tongue is a complicated, muscular organ that helps your dog take in, chew, and swallow food. English Bulldogs also use it (rather inefficiently) to drink. In order to drink, a dog has to move his tongue around the water bowl a lot, and he ends up taking in air as well as water, ESPECIALLY WHEN HE'S A PUPPY and still not very good at it. That's why an English Bulldog puppy will often end up with hiccups after drinking. Bulldogs have tastebuds on their tongues, too, just as we do, to distinguish flavors. The difference is that they don't have as many. They can also detect sour, sweet, and salt taste. Their fewer taste buds make Bulldogs more adventuresome in the matter of taste then humans. In other words, they tend to gobble down anything. In the wild, where dogs lived in packs and competed for food, this was a valuable trick, but in today's world, this is a habit that can get a English Bulldog into trouble.
English Bulldog's have four pairs of salivary glands that produce (what else) Saliva. Saliva is a remarkable substance that lubricates the inside of the mouth, helps food go down easier, and even contains enzymes that start the bulldog's digestive process.
Like all dogs, cats and humans, the jaws are made of two bones: the upper jaw, or (maxilla) - and the lower jaw, or (mandibile). The shape of the jaw determines how the teeth are placed. English Bulldogs are knows as Brachycephalic, meaning they have short, wide muzzles.
Both sets of the English Bulldog's jaws are lined with teeth. These include incisors for cutting and nibbling, canines for holding and tearing, pre-molars for cutting, sheering & holding, and molars for grinding. Like most mammals, bulldogs have 28 deciduous, or baby, teeth that fall out and are replaced by 42 permanent teeth. The baby teeth start coming in when the bulldog puppy is 3 or 4 weeks old; the permanent teeth begin to erupt between the ages of 3 and 4 months. Most people can't wait for this to happen, because the English Bulldogs baby teeth are sharp. In some cases, the baby tooth doesn't fall out when it should. If this happens, misaligned permanent teeth can result. Ask your vet to remove the errant baby tooth.
The tooth has a crown above the gum and a root below. The carnassial tooth, that big pre-molar, has three roots! In the center of the tooth is the pulp, consisting of tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Surrounding the pulp is the bone-hard dentin that makes up most of the English Bulldogs tooth and capping it all is the enamel, which is even harder then the Bulldogs bone (this explains why dogs can eat bones).
Swallowing foods takes the meal to its next destination, the esophageus, which is a fairly wide, elastic tube lined with muscles. The width of the esophageus can be a problem for the English Bulldog; bulldogs are able to swallow much larger items then they can comfortably digest. Unfortunately, sharp bones and other bad things can go down the bulldogs espophageus with ease, only to become jammed in the bulldogs stomach or small intestine.
Food is squeezed through the English Bulldogs esophageus by a process called "pristalsis", in which the Bulldogs muscles contract in a wave beginning at the top, and ending at the bulldogs stomach. The Bulldog's esophageus takes a sharp turn when it reaches the stomach to prevent food and stomach acids from being regurgitated back into the Bulldog's mouth.
The stomach of the English Bulldog is located within the left side of the abdomen. It contains glands that excrete mucus, hydrochloric acid, and digestive enzymes. The pylorus is a heavy band of muscle that closes the opening of the Bulldog's stomach which leads into the intestine.
The job of the English Bulldog's stomach is to store and mix the food. Because the Englich Bulldog's historic ability to find and gulp game at one shot, so to speak, the Bulldog's tummy is able to expand tremendously- holding between one and ten quarts of food, water, garbage, or tin foil depending on the size and inclination of the Bulldog.
The stomach of the English Bulldog is divided into three regions from front to back: the Cardiac Region, the Fundic Region, and the Pyloric Rregion. The glands of the Bulldog's fundic region add acids and a pepsin-producing enzyme that begin the digestion of protein in the food by breaking down connectinve and muscle tissue. Moreover, gastric acids help kill bacteria, parasites, and viruses that enter the Bulldog's gastointestinal track. Pepsin also plays a part in aiding the absorbtion of calcium, iron and vitamin B in the English Bulldog.
The glands of the Pyloric Region produce a mucus that protects the stomach wall of the English Bulldog from the potentially distructive enzymens and acids of the Fundic Region. The mucus also helps to keep the food moist.
Peristaltic waves spread through the stomach of the English Bulldog. This is sort of like a biological cement mixer in the Bulldog's body. Food mixed with stomach slime is called "Chyme". The food stays in the stomach of the English Bulldog for only 3 to 4 hours before moving along the digestive track. When the Buldlog's "Chyme" reaches the proper degree of sliminess, it slips through the Pyloric Sphincter to its next station, the Bulldog's small intestine.
The small intestine of the English Bulldog is where it all gets broken down. The English Bulldogs small intestine takes up almost 1/4 of the total gastointestinal volume in its body.
The first part of the Bulldog's small intestine in the duodenum, which produces a thick alkaline excretion that neurtalizes the acid food from the Bulldog's tummy. The English Bulldog's Pancreas also ships in some digestive enzymes to help break down the food.
The English Bulldog's intestinal lining is covered with small projections called Villi. These projections, which are loaded with tiny microvilli greatly increase the surface area of the small intestine of the Bulldog. As a matter of fact, the Villi of a medium size Bulldog provide an absorptive surface the size of a good sized bathroom. From the small intestines of the Bulldog, nutrients pass into the Bulldog's bloodstream and its lymph system. The English Bulldog's small intestine also handles the transport of Carbohydrates and Protein.
The large intestine of the English Bulldog has a large diameter, although it's shorter then the small intestine. In form, it is a simple tube that is shaped like a question mark.
The most important function of the English Bulldog's large intestine is to dry out the waste material it receives from the small intestine, thereby conserving a great deal of water. The English Bulldog would need to drink a lot more water if they didn't have a large intestine.
Everything, of course, exit through the Anus of the English Bulldog. The anal region comprises of the anal canal and its associated structures. There are many glands within the Bulldog that associate with the anal region; the circumanal glands, the anal glands proper, and the numerous microscopic glands located in the walls of the anal sacs. Sometimes these glands are called "Scent" glands.