When you buy a puppy from Fog City Bulldogs, we understand what you’re signing up for – awesome pet, not animal charity case – and we try to do the right thing in the rare case of a total lemon. But a health guarantee is not a guarantee your dog will be free of health care needs, even some major ones. After all, you’re buying a living creature. Your bulldog will need routine veterinary care, and may experience ‘common’ breed issues, in addition to accidents, illnesses, or injuries unrelated to genetics.
Every vet and bulldog owner will tell you, these are expensive dogs to care for. Over the course of your dog’s life, spending upwards of $10K on spay / neuter, routine checkups, disease prevention, prescriptions, and other treatments (eye issues, palate surgery, possible skin issues, injuries, some sort of stomach bug, etc.) is more probable than not. If you buy pet insurance, you’re guaranteed to spend nearly that much, though it could save you money in the long run and will likely cushion you from huge hits when accidents strike. Add in food, vitamins, toys, beds, training, dog walkers, boarding, etc. – this is not a commitment to be taken lightly. If you are not prepared to spend $10,000 – $15,000 – possibly much more – over the course of your pet’s life, a bulldog is not the breed for you.
Part of our mission is to change the public perception that bulldogs are particularly high-maintenance, and the most effective way of doing that is for our customers to have extremely positive experiences with their furry companions. That’s why we try to be available to our families to provide feedback, support, and experience-based insight on any issues. Often we can save our families heartache and money with simple home remedies, purchasing guidance, or at least, reassurance.
We never breed dogs with known genetic issues and we never sell dogs with known issues. We would much rather keep a questionable puppy than risk having a family become attached to it and have to deal with issues that could have been foreseen. Of course, not everything is foreseeable, so we do offer a one-year health guarantee and will gladly replace a puppy that has a compromised quality of life due to a genetic issue.
Many genetic defects become apparent with the first weeks after birth. So even before they are introduced to families, the puppies have been checked multiple times for common issues like cleft palates and heart murmurs. However, sometimes previously undetectable issues can emerge, so we guarantee against major genetic defects for approximately a year. We wouldn’t necessarily hold tight to the date: 12 months and 14 months, it’s the same impact; 12 months versus four years is not the same.
The following are examples of major, uncommon issues that truly compromise the quality of the dog’s life and of your life in terms of caring for it: bad hips or spine, dog cannot walk well; congestive heart failure, dog will likely die very young. Things we cannot guarantee against / common issues: parasites, undescended testicles, eye problems, allergies, skin issues, respiratory infections, needing a palate resection – these are issues that come with bulldog territory and which don’t impact too much the quality of their life or yours, but which will require treatment, which can be costly.
Basically, if your dog is simply too unhealthy to fulfill his or her mission as a couch potato and companion, and if this is diagnosed within a reasonable amount of time and is not reasonably treatable, then we would replace your dog or give you a refund. To be very clear – you would return the dog for a full refund, or you would return the dog for a replacement. There is not a scenario where you keep the dog and receive a full refund. There is also no scenario where you keep the dog but we pay for its medical care.
While this might not sound very reassuring to you, you should know that our rate of anyone actually needing to exercise this right with us is around 1%. We’re pretty conscientious breeders, always trying to improve upon litters. We have a fair amount of information about many of the dogs we have sold, either through social media, seeing each other at bulldog meetups, or via direct communication with the family. I truly believe that very few of my puppy families believe they received a ‘bad’ dog reflective of ‘bad breeding’, that should not have been sold – even amongst families who have had many health ‘adventures’.
Our contract to you is as follows:
SHORT-TERM HEALTH GUARANTEE: Seller guarantees that puppy is free of life-threatening diseases or disabilities (i.e., parvo, etc.) for ten days after delivery to Buyer, and free of any genetic defects, not commonly found within the breed and detrimental to the puppy’s health, for one year from the puppy’s date of birth.
Admittedly the language is pretty vague. It’s hard to be specific and comprehensive, and not all issues would be covered for all customers. For example, if a male dog has undescended testes, this is not a ‘covered’ issue for a pet family that did not purchase breeding rights and would neuter anyways. But, if someone bought breeding rights and then didn’t want to reproduce a dog with undescended testes, then they would get a replacement dog. In both cases the customer is getting what they purchased – a loving pet or a suitable breeding dog.
I hope this provides some clarity and reassurance. Please feel free to contact me with questions.
Now that you’ve found your new puppy, you need to get physically and mentally prepared to bring your puppy home. The only things your puppy really needs are food, water, love, and a safe place to sleep, but pet stores are just so much fun, and there’s so much you can buy….our puppy shopping list is a good place to start. Answers to non-retail related commonly asked questions are found below.
We have made sure your puppy is vaccinated, and you need to do so too.
Puppies receive multiple rounds of shots in the first four months of their lives. Depending on how old your puppy is when you take him home, you’ll be responsible for 1 – 3 rounds of shots. We typically vaccinate on a 6, 9, 12.5, and 16 week schedule. If you take your puppy home at eight weeks, you’ll be responsible for ensuring he gets three rounds of shots. If your puppy is 13 weeks old when you take him home, you’ll only need to get the final round of shots.
In addition to the standard puppy shots, the vet can recommend and administer heartworm medicine, dietary supplements (vitamins), and flea and tick control. Not all dogs need all vaccines, so be sure to speak with your vet about your puppy’s lifestyle (where he goes, what he’s exposed to – do you have a mountain home, etc.) to make sure he’s getting the right coverage.
Note: on occasion, the Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine causes more harm than good. Google it; you’ll be terrified. If your puppy is not going to a day care or kennel requiring this vaccine, consider not getting it. If you must get it for your dog, ask for the inactivated version, rather than the modified live virus version.
Your puppy is microchipped. This step is not complete.
Your puppy is microchipped. The paperwork I give you will include the microchip number. You need to register the microchip at akcreunite.org with your contact information or else it’s kind of worthless. A microchip is not the same as RFID – you cannot track your puppy if he’s lost; it serves to find you if he’s found.
Is my puppy potty trained?
Nope. Your puppy has not had any formal potty training. He doesn’t know potty is exclusively an outside activity – this is something you will need to teach him through repetition. I am a fan of crate training but do not necessarily recommend an indoor fenced area / play pen with pee pad. The play pen / pee pad solution ultimately makes it harder to train them.
When you take him home, your puppy should be able to last for several hours without potty breaks. You’ll get a sense of his bladder / potty control your first night together. Don’t set your alarm to take him out. Just take him out right before you go to sleep – even if that means waking him up – and right when you get up. You’ll need to take him out in the middle of the night if he cries to alert you that he needs to go potty. For the first couple months, don’t let him walk out of his crate (he might pee right there on the floor). Pick him up and carry him to where you want him to go. In the early days I recommend limiting his freedom inside the house to avoid accidents – he should be held or crated almost all the time while inside. You can use a large plastic bin as a “mobile crate” in your home. That way he can be right where you are and have good visibility, and still not have any freedom. These photos illustrate what I’m talking about.
What is my puppy eating?
Your puppy is fully weaned onto dry kibble, which I moisten with water so that it expands before it gets in his stomach. This is a good habit to maintain as your dog grows – hydration is as important for dogs as it is for people. I’ll send you home with a small bag of the food he’s been eating. Mix that food 50/50 with whatever food you decide to buy until what I’ve given you is gone. Please do not wait until what I have given you runs out; that defeats the purpose of gently transitioning their food.
Bulldogs are known for having sensitive digestive systems, so we recommend feeding your dog a grain-free food that is red meat or fish-based (no chicken or turkey). We recommend Natural Balance LID (limited ingredient diet) Bison and Sweet Potato Puppy Food or Taste of the Wild Prairie Diet, but most importantly, want it to be a brand you can source relatively easily.
Additionally, consider combining any of the following into your dog’s food for added nutrition and digestive support: goat’s milk yogurt, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin, fish oil. Long term, adding a gently cooked egg and small bits of fruits and vegetables to your dog’s food provides added nutrition. However, please familiarize yourself with this list of people foods your dog shouldn’t eat.
If your puppy is a gas-making machine, let me know what he is eating and we’ll switch it up. Excessive gas is often a sign your dog is eating the wrong food and isn’t something you have to live with indefinitely.
When should I start my dog on flea medication?
I recommend starting your dog on preventative flea and heartworm medication before age 6 months. You can get a combination medication, such as Trifexis, or use two different medications to get the job done. For some dogs Trifexis can be a little hard on the stomach, which is why your vet may recommend two separate products. My personal preference is for pills, rather than a topical flea ointment or collar. Heartworm medications are issued with a prescription, which you’ll need to get from your vet.
If your dog has a flea outbreak before you have a chance to put him on meds, a bath in blue Dawn dish soap (seriously – suds him up and let it sit for five minutes) and Capstar will get rid of the little buggers.
Can my dog meet other dogs?
We recommend that you don’t let your puppy play with dogs you don’t know, unless it’s part of puppy training class, before he or she is completely finished with puppy shots. Your friends’ dogs are fine but avoid dog parks – too many germs, and too many big dogs – until your dog is more vaccinated. The concern is primarily related to how the dogs interact and whether or not a larger dog will be sufficiently gentle. Your puppy is well-vaccinated and is unlikely to pick-up any dangerous diseases from other well-cared for dogs.
What else should I be worried about?
At this age, the biggest health risk to your dog is pneumonia. Don’t spend a lot of time with him outdoors unless it’s warm. If he gets a cold (colored snot) he needs antibiotics. It’s important to treat a cold quickly as it can quickly escalate into something more severe.
Do I need to hire a dog trainer or attend puppy classes?
A well-trained dog is a joy and if you have any doubts about your ability to train your dog, it’s a worthwhile investment. We’ve seen people have really transformative experiences after just one session. After all, dog training is largely about teaching you how to communicate with your dog. San Francisco-based pet owners have a number of excellent training options available ranging from single one-on-one sessions to regular group walks and play dates, which we’re happy to share with our new puppy owners.
Additionally, this trainer has a good library with puppy-related articles.
Do I need to get pet insurance?
It’s a pretty good idea, especially if you’re getting an English bulldog. A separate post on this topic is coming soon.
Your puppy truly doesn’t need much more than warmth, food, and love, but for those who want want to feel fully prepared, here’s are some basics you’ll want to get for your new puppy.
Bed / Crate – We recommend crate-training as part of the potty training process. So you’re not buying multiple crates, purchase a crate that will be large enough for your puppy to use as an adult, if you anticipate crating your adult dog. Recommended crates include:
Precision Pet 2000 – French Bulldogs
Precision Pet 3000 – Large French Bulldogs / Small English Bulldogs
Precision Pet 4000 – English Bulldogs
ModernPuppies Puppy Training Apartment – Ideal for French bulldog puppies living in condos or apartments without easy access to the outdoors. Use code FCB94080 to save 5%.
Dog Bed – Delay this purchase for a few weeks until potty training is well underway; dog beds can be too bulky to wash. In the meantime, use old towels or blankets to line your puppy’s crate.
Bowls – We have a bias towards heavy ceramic bowls that are difficult for your dog to pick up or knock over. As your dog grows, an elevated dog feeder has benefits beyond the cosmetic.
Chew Toys – You’ll need to teach your puppy what he or she is allowed to chew on and it will probably take an assortment of toys in a range of textures for you to figure out what your dog really likes. Toys that are the least likely to break apart are best, such as Kong brand toys and Nylabones. We discourage using rawhide and bully sticks, because it disintegrates and becomes a choking hazard. Once your dog’s toys start falling apart, please discard them. Here are some of our favorites and others that have been recommended to us:
Himalayan Dog Chews
Kong Squeezz Jels
Fire Hose Material Toys
Extreme KONG Toys
Crazy Critters – stuffed animals without the stuffing
Kong Wild Knots Toys – stuffed animals without the stuffing
Everlasting Treat Ball – not ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
If your dog is chewing on things he’s not allowed to chew on, Bitter Apple Spray is a good training tool (as is chili oil).
Collar / Harness / Leash / Tag – You may want a collar for his name tag / your phone number. For walking, we recommend attaching the leash to a harness, rather than to a collar. Your puppy will double or triple in size in the first few months, so buy a harness that will adjust as he grows.
Poop Bags – Please don’t be that person.
Treats – As much as you’ll want to spoil the new little love of your life, be disciplined about only giving your puppy treats when they are earned and training will go much faster. Look for treats with limited ingredients (think healthy treats, not junk food). We use a lot of sweet potato and liver treats. If you don’t have treats on hand, a few pieces of kibble serve the same purpose. After all, the dog is rewarded with your praise and something to nibble; it doesn’t have to taste like bacon.
Shampoo – You can use J&J baby shampoo – it’s no better or worse than most pet shampoos. Bulldogs are known for having skin issues, so we like these two brands of medicated shampoo:
After bathing, make sure to thoroughly dry your puppy between any folds and wrinkles (face, under the tail, between the toes).
Wipes – Wiping your dog daily will go a long way. You can start with baby wipes and if you need something more medicinal – for problem areas prone to infection – this is what your vet would recommend.
Nail Clippers – A lot of dogs hate having their nails trimmed. They key is to not be too aggressive with the clippers (a slight nick of their fingers will result in a surprising amount of blood) and to reward your dog’s tolerance when he lets you cut his nails.
Dental Care – If you have the discipline to do so, there’s no better dental care than brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. If you can’t quite pull that off, we recommend a regular supply of Checkups, Greenies or Zuke’s bones. Long term, dental care is something you’ll want to focus on as gum disease is common amongst dogs. You’ll do well to establish habits targeting oral hygiene. Note that most of these dental treats are not recommended for dogs before six months of age (but it’s never too early to start brushing).
** Discounts **