James Livingood has been a dog sitter for several years. He has written numerous articles and a book about the topic because he loves dogs.
Dr. Mark, U of Missouri Veterinary Medicine grad with 40+ years of experience in the field
Bulldog wrinkles are adorable; however, a wrinkle infection is not very cute. As a Bulldog grows older, they become more prone to these infections. It is a sad but inevitable fact of life. Beyond causing a smell, they can be frustrating to the dog on multiple levels.
Here are a number of signs to look for and actions to take to get rid of and prevent wrinkle infections from happening in the first place. The ultimate goal is both your comfort and your dog's comfort as well.
Signs of a Wrinkle Infection
- Face rubbing: If your dog is rubbing their face more than usual, that could be the first sign of a skin infection. Once or twice is somewhat normal, but constant face rubbing is different. Please note that this doesn’t just mean rubbing it with their paws. They may be rubbing their face on the ground or on furniture. An occasional itch is much different than constant face rubbing.
- Redness: When you look at the folds of skin and see additional redness, that could be a sign of infection. In addition, their skin may look dry and flaky. Don’t be afraid to move the folds of skin around, as the redness may be in an area not easily seen.
- Odor: If you can smell an unpleasant odor coming from their face, imagine how they feel! Our noses are nowhere near as sensitive as theirs. This is one of the more accurate signs of a potential infection. Please note that if you smell their face, their breath may be the cause of the odor.
Treatment of an Existing Infection
The absolute best thing you can do is call your veterinary office. They can give you information suited to your individual dog’s needs. This can be based on weight, lifestyle, and other factors. In addition, they keep up with the latest products and preventative trends. If you don’t have the luxury of contacting your vet’s office (because of cost or time), here are some additional things to try.
The cause of wrinkle infection is dirt and wetness getting in the folds. While your instinct to wash your dog may work (especially if you dry well), the best solution may be topical wipes. Amazon has a number of these wipes ranging from $11–25. Some Bulldog owners create their own wipes, but these homemade formulas can be dangerous, especially if the dog licks or grooms their face during the process.
Creams work similar to wipes but often have additional soothing benefits. Again, don’t use creams designed for humans, such as diaper rash cream or unique antibiotic ointment. Often times dogs will lick their face during this process, which may cause them to ingest harmful substances. Your veterinary office will be able to suggest the right combination for your canine.
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There is an amazing selection of shampoos dedicated to Bulldog wrinkle care. The biggest concern when using one of these products is ensuring that the dog is completely dry afterwards. That means cleaning and drying inside the folds as well. If that step does not occur, the infection can become worse and spread. In addition, do not let shampoo or soap products “sit” on the skin for a long time, as this can also cause additional irritation.
Preventing Future Infections
- Wipe wrinkles twice a week: The best way to solve future outbreaks is to make sure they keep their skin folds clean. Many Bulldogs are messy eaters which can get into the folds of their skin. In addition, they may enjoy playing around outside, which can force dirt into their wrinkles. By creating a practice of wiping out the wrinkles every few days, it helps prevent any infection from taking hold. However, do not combine this with baths every few days. Having this many baths can cause the rest of the skin to have oils that dry out. This can lead to future irritation.
- Regular bathing: If your canine decided to roll around in the mud puddle at the local dog park, it might be time for a bath. Again, these bathes should be spaced out far apart and not done multiple times per week. Usually, once a month or less is recommended.
- Remedy dryness: If you notice that your Bulldog’s wrinkles are becoming dry, but not infected, you may need to add some moisture. Many dog owners swear by Vaseline, but again, dogs can lick this off. In addition, it can cause diarrhea in some dogs. Small amounts of Vaseline will not hurt a Bulldog, but it is still best to use a product suggested by your veterinary office. As an alternative, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and when the dog licks it off, it can actually improve their coat condition.
- Weight control/loss: While Bulldogs are bred to have many wrinkles, weight loss or weight control can help reduce the risk. It can be difficult for this breed to lose weight, but it's worth the effort if needed.
Commonly Asked Questions and Fun Facts About Bulldogs
Where can I find a Bulldog to adopt?
The best place to start is your local shelter. If they don’t have a dog, or you don’t know where that local shelter is located, you can go to RescueBulldogs.org. From there, you can look up your location and learn more about the individual dogs. Do not go to your local pet store, as dogs found there can be from puppy mills. Please note that pet stores may use the word “rescue” even though the dog is from a puppy mill. Start with your local shelter and look for an actual rescue, not a fake one.
Why do they cost so much?
Bulldogs need to be birthed using a complicated c-section procedure. That means that each birth requires additional medical equipment and knowledge. In addition, mothers need to be monitored while they feed their newborn puppies to ensure no problems occur. All this additional work comes with a cost.
What are mini Bulldogs or specialized Bulldogs?
Often times, these are breeders trying to fool customers into buying Bulldogs with inbred problems. In addition, these dogs may be a cross between a traditional Bulldog and another breed of dog. It’s best to stay away from any “designer” Bulldogs because the quality can cause massive future medical bills.
Where do Bulldogs get their name from?
Before 1835, the breed was used in England for a practice known as bull-baiting. These dogs would harass and try to mess with a bull that was tied up. This required a dog to sneak up, bite the bull, and avoid the horns. While to dog tried to dart around the bull, the bull tried to kill the dog with its horns. In addition to bulls, bears were also tied up and pitted against dogs. People of this sport would even put bulls against bears (leaving out the dogs entirely). However, these blood sports were outlawed starting in 1835. Since then, aggressive behavior has been bred out of Bulldogs, and they have become fantastic family companions. They are loyal, amazing, fun loving pets that any family would be lucky to have.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2018 James Livingood