How to Treat Infected Bulldog Wrinkles: A Complete & Clear Guide

owner using finger wipe to clean Bulldog's infected wrinkles

Bulldogs are famous for their adorable and distinctive wrinkles, so you need to know how to clean infected Bulldog wrinkles if you own one. These same folds can sometimes cause health issues if not maintained properly.

 First things first, let’s acknowledge that this breed’s wrinkles are like little pockets of personality. They give them that unmistakable, lovable appearance. However, these folds can trap moisture, dirt, and debris, creating a cozy environment for bacteria to party. 

The Royal Veterinary College found that flat-faced breeds, especially our precious Bulldogs, are 49 times more likely to suffer from the condition than normal dogs! So, whether you’re a seasoned breed parent or a soon-to-be wrinkle aficionado, this is a vital journey to keeping your pup’s folds infection-free. 

So, How Do You Treat Infected Bulldog Wrinkles?

To treat infected Bulldog wrinkles, first see your vet. Next, gently clean the folds with a mild, pet-safe solution recommended by your vet. Then gently but thoroughly pat the folds dry with a soft cloth to remove excess moisture. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe a topical antibiotic or recommend a specific ointment to combat the infection. 

An infographic by Vet Compass found that more than 42% of dogs with skin fold dermatitis (the most common skin fold infection) found help in antibiotics. Still, you must want to know how you can help at all at home, which is where we come in.

Dr. Hilary Jackson, DVM, and Dr. Rosanna Marsella, DVM, PHD responsible for the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dermatology have a lot to say about skin fold dermatitis in Bulldogs. They say that the unique feature of having marked skin folds in Bulldogs can sometimes lead to a skin condition called intertrigonal dermatitis. 

This happens when the skin folds become irritated, inflamed, or infected. The folds create a warm and moist environment which is ideal for the growth of bacteria or yeast (a type of yeast called Malassezia). As a result, these dogs can develop skin issues in these folded areas, which can be uncomfortable and require treatment to heal. 

Regular cleaning and monitoring of these skin folds are important to prevent this condition. But first, how do we know if our French or English Bulldog has wrinkles that are infected?

Symptoms of Infected Wrinkles in Bulldogs

red skin and hair loss in wrinkles of infected Bulldog skin folds or skin fold dermatitis

Oh no! You’ve noticed something funky going on with your pup’s folds. Don’t panic – we’re here to help you identify if there’s an infection. 

Signs for identifying infection include:

  • Unusual odor: First things first, take a closer look, and keep an eye (or nose) out for any smell that wasn’t there before. If there’s a not-so-pleasant smell wafting from the area, you might be dealing with an infection.
  • Redness: The skin might appear red and inflamed.
  • Swelling: You might notice the folds are a bit puffier than usual.
  • Discomfort: If your dog seems more irritated or uncomfortable than usual, it could indicate an infection.
  • Lesions or discharge: Don’t be shy – grab a flashlight and peer into those adorable folds. 
  • Hot Spots: Also known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are localized areas of inflamed, infected skin. They can appear suddenly and are often accompanied by oozing or moist lesions.
  • Licking or Chewing at Paws: Skin infections, especially yeast infections, can affect the paws. Excessive licking or chewing at the paws may indicate an issue.
  • Hair Loss: Infected skin may lead to hair loss in the affected area. This can be gradual or sudden, depending on the nature and severity of the infection.
  • Crusts or Scabs: Infected areas may develop crusts or scabs as a result of the body’s attempt to heal. These can be itchy and may lead to further irritation.

Spot the Difference: Infection Vs. Irritation

Now, we don’t want you to jump the gun – not all wrinkle woes are due to infections! Sometimes, your pup might just be dealing with irritation. To differentiate between infection and irritation, consider these differences:

  1. Itchiness: Infections and irritation can both cause itchiness. Observe your dog: if they’re persistently scratching or rubbing their face, it’s a sign that their skin might be irritated. However, be cautious; continuous itchiness might indicate an ongoing infection.
  2. Severity of symptoms: Irritation is often milder than an infection. In the case of an infection, you’ll usually notice a combination of the previously mentioned symptoms like odor, lesions, discharge, redness, and swelling.

Remember, when in doubt, always consult with your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s essential to address any issues promptly, whether it’s an infection or irritation, to keep your pup happy and healthy!

Guide to Treating Infected Skin Folds or Wrinkles In Bulldogs

cleaning Bulldog wrinkles with skin fold dermatitis

Hey there, wrinkle warrior! So your dog is rubbing their face with paws, looks red, and smells like dog, and not in the good way. All classic signs of skin issues in canines. 

Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to treating infected folds and making your little snort-machine as comfortable as possible. You got this!

Step 1: See Your Vet

Seeking the guidance of a veterinarian is of utmost importance when dealing with infections in dogs. Vets possess the expertise to accurately diagnose the nature and severity of the infection, often distinguishing between bacterial, fungal, or other skin issues. 

 Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

To treat those cute folds, you’ll need the following:

  • Warm water;
  • Mild pet-friendly soap;
  • A clean, soft cloth;
  • Cotton balls or Q-Tips; and
  • cream or ointment, preferably recommended by your vet.

Step 2: Clean the Infected Area

Gently clean the infected area with warm water and a mild pet-friendly soap. Do this thoroughly, but be careful not to irritate the sensitive skin.

Step 3: Dry the Area

Using a clean, soft cloth, make sure that you carefully dry the area, especially the folds and creases. This step is important because leaving moisture in the folds will cause further infection, which is counterintuitive. 

Step 3: Apply Medication

With the clean fold, grab your cotton balls or Q-Tips, and apply the cream or ointment to the infected area. Follow the instructions on the product or your vet’s recommendation for frequency and dosage.

Pro-tip: Don’t use too much ointment, as it could make the area too moist and lead to further infection. Just a dab will do!

Step 4: Prevent Future Infections

Fold infections are no laughing matter, so it’s critical to take a few preventative measures. Here’s a short list:

  • Clean your Bulldog’s skin regularly with a clean, damp cloth. Do so at least twice a week for the best results.
  • Remember to dry the area thoroughly after cleaning.
  • Keep your Bulldog on a healthy diet and exercise routine to avoid obesity, which can worsen infections.
  • Check for signs of irritation or infection. If you see redness, swelling, or if your Bulldog is bothering the area, contact your vet.

There you have it. A brief and easy-to-follow guide on treating and preventing fold infections in your Bulldog. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining the adorable and healthy folds your Bulldog deserves. Good luck, wrinkle warrior!

Understanding Bulldog Wrinkles

A specimen of Bulldog with white and red fur during face cleansing before a dog show

Wrinkles, also known as skin folds, are a unique feature that gives our canines their distinctive, lovable look. However, these can also create a playground for bacteria and yeast if not properly cared for.

Our Bulldog’s folds result from the loose skin they inherited from their ancestors, who were bred for bull-baiting. This loose skin helped them minimize injury during those less-than-friendly encounters. Nowadays, these adorable facial folds remind us of their history but also require a bit of extra attention to keep them clean and healthy.

Common Issues with Bulldog Wrinkles 

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about some common issues that breed owners might face with their pups’ folds. Remember that a study of 905,553 dogs highlighted flat-faced breeds for skin issues found that Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs have increased odds of a whopping 49%! Here are some issues to look out for:

  1. Fold dermatitis: Skin fold dermatitis occurs when the skin within the folds becomes irritated, red, and inflamed due to trapped moisture and bacteria.
  2. Redness: Sometimes, you might notice a bit of redness. This could be a result of irritation or inflammation. If it looks severe, contacting your vet is a good idea.
  3. Drool and overall moisture: These dogs love a good slobber, and sometimes, that drool can find its way into their folds. The problem here is that moisture provides a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast growth, which can lead to infection. Be sure to keep those areas dry!
  4. Bacteria and yeast: Remember that playground for bacteria and yeast we mentioned before? Keeping your dog’s skin clean and dry can help prevent these unwelcome guests from overstaying their welcome.
  5. Abrasions and Chafing: The constant rubbing of skin against skin within the folds can lead to abrasions and chafing. This not only causes discomfort but also makes the skin more susceptible to infections.

Also, note that fold infections are not the only infections these dogs are susceptible to. A survey by PubMed lists atopic dermatitis (eczema), food allergies, parasite infestations, bacterial folliculitis, and scabies as other top dermatological conditions in dogs. Some may even have more unusual conditions like white bumps on the skin, typically sebaceous cysts.

Now that you’ve got the scoop on these folds make sure to give those lovely skin folds the care and attention they need. Keep an eye out for any potential issues, and never hesitate to reach out to your vet when in doubt.

Preventing Infections in Bulldog’s Wrinkles

owner hand reaching with cotton swab with disinfectant to clean infected skin folds on Bulldog

Preventing infections starts with a good cleaning routine. Make sure to clean your pooch’s skin folds regularly, ideally every day. Create a cheat sheet just in case you (or someone else) need a reminder. Here’s a simple process to follow:

  1. Gently lift the skin folds to expose the moist and hidden areas.
  2. Use a soft cloth or cotton pad to wipe the area; remember to be gentle and patient.
  3. Carefully dry each fold with a clean cloth or tissue to remove any lingering moisture.
  4. Praise your pup for being such a good sport through the process!

Pro tip: Always check for signs of irritation or infection, such as redness, swelling, or unusual discharge, while cleaning those adorable pups.

Choosing the Right Products

When it comes to cleaning your dog, using the right products can make a world of difference. The Dermatological Problems of Brachycephalic Dogs study suggests that using a mild, hypoallergenic soap or cleanser is a great start. Here are some additional tips for picking the best cleaning products:

  • Avoid harsh chemicals and fragrances that could cause irritation. Never use human shampoo, as it’s too harsh.
  • Consider using dog-friendly cleansing wipes as a convenient alternative.
  • Always have a non-toxic pet-safe ointment handy to prevent bacteria and yeast buildup.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Finally, sprinkle in some lifestyle adjustments to help prevent those infections. Here are some brief suggestions:

  • Hydration: Ensure your pup always has access to fresh water to keep their skin healthy.
  • Diet: Provide a balanced, appropriate diet. Focus on protein-rich (25% content), balanced diets. Ask your vet for recommendations if you’re unsure.
  • Airflow: Maintain good ventilation and humidity levels at home to prevent excessive moisture buildup.
  • Exercise: Keep your dog active with regular walks and playtime to improve their overall well-being. However, remember that these dogs are prone to heat stroke because their flat face, which makes it harder to breathe. Keep workouts short and sweet, and avoid hot days. 

So, give those folds the love and attention they deserve following these tips. Happy wrinkle-cleaning!

What About Selecting Wipes and Shampoos

When choosing products to treat these infections, make sure to select dog-safe wipes and shampoos. Products designed for humans might have ingredients that are harmful to dogs. 

Look for items specifically labeled as safe for pets, with mild formulas and antibacterial properties to help prevent bacterial growth.

Home Remedies: Do They Work?

Ah, home remedies! We’ve all heard about them, but do they actually work? In some cases, these may help:

  • Omega-3: This is a more long-term solution. Coat studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids effectively improve coat health and appearance. You can find them in fish oil for those EPA and DHAs or opt for supplements. 
  • 1:1 Apple Cider vinegar mix: A mild, diluted apple cider vinegar solution can help reduce bacterial growth.
  •  Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and can be applied topically to soothe dry or irritated skin. It has been shown to accelerate healing in dogs when applied topically. Don’t give them a taste, though!
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera has cooling and healing properties and has been shown by the same study above to have positive effects. Use a small amount of pure aloe vera gel with water.
  • Oatmeal Baths: Oatmeal has soothing properties that can help alleviate itching and irritation.

However, it’s essential to consult your vet before trying any home remedies, as improper use can worsen the infection.

Remember, when it comes to treating your infected folds, keeping them clean and dry is the key! Good luck, and your Bulldog will be wrinkle-free in no time!

When to See the Vet

As a proud pup owner, you might have already encountered some skin infection issues due to the adorable folds this breed possesses. 

While you can try to manage minor infections with proper cleaning techniques and over-the-counter remedies, it’s essential to know when to seek professional help.

Recognizing the Limitations of Home Care

If the folds seem extra red, swollen, or emit a funky smell, the infection might have escalated. Despite your home care efforts, persistent itchiness and discomfort could indicate a more severe issue like a staph infection. In the presence of pus or excessive inflammation, it’s time to get your wrinkly fur baby to a vet.

Preparing for the Vet Visit

Before you rush off to the vet, make sure you’re armed with important information and questions to ensure your Bulldog gets the best care. Here’s a handy checklist for you:

  • Medical history: Any relevant details about your pup’s past health issues or prior skin infections.
  • Current treatment: Bring any medications, shampoos, or home remedies you’ve been using to treat the infection.
  • Observations: Note down symptoms related to the infection, such as redness, inflammation, or itchiness. Be as accurate as possible!
  • Questions: Jot down any concerns or questions you have for the vet. Make the most of their expertise and your time in the clinic.

Remember, your vet’s there to help, so be open and honest about the situation. By seeking timely veterinary care, you’ll be doing your Bulldog a huge favor, getting them back to their playful, wrinkly self in no time.

Treating Bulldog Wrinkle Infections

owner cleaning infected Bulldog wrinkles on couch with cotton pad and gentle disinfectant

We’ve got your back with some helpful tips on how to treat those adorable but tricky pleats.

Medical Treatments

When it comes to infections, sometimes a trip to the vet is in order. Your dog might need antibiotics to help clear up any severe conditions. Depending on the severity of the infection, the vet might suggest oral antibiotics or even an injection for your pup.

Topical Treatments and Creams

Here are some ideas for topical treatments:

  • Antiseptic wipes: Keep fresh by regularly using antiseptic wipes to clean the skin folds. This helps to remove any dirt and bacteria.
  • Creams and ointments: Apply an appropriate antifungal or antibacterial cream as per your vet’s recommendation. These creams can help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the skin folds.
  • Medicated shampoos: Your vet might recommend a medicated shampoo bath from time to time to keep your Bulldog’s skin clean and healthy, preventing any further infections.

Always consult your vet before starting any new treatment, as they can advise based on your Bulldog’s specific needs. And remember, never use human products on dogs without first checking with your vet!

Monitoring Treatment Progress

Now that you’ve started treating the nasty infection, it’s important to keep a close eye on things. Remember, this isn’t just a one-time fix. You’ll need to:

  1. Check wrinkles regularly: Inspect the skin folds for any changes, including redness, inflammation, or oozing.
  2. Follow your vet’s instructions: Stick to the prescribed treatment plan, including how often to apply creams or ointments.
  3. Keep those areas clean: Continue using antiseptic wipes and medicated shampoos as recommended.
  4. Schedule follow-up visits: Go for regular checkups with your vet to ensure that the infection is under control.

By consistently monitoring your progress, your pooch will soon be back to their wrinkle-tastic self with healthy, infection-free skin!

Long-Term Management of Wrinkles

We’ve got some tricks up our sleeve to help you manage those adorable folds in the long run.

Adjusting the Cleaning Routine

First things first, let’s talk about their cleaning routine. Establishing a consistent schedule for cleaning those areas is essential so you don’t end up in a stinky situation. 

By staying on top of maintenance, you’ll help prevent infections and keep your Bulldog looking and feeling fabulous! Remember, clean them at least twice a week; the more, the better. And always dry the folds like your life depends on it.

Dietary Considerations

Believe it or not, diet can also play a role in keeping their skin healthy and condition-free. Here are some tips for selecting the right food:

  • Opt for high-quality dog food with a proper balance of nutrients, as good nutrition can help support skin and coat health.
  • Keep those omega-3 fatty acids in mind! They’re great for reducing inflammation and promoting healthy skin. Look for foods that include fish oil or flaxseed oil, or consider adding a supplement.
  • Avoid common allergens like chicken, beef, and dairy, since food allergies can cause skin issues or worsen existing skin conditions.

By adjusting diet and keeping these areas clean, you’ll be well on your way to a long-term skincare routine that keeps your canine looking fabulous and feeling great! And remember, always consult your vet before making significant changes to your dog’s diet or care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the secret to keeping my Bulldog’s face folds dry?

Keeping your Bulldog’s wrinkles clean and dry is essential for preventing infections. Start by cleaning the folds with a mild soap and water or a gentle pet-specific cleanser. Remember to pat the area dry with a clean towel or cotton pad, and do this regularly, like a laundry-folding champ. You can also sprinkle some cornstarch for even better results. 

Can I swipe my Bulldog’s folds clean with special wrinkle wipes, or is that just a myth?

You’re in luck! Special wipes exist and do a decent job of cleaning folds. Make sure you choose safe, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free wipes to avoid skin irritation. Remember, though, that these wipes alone won’t solve all your problems. They’re more of a handy solution when you’re on the go or need a quick fix.

What cream can I use on my Bulldog’s wrinkles?

There’s no magical cream, but topical treatments can help with irritated and inflamed skin. Your vet may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to reduce swelling and itchiness. Don’t try turning your bathroom into a potions lab — always consult your vet before applying any cream to your furry friend’s face.

My dog’s wrinkles are red. How do I treat the infection?

If your dog’s folds are infected, you’ll need to tackle the problem head-on. Visiting your vet is the best course of action, as they can diagnose the issue accurately and prescribe the appropriate treatment, such as oral or topical antibiotics. Don’t try bumbling around like an amateur pharmacist — expert help is always best.

Skin fold dermatitis in Bulldogs sounds like a fancy term. How do I fix it without a PhD?

No need for a doctorate here. Skin fold dermatitis is just a technical term for inflammation in your dog’s wrinkles. Regular cleaning, drying, and monitoring of your dog’s folds can keep this pesky problem at bay. Consult your vet for guidance and keep those wrinkles in check.

Is slathering Neosporin on my Bulldog’s folds a genius hack or a no-no?

Hold up, eager beaver! While Neosporin might be a go-to for humans, using it on your Bulldog’s wrinkles without a vet’s advice is a no-no. Some ingredients in Neosporin might not be safe for dogs, and your pup might try to lick it off, causing more harm. So, stick to vet-recommended treatments to avoid transforming your home into a mad scientist’s lab.

Final Thoughts

Now you’re all set to keep your Bulldog’s folds in tip-top shape! Armed with knowledge and a caring heart, you (yes, YOU) can make your canine companion healthier and happier. So go ahead, conquer the world of wrinkle care, and never look back! 🐾


Tamsin de la Harpe

Tamsin de la Harpe, with a lively spirit and 15 years of experience in dog training and behavior, brings a unique flair to the team. Based in South Africa, she is deeply engaged in rehabilitating dogs, focusing on their mental and nutritional health. Tamsin's approach to dog behavior is hands-on and heartfelt, shaped by her life with her own dogs and horses. Her journey in canine behavior is ongoing, as she continues advanced studies in this field.

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