Lots of new and even some veteran Bulldog owners are looking for answers to the foul smell coming from their bully. So many agree there is certain ‘Bulldog smell’ that should be expected with English Bulldogs.
An odiferous scent that comes with the territory, so to speak. However, there are plenty of smells that are not normal at all and can even be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. Nevertheless, most of these smells can be remedied using a bit of knowledge and some trial and error.
How do we determine which of these smells are natural and which of them can be eliminated? Let me start by listing a few things known to cause a wafty smell in a Bulldog.
Stinky Facial Folds
The nose rope and surrounding wrinkles are by far the worst offender when it comes to Bulldog stench. It doesn’t take long for the folds to start smelling after being neglected even for only a short time. Especially in the warmer months, sweat is secreted in the wrinkles and dirt clings to the skin and hair eventually rotting and of course, smelling. Usually the smell doesn’t peak until a yeast infection has developed.
After continued neglect, the folds can become swollen, red and even begin to bleed. Dermatitis sets in causing pain and discomfort. A Bulldog with an infection between the folds will rub his face from one end of the floor to the other in an attempt to alleviate the itchy and painful sensation.
Tear stains are a common cause of dermatitis in-between the facial folds. Excessive tearing creates a moist environment in which smelly fungal infections like yeast thrive. Also, skin that’s constantly wet becomes sore and eventually succumbs to dermatitis.
Yeast infections must be treated with an anti-fungal, medicated wipe. We’ve used Malacetic wipes for years now with awesome results. If you suspect your bully is producing excessive tears, this should be treated directly. It may be happening due to an allergic reaction to the dog’s food or living conditions. Read up on Bulldog allergies caused by food.
Smelly Tail Pocket
How to Clean Stinky Tail PocketAnother common problem for Bulldogs is an ingrown tail or a tail that has grown too close to the skin in the ‘tail pocket’.
The tail pocket is sort of a hidden area between the tail and the skin. You might not have even known this pocket exists because it’s not clearly visible.
It’s important you inspect your Bulldog’s tail and tail pocket so you know just how much attention the area will need throughout his life. Some pockets require minimal care and cleaning while others need daily maintenance.
Four out of the five of our bullies here at home only need their tail pockets wiped out once a month or less. Even at that frequency we only find minimal dirt and hair on the wipe. Lily, however, went through a rigorous, two year span of needing her pocket wiped out and thoroughly cleaned once or twice a day. As hard as we worked to keep her pocket clean, there was always a mild smell.
It was horrible and smelled disgusting. I mean, it really smelled! She would try and alleviate the itch by backing up to a wall and grinding her tail back and forth. This left a raunchy trail of smelly goo. At some point, Lily’s tail pocket needed less attention and things have gotten better. I’m glad we don’t have to clean up after that anymore!
How Often Should I Clean My Bulldog’s Tail Pocket
Slap on a surgical glove and gently rub a wipe into the tail pocket. Inspect the wipe. How much dirt did you find? A little dirt and hair is acceptable, but if you discover the wipe has turned a bit yellow you’ve got a tail that needs to be cleaned more often.
Sometimes the skin can become so raw that even wiping gently is painful and the wipe turns a shade of red or pink representing blood. If you see a little blood on the wipe don’t freak-out and speed off to the vet. Besides prescribing an antibiotic, they won’t do anymore for your bully than you can at home-but they will ask you to open your wallet for them 🙂
There are a ton of possible ways to clean and care for a smelly tail pocket. Four crucial steps you must incorporate when cleaning the tail pocket are: Clean, dis-infect, dry and protect.
How To Clean The Tail Pocket
Here’s the process we used when Lily was suffering from constant tail pocket infections:
Thoroughly, but gently, wash out the area with warm water and Malaseb shampoo in the tub. Allow the Malseb to work on the skin for 2 minutes and rinse until visibly clean.
Dry the tail pocket by dabbing with a dry towel. Be gentle as possible. Use a hair dryer on low with indirect heat to speed up the process.
Neosporin contains bacitracin, polymixin B, and neomycin which are effective against a large host of micro-organisms. Apply Neosporin as a disinfectant to prevent further bacteria from entering the wound.
Once you have a handle on this, you may be able to swap step one and two with the use of a Malcetic wipe or by swabbing some Malaceti Otic into the area on a cotton ball. After cleaning and disinfecting with the Malcetic cleaning agent, dry and apply Neosporin or even some Vaseline.
An ingrown tail corkscrews into and actually punctures the skin creating a similar wound like the one we just discussed, but much worse. The above treatment can be performed on an ingrown tail, but due to the seriousness of this condition,amputation may be needed to avoid prolonged infections, pain and discomfort.
Smell Due to Ear Infections
Why do my bulldog’s ears smell?Ear infections plague some Bulldogs to no end and boy, do they smell! When ears start to get smelly it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an infection, but you can bet one is in the works.
Infections of the ear are most commonly caused by a build-up of wax, moisture, foreign objects and allergies.
Take a look at those nasty q-tips to the right. The color on the end of the tips is normal, but if you can foul up this many q-tips in one cleaning, your bully’s ears are probably hosting an infection. We don’t recommend using q-tips either because they can actually push dirt and debris into the ear canal. Instead, try using a couple of the round make-up removing pads. These are softer so they won’t irritate the inner ear.
Beside the wicked odor now evident arising from an infected ear canal, you may notice your Bulldog rubbing his ears on the wall or furniture or shaking and tilting his head. An infected canal will also appear red and swollen. You can expect to see a relatively high amount of debris that is usually yellow, black or brown in color.
Ear infections not only smell horrible, but they are a serious health concern that must be dealt with swiftly. Treatment is relatively simple even for novice caretakers and includes the use of a medicated wipe and otic solution designed specifically for cleaning and disinfecting. See the treatment method we posted to our care page + a picture of an ear infection.
If you notice your Bulldog walking in circles, displaying unusual eye movements, or he appears extremely unbalanced or has suffered hearing loss, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. These are signs of a more profound infection of the ear that may need a regiment of oral antibiotics as well as topical.
Improper Bathing Routine
Bathing your bully and what shampoo you decide to use is crucial in the health of his skin and hair. The scent of a Bulldog’s skin can be directly effected by the health of his dermis which is one of his body’s largest organs.
The million dollar question: How often should a Bulldog be bathed? The simple answer is no more than once per month. I understand every forum you’ve visited online recommends as much as once per week, but this is excessive for a Bulldog’s delicate skin and will only worsen his overall skin condition.
Why He Smells More With Each Wash
why do bulldogs stinkYou must understand over bathing will destroy the PH balance on a Bulldog’s skin and deplete the protective oils naturally present.
When these oils and PH levels are harmed, the skin will become dry, flaky and itchy encouraging your bully to scratch and lick.
Scratching creates abrasions that can get infected and excessive licking promotes the development of hot spots. Unhealthy skin can also be overtaken by viruses and bacteria.
Understandably, many owners will increase their Bulldog’s bathing frequency in hopes of neutralizing the offensive smells caused by over bathing not knowing that this new routine could actually be making things worse.
Not Just Any Shampoo Will Do
One last thing. Please don’t use shampoo meant for humans on your dog. I imagine lots of people are like myself. In an effort to be frugal and resourceful they boast about their use of Head and Shoulders brand shampoo. This is a mistake. We use this Oatmeal Based Shampoo . It contains organic ingredients like aloe, jojoba( Jojoba oil has anti-microbial properties and contains iodine that prevent harmful bacteria growth), oatmeal, shea butter and rosemary.
The composition and PH balance of your Bulldog’s skin is far different than your own. In fact, a human’s skin is just on the acidic side averaging between 5.2 and 6.2 and a dog’s is actually more alkaline with a level of about 7. Can you see how using shampoos formulated specifically for humans on your Bulldog is not so beneficial?
If you believe your Bulldog’s undesirable scent to be emanating from the skin due to over bathing, just ease up a bit. Let the skin recover. In the mean time you can fight the smell by using wipes for a dry bath. Use a wipe which includes only natural ingredients like aloe vera or tea tree oil, cchamomile, lavender and eucalyptus.
Paws Can Stink Too
Hot to Treat Smelly Bulldog PawsUsually if a paw smells, it’s due to a hot spot caused by your Bulldog’s excessive licking. Cuts or punctures in the paw usually go unnoticed at first probably because most of us don’t closely inspect our Bulldog’s paws after they’ve come in from the outside.
After a Bulldog is wounded, he may lick the wound to try and alleviate pain or clean the area, but sometimes a persistent bully causes more harm than good. Over-licking can further irritate the wound not allowing it to fully heal and even worsening it’s condition.
This leaves the wound susceptible to bacterial, fungal and viral infections which are known to smell very foul. Boredom, anxiety and allergies are a few other reasons a Bulldog might be develop hot spots on his paws.
On our Bulldog Care Page we further explain how to diagnose and treat hot spots on the paws.
We’ve even included an easy at home remedy for smelly paws affected by hot spots and information on routine care.
You’ll also find that we’ve added some really great tips on how to deter your English Bulldog from behaviors that promote the development of hot spots.
The Whole Body Smell
Corn Chips, a stunning new scent for Bulldogs! That’s one brand of cologne you never need to purchase for your bully because if something ever becomes unbalanced in the health of his skin, he’s already working it! I actually like the salty, crunchy snack on occasion, but everyday, not so much. Plus when a Bulldog’s skin smells like corn chips, it’s not usually that fresh out of the bag smell. No, it’s something far more expired and musty.
So what causes a Bulldog’s skin to smell so staunch? Could be higher than healthy amounts of yeast on the skin. Yes, yeast is naturally present in the skin cells of most living mammals including Bulldogs, but a high concentration of this natural yeast can promote a yeast infection. Just when you thought your Bulldog couldn’t possibly suffer from a yeast infection on one more area of his body, there it is, right on his belly.