Proper grooming is essential to keep you puppy healthy, free of parasites, and socially acceptable to you and your friends. Most grooming tasks are easy to do and take little time if you perform them at regular intervals.
Bulldogs fall into two groups: those who love water and those who can’t stand it. Luckily, most Bulldogs love water and can be taught to enjoy the fun of a bath.
At this age, it’s easiest to bathe him in the kitchen sink. Put a rubber bath mat on the bottom of the sink and use the spray attachment to wash and rinse. Test the temperature often if the temperature tends to vary. Keep one arm around him at all times so he can’t suddenly climb out. Be very careful of getting soap in his eyes, nose and ears. Mineral oil can be placed in the eye to protect it from accidental soaping. Your dog can be dried with a towel or you can use a hair dryer set at low power and temperature. In warm weather, you can leave the coat slightly damp. In cold weather, do not let your dog go outside until the coat is fully dry. Just like with clothes, darker colors hide the dirt better, so dogs with dark colors are easier to keep clean looking. Dogs with lots of white look flashy, but they are show dirt easily. Most show dogs are bathed once a week – more often in muddy weather. If you’re not showing your dog, let common sense be your guide – over bathing can remove natural oils which are necessary for a healthy coat. There are colored shamppos to make coats glisten. There are several available of each type and all are equally good at keeping the coat soft, bright and shiny. Shampoos for white dogs are available for white and light colored dogs, as well as for dogs with white markings.
During the spring and summer, we recommend you use a flea and tick shampoo if you’re in an area where they are a problem. They don’t eliminate fleas completely and are of only some use against ticks on the dog. They can kill adult fleas immediately and make a dramatic difference – both to your dog and to you if its keeps your house from becoming infested. A flea comb and a rubber curry brush will help loosen dead hair and remove dead fleas in the bath.
Brush him 2-3 times a week for 10 minutes and he’ll always look beautiful. Our dogs seem to love it. If he’s shedding, use a rubber curry brush first. Be sure you take the opportunity to inspect him while you’re grooming. This is your chance to spot problems before they become serious – cuts, scratches, bare patches, flea bites, or skin conditions are easier to correct before they lead to infections or hair loss.
His face needs regular care because of its construction. Keep the wrinkles clean – particularly those over the nose. Use a cotton ball dipped in peroxide to clean the wrinkles thoroughly. Then powder the area with corn starch or baby powder to ensure proper drying – of course, be careful to avoid getting powder in your dog’s eyes. Depending on the dog, you may need to do this daily or weekly. Food or dirt gets trapped easily in wrinkles, causing discoloration, flaking and dermatitis. Rub his nose with a small amount of Vaseline. This will prevent his nose from getting very dry and hard as he matures.
Dermatitis is very common in wrinkles. The symptoms are inflamed, red, angry looking skin – it may be moist. Clean gently and often with a cotton ball soaked in warm water. Dry gently and use an antibiotic ointment. It should clear up in 4-5 days with this treatment. Acne is quite common in young bulldogs. It’s just like people acne. Keep the effected area clean – use peroxide unless it’s near the eyes.
The enzymes in some dog’s saliva and tears also cause a reddish or brown discoloration in the wrinkles under their eyes and may extend onto their face. This happens more in some dogs than others, usually the white ones where it shows up more. If your dog is prone to such discoloration, you can reduce it by frequent cleaning, but you probably won’t ever get it completely white. That’s why regular cleaning is important. The stain can be lessened by bathing the area in a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide. Be careful to keep the peroxide out of the eye. Mineral oil can be put in the eye first to protect the eye.
Although its exact cause is unknown, tear stains may be due to a low grade infection which worked its way up to the tear ducts. Success has been shown with broad spectrum antibiotics like Tetracycline. This works because it reduces the infection and the Tetracyclin is secreted in the tears, combining with the part that causes the stain. However, you don’t want to give any long term antibiotic therapy without consulting your Vet and Tetracycline, in particular, is known to stain teeth when given to humans whose bones and teeth are still in development.
Clean them once a week using a cotton ball moistened with Listerine. If they look red and sore, put a few drops of something like Panalog in them every day and clean gently until they are back to normal. Bulldogs can tend to collect a lot of ear wax, so adjust the schedule to his particular needs.
If the ears are red and sore and the Panalog doesn’t improve the situation in four or five days, see the Vet – he may have ear mites. If there is a bad smell from the ears or they produce a lot of dark wax, your dog may have ear mites. They are easy to deal with, but should be taken care of with medication you’ll get from your Vet.
Your dog’s ears should be set to conform to the Bulldog Standard. The ears are now set in the proper shape – what are called Rose Ears. When dogs teethe, they may drop their ears and the ears may need to be reset. Note how the ears fold back on themselves. To ensure that his ears remain the proper shape, you should set them with Surgical Adhesive (or Eyelash Adhesive, which is serviceable but not as good). Place a small amount of the adhesive in the external creases of the ear and hold the ear in place for a few minutes while it sets. Then put adhesive on the tip of the ear and place it where it will naturally fall.
Your puppy’s nails should be cut once a week. They should be short enough that you don’t hear clicking on the bare floor when the dog walks. It is easier to do this frequently, a little at a time, rather than try to lop off all the excess in one pass. Avoid cutting the quick, which hurts him and causes bleeding. If you cut the quick, touch the end of the nail with liquid styptic – it stops the bleeding fast.
It may be easier for one of you to hold him while the other cuts the nails. Putting the dog on his back cuts down resistance – it is a submissive position for a dog. He will probably resist having his nails done – every Bulldog does so to some extent at first. Don’t believe him if he wails (but check to see you didn’t cut the quick). Some nails are clear, while others are black. With black nails, you will have a hard time knowing when you get close to the quick. Don’t worry. Just trim them gradually until you reach a point where a white portion of the central shaft protrudes a bit – this is the outer covering of the quick. You will see dry, horny white when you first cut – this is not the quick. Experience is the best teacher.
Bulldog tails are either straight down or twisted and close to the body. The twisted ones predispose the area under them to problems. You must make sure that the area under the tail stays clean and dry. This means that you wash and dry the area under the tail thoroughly with each bath. It’s easiest if you just use your hands, but a washcloth will work if you want to use one.
Inspect the area under the tail when you dry him. It’s possible for him to get dermatitis under his tail just like in the wrinkles. Make sure you check the underside of the tail itself, as well as the part of the body it rests against. Treatment is similar to treating the skin folds. If it looks red, angry and moist, wash it 2-3 times daily with warm water. Dry the area gently and put Panalog on it. If your dog has diarrhea, make sure to keep the area clean and dry, using Panalog as needed. He will be very sore and may resist, but he needs your help