Why Does My Bulldog Smell
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
Another 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
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
You 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
Usually 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.
If you suspect the skin’s healthy balance has been thrown off you can always treat with a Malaseb bath, but because it’s important we get to the, shall we say, ‘stink’ of the issue, read on!
What Foods Promote Yeast
Some starchy foods like potatoes, corn and wheat can lead to a spike in the natural yeast levels on the skin. Yeast is also more likely to flourish when sugar is added to the diet. Some store bought foods and especially dog treats have sugar added these days. Where there is sugar, there is yeast. Examine the ingredients found in your dog’s treats and every-day kibble. Not only will undesirable ingredients like, wheats, grains, soy, sugar and artificial colorings cause an unwanted smell coming from your bully, they can also contribute to an epidemic of itchy skin, hair loss, loose stool etc.
The use of antibiotics can also bolster a yeast infection’s strength by killing off pro-bacteria in your Bulldog’s body.
Considering a yeast infection’s favorite hide outs are moist, dark, and away from air flow, it’s no wonder why some Bulldogs constantly smell. Think of all the wrinkles and deep crevices on a Bulldog’s body that must be heaven to yeast.
Kefir Milk: An All Natural Yeast Destroyer
Like I mentioned before, Malaseb shampoo is a beast at knocking out yeast infections all over the body in one swoop, but I want to show you some other, more natural ways you can steer clear of future yeast infections on the skin, in the ears and anywhere else your bully gets them.
Ever heard of Kefir milk? Kefir is a pro-biotic powerhouse and anti-fungal that’s often called the “Champagne of Dairy.” It’s regular milk that’s been fermented with live, active cultures that are a nightmare to smelly yeast infections! Kefir will also help support the immune system and balance the digestive tract. Plain yogurt can be used too although it’s not quite as helpful.
Either way, whether your bully is currently struggling with a yeast infection or not, I encourage you to pour 1/4 cup over your Bulldog’s meal or in a separate bowl depending on his preference. Do this with each meal while a yeast infection is present anywhere on the body. Kefir is widely available in any grocery store and it’s fine with adults and puppies alike.
To the surprise of many, consistently offensive breath is not normal for a healthy Bulldog. Smelly breath is usually a result of increased odor-producing bacteria in the mouth. Stinky bacteria is often a result of plaque near the gum line and on the surface of teeth. Tooth cavities also harbor this bacteria. Anyone who’s ever had a tooth ache knows a rotten tooth smells, well, rotten.
When allowed to fester, this same bacteria can give birth to periodontal disease(disease of the mouth). This disorder is characterized by loose teeth, red, inflamed or bloody gums, gums that have retreated from the teeth, drooling in excess and rubbing or pawing of the face. If you suspect periodontal disease to be the cause of your Bulldog’s bad breath it’s recommended you consult your veterinarian regarding treatment which usually involves cleaning, extraction and/or medication.
To help keep your bully’s mouth free and clear of any nasty diseases it’s important you brush his teeth at least 3 times a week. The dentist is a bit more strict than I, recommending you brush your dog’s teeth once a day. At any rate, just a three minute session of brushing with k-9 specific tooth-paste on a regular basis is important. This brushing is sufficient in dis-lodging plaque and left over food residue, stopping dental disease from becoming a reality.
Other Causes of Foul Smelling Breath
There are many possible causes of bad breath; here are two more of the most common causes.
Low quality foods with hard to digest ingredients have been proven to cause breath. It’s also possible a foreign object could be stuck in your dog’s mouth. A sharp object lodged in the gums or in between teeth would harbor bacteria and any wounds caused by this object could develop a smelly infection.
Viral, bacterial or fungal infections can radiate vile smells from the stomach, nasal cavities, face or throat.
Tips for Promoting a Clean Smelling MouthBrush those teeth and schedule a pro to clean them once a year! There are traditional style tooth brushes or ones that slide onto your own finger. Be careful picking out a tooth-paste as some, like food and treats, don’t contain the most healthy of ingredients.
We actually found these dentacetic wipes to be a great substitute for toothpaste. We just brush with our little finger brush(which they LOVE) and finish with the wipes. Not too messy and perfect for the moment you’ve found yourself in a pinch for time.
Brushing is thought of as one of those not-so-fun tasks, I know, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much it really does help you to bond with your Bulldog! I am the main care-taker at our home and my bullies know that. They trust and love me for it. That trust goes a long way in our friendship and also at defining my loving authority over them. All of this creates a very healthy balance between us at home and I’ve always been very proud of that.
Grab a couple of dog toys or treats specifically designed to help clear off plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. These really are effective at shining up the teeth in-between cleanings, but do remember that all play with nylabones or any treat should be monitored for safety sake.
Here’s a healthy dog cookie recipe designed to help freshen breath our Bulldogs loved!
Choose a quality food your Bulldog’s digestive system can power through gracefully. Hard kibble is said to be more congenial to cleaning and keeping teeth clean than canned food. Incorporate pro-biotics like yogurt or Kefir milk into the diet to ward off bad bacteria and fungus that creep into the mouth.
One last tip: Begin to care for your bully’s teeth and gums at an early age. Know your dog’s mouth from day one so he becomes normalized to your inspections. This will allow you to more easily check the mouth for over-all health and look for anything suspicious guaranteeing him a more healthy life.
Why Bulldogs Fart So Much
Oh the joys of your snoring Bulldog spread across the floor; your feet under his belly to keep warm and he’s gassy. A little flatulence is normal, but a lot can have you searching google for a quick remedy! I’ll try to keep wise-cracks to a minimum.
Gas is naturally found in the bowels and is often caused by fermentation of hard to digest foods like corn, carbs and starchy foods.
Bulldogs with an allergy or intolerance to an ingredient like lactose can also generate an air-bending stench.
Natural Remedies For the Gassy Bulldog
Yogurt helps speed up the digestion process relieving the body of food faster. Choose a yogurt that contains live cultures. Kefir milk, also listed earlier in this article is just full of living, active cultures excellent at aiding in a smoother digestion. Add 1-2 Tbsp per day as a treat after their meal.
Excessive gas could surely be a cause of eating too fast. A Bulldog that gulps his food swallows a lot of air which eventually gets expelled in an intrusive fashion. Slow feed bowls have definitely been shown to help reduce gulping. In turn, the amount of air a Bulldog can swallow is cut down. Even vomiting caused by eating too fast is helped with the use of these bowls. Using an elevated bowl also helps prevent lots of air being swallowed by your bully.