Why Does My Bulldog Smell

Why does my bulldog smell so bad?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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

See our pick for Best Food For Bulldogs!

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

Kefir Milk For BulldogsLike 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.

Bad Breath

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.

Periodontal Disease

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 Mouth

Brush 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

why do 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.

Find Remedies For Your Bulldog’s Top Hygiene Head-Aches Below

Acne Ears / Tear Stains / EyesNose / Tail + Butt Care / Brush+Bathing / Excessive Shedding / Nail Trim / Paws+ PadsOral Hygiene

27 Responses to Why Does My Bulldog Smell

  • Kenny

    I have an English bulldog and boy does he STINK! We tried special anti-fungal shampoos, changing food, bathing… he just always smells god awful. Anything he touches smell like him and guests are reluctant to pet him. He licks his paws and drools everywhere which smells and his anal glands leak. Such disgusting animals, but so cute.

  • Sharae

    I just got a puppy bulldog that is 11 weeks old. His drool smells horrible. I gave him a bath thinking it was on him, but realized that it’s his drool. What could be causing this? Could he have an infection?

    • Dan Weese

      Hi Sharae. This sounds like it’s related to common puppy breath which is normal for the first 3 months of life due to the teething process. Could this be what’s causing the smell? If there’s an infection in the mouth you can visibly check. Just look for swelling, bleeding or discharge on the gums. It’s also possible some kibble or a piece of treat got stuck and began rotting away so look for that kind debris.

  • Johnpaul

    I just bought a 7 month French bulldog
    And her farts smell really bad really Bad is this a phase that will pass or what is good to use

  • Melanie pilt

    Incredible article. I was a veterinary nurse for 15 years and for 6 of them worked with a dermatologist. This article is brilliant. So much rot out there in the internet. Thank you for all your research.

  • Susy

    Just recently out of nowhere our bulldog Henry has started to have a smelly head. No ear infection just a musky yeasty stink.  I wash his face and wrinkles everyday but his head continues to stink

    • Bonnie

      Mine has that also. In his case, it’s because he’s always sniffing (with his whole big head) his rescue sister after she pees. I just put his shampoo on a washcloth and wash his head. It helps.

  • Jo

    Can someone help me?  I have a 4 year old bulldog who started licking everything in sight about 1 year ago.  We had to neuter him at 9 months due to an enlarged prostate and between that, itchy skin where we implanted his microchip, and he also has a corkscrew tail which seems to be constantly infected – as well as his ears – but we love him to death.  Vet said if his tail pocket doesn’t eventually heal we may want to consider amputation.  I watched this done online and they say it’s fairly risky, even though my bully doesn’t have palette problems like most others.  Was also told that if I glue his ears they will stop getting infected, because more air will get inside.  Watched this done online as well. Is there anyone out there who has had their bully’s tail amputated that can give me some firsthand observations – pros & cons?  Also, I had never heard about gluing a bully’s ears – does this actually work – is it appropriate – and is it too late to do this at 4 years?

    • Jennifer

      We had our little girls tail amputated.  Best thing we ever did.  Her tail grew down at such an angle, she couldn’t properly lift it to keep it out of the way.  We had to clean her several times a day, and that hurt her, since it was difficult to lift her tail enough to get her clean.  The vet wanted to wait until she was a year old, but she only made it to about 6 months.  There can be an issue with nerve damage, but we were lucky and that didn’t happen to Scarlett.  The vet left a tiny flap of fat at the base of her spine, and now she has what looks like a little cotton ball for a tail.  When she gets excited, she can wag it a little, which she couldn’t manage with her natural tail.

  • Cindi

    Can someone please help me… After my bulldog drinks water his mouth smells like a dirty dish towel. I brush his teeth everyday, the vet has checked his mouth and teeth and says everything looks good. I wash his face and clean his creases everyday. It is only after he drinks. I have two other Mastiffs that don’t have a problem, they all drink from the same bowl. Please help the smell is awful !

  • Ben

    OK reading this is cool but what I am seeing is a lot about corn…. OK WHO would give ANY DOG anything that had Corn, Wheat, or Soy in it?  OK can anyone be this stupid, after chocolate what kind of moron would give a dog any food with these in it?

  • Sam

    Who cares if they stink! I love my bulldog no matter what! Even if they all stunk to high heaven I would still own at least one as my pet.

    • Dan Weese

      I totally get you, Sam and I feel the same way. The thing is, the article wasn’t meant to say Bulldogs are horrible pets to own because they can sometimes smell. Rather, the article was written so that those who love their Bulldogs dearly would have the necessary knowledge to prevent their bully’s hygiene to deteriorate to the point of stinking. It’s because we love our bulldogs so, that we take such great care of them, right 🙂

    • Lisa

      I dont think.my bully smells at all but a few visitors have said she stinks…i told them not to visit if they didnt like it lol sorry dad!
      But my friend whos also her groomer agrees she doesnt and my kids dontthinks so except of course when she farts! Im with you have to have a bulldog couldnt imagine life without one!

    • Heidi

      Thank you, I feel the same way. In fact each of my bullies have their unique own stickies to them….I wouldn’t want it to change. The only thing I do change is the tail pocket and ear and any other part that may be a problem for them….otherwise I love their stickies!! 💜

  • Nataliya

    Thanks for the good article.
    Can I have help please on Why my dog puke all the time after food or drinking water?

    • Dan Weese

      Nataliya, he may just be eating too fast. Try a slow feed bowl so that he doesn’t overwhelm himself.

    • Michelle

      You need to get the dog checked for Megaesophagus, elongated palate and obstructions. This article has some incorrect info on it so please stick to reliable sources of info.

      • Sarah

        Well I agree with you, Michelle those could be the problem. Our first bulldog had an enlarged esophagus that made the food and water come back up frequently after eating and drinking causing her to vomit. Honestly though in defense of mr. weese it can be hard to say what the issue is especially with such a short description of what’s going on and zero health history. It could be an enlarged esophagus or something as simple as a fever, indigestion or even anxiety. We need more info, Nataliya. First off, we need to know how long this has been going on and is it happening after every single meal without fail or just a few times a day for the last three days??

    • meeny

      First you should differentiate if it is vomit (partially or fully digested food) or just regurgitation (whole food bits). If it is regurgitation I suggest feeding on an elevated box (we just use a cardboard box) that allows your dog to eat with his neck straight or a little bit looking upward rather than bent down toward the floor.

      We also feed our dog more frequent smaller meals and give her smallest meal at the start of the day as she is more prone to regurgitation if we give her a big meal in the morning. Also avoid excitement immediately after meals.

      She used to regurgitate after every meal but now she does it maybe once every 40 meals. She may have a megaesophagus, but this works well for us and our vet is happy, too.

  • sean

    Good to know we’re not the only ones with bulldogs that smell like nasty corn chips haha. I think after reading this we’ve been giving our george two many baths. Sometimes we would bath him like twice a week and just the page says he stank more every time we gave him a bath. So weird, but thanks for the help! Love this website by the way and nice to not get smacked in the face with a TON of ads.

    • George

      Corn chip smell is a yeast infection usually.  Yeast feeds on starchy foods especially grains and grain products especially.  Most commercially prepared dog foods have a lot of grain is cheaper than meats.  The grain free products are more expensive but worth it.  The “corn chip” smell in the feet can be knocked down quickly by dipping the dog’s feet in a 4:1 water: white vinegar solution regularly for a week or so and slowing down after that.  Swabbing with soaked cotton balls will work too if your dog fights having their feet dipped.

  • Gladys

    We have 2 bulldogs and they’ve never stunk before. Didn’t know so many owners were so unhappy with the smell. Maybe I’ve just never noticed before because I’m used to it??

    • Melissa

      My bully doesn’t smell either Gladys. Other than the occasional passing of gas that is! But she’s never had a yeast infection or problems with her tail pocket. I guess we’re just lucky!

  • Gary Biltz

    The reason they smell is the food! We had ours on Purina when we got her, but switched her to zignature(amazing food) and the smell went almost completely away. We don’t care if she smells though. My wife and I would have our bullies smell or no smell.

    • C. Johnson

      Zignature solved all food problems with our baby.  Great food.  No smells, very little gas.

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