English bulldogs are wrinkly, playful and OK, sometimes a little smelly. Whether he's a short, pudgy meatball or an athletic, rawhide-dominating beast, your bulldog's cleaning regimen is pretty simple. With a bath here and a brush there, he'll always feel and smell as good as he looks.
Set a bathing schedule of just one bath every month or two. While that wouldn't fly for a human, your pooch can get away with it. He has a short little coat loaded with protective oils, and if you bathe him too often, it'll strip all those good oils off and be bad for his skin.
Brush out that beautiful coat before bath time. A bulldog needs a good brushing every single day to get rid of dirt and dead hair. While you don't have to brush him before the bath, it'll cut down on the amount of hair he leaves in the tub -- and how much work it takes you to clean all that hair out when you're done. Since his skin is so sensitive, use a brush with soft or rounded bristles. Go against the grain first, then with the grain. This helps you get all the hair and nasties out.
Fill your tub with warm water, but just a few inches. Your pooch shouldn't need a life jacket or anything -- just give him water up to about knee-level. Make sure that the bathroom itself is plenty warm, so he doesn't catch a chill.
Get him good and wet before you suds him up, but don't get any water on his face or in his ears. Those are breeding grounds for bacteria when they collect moisture, and you're going to clean his face later anyway, so just don't worry about it right now.
Massage some mild dog shampoo into your dog's coat. Remember, he has sensitive skin, so be gentle. Those oils that you're washing out of his fur are a natural parasite repellent, so when you wash him, go with a shampoo that has a parasite repellent in the formula. This keeps his skin safe until the oils build back up naturally. Wash him starting at the neck and working your way back to the tail, and don't forget areas like the undercarriage, tuckus and legs. Finally, rinse him off, getting all that soap out of his fur.
Let your pooch out of the tub and towel him off. While his coat dries off, you have the perfect opportunity to clean out his face, which you should be doing every day anyhow. Dip a cotton swab in warm water, then wipe out the areas gently between his facial folds. Keep doing that with new swabs until they come out clean, then wipe out his folds one more time with a dry cotton swab to catch any extra moisture.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.