Bullies have wrinkles and smushed faces that give them a look only a mother could love. Indeed, sometimes they can be so ugly they're cute. Those trademark wrinkles can cause all kinds of problems for a bulldog, who can't just drop in for a facial any time she wants.
Bullies are Best
Those who have and love bulldogs declare them the best dogs ever, paws down. Whether it's one of those big, sloppy English-type bulldogs, a little French bulldog or any kind of bulldog mix, it's liable to have face wrinkles. Within the folds of those wrinkles live all manner of microscopic, yucky things that cause all manner of problems for your dog and potentially for you. A bulldog with dermatitis needs all the friends he can get, so hopefully you're ready, willing and able to give your little bully buddy a helping hand.
Dermatitis is one of those catch-all words with several meanings. The root, "derma" means skin, and "itis" simply means "inflammation of" so any inflammation of the skin, be it sunburn, acne, rashes or hot spots, can be dermatitis. In regard to bulldogs, dermatitis is usually caused by candida, or yeast. Yeast is a fungus that loves to grow in warm, moist places, such as the folds of your dog's wrinkles. Staph, a bacteria, flourishes in such a hospitable environment, too. Keeping your dog's face clean is a must. It's much easier to prevent a problem than it is to treat one. When dermatitis is in full swing, it hurts. And cleaning out an affected area will be most unpleasant for both you and your dog.
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammation caused by a food or flea allergy, or an allergy to something in the dog's environment. While any dog can fall victim to atopic dermatitis, some breeds are more susceptible to it. Bulldogs are among those breeds. Atopic dermatitis may occur seasonally in conjunction with other allergy symptoms such as itching. Allergies that cause atopic dermatitis may occur year-round, though, depending on what the allergen is. Most dogs presenting symptoms of atopic dermatitis are manifesting a flea allergy. For this, the treatment is simple: Rid your dog of fleas and the dermatitis will go away.
Prevention of dermatitis is important if you want to keep your dog comfortable and your wallet safe from high veterinary bills. Some dogs' facial wrinkles need daily care, while other dogs need only daily grooming and regular wipe-downs. Pet supply stores carry disposable wipes infused with aloe and lanolin made just for this purpose, but you can simply use a soft cloth with some warm water and then dry each fold well. A little petroleum jelly on the dog's nose leather will keep it healthy and moist. Always clean the folds with dog shampoo during your dog's bath and when he is extra dirty. If irritation is evident, apply diaper rash cream or products containing zinc oxide or hydrocortisone cream to soothe the itching and inflammation.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.