English bulldogs are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, but you aren't completely off the hook. In addition to the typical concerns like his nails and his coat, bulldogs have squishy, wrinkly faces that need daily attention. Giving them a good wipe keeps your pooch happy, healthy and good-smelling.
Don't be fooled by the short-haired coat. Your bulldog needs to be brushed every single day to facilitate shedding and prevent matted, lumpy fur. Your best bet is to take him outside for a brushing session, as he can lose a surprising amount of hair in a short time. Be gentle when brushing him, as bulldogs have sensitive skin. For that same reason, use a soft-bristled brush instead of a hard metal one.
Your bulldog doesn't need a bath every day. In fact, he shouldn't have one every day, as bathing your dog too often can strip his hair and skin of essential oils. Instead, bathe your dog on an "as-needed" basis, such as when he is visibly dirty or starts to smell. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs, as these are different from human shampoos. You may need to pay special attention to his rear end. Because of his stocky build, he can't always reach his backside to clean up after eliminating. If he has any lingering mess, wipe it off with a damp towel.
Face and Ears
Adorable as those face wrinkles are, your bulldog's face can hide a dirty secret—literally. Bacteria and grime builds up between those big, floppy folds, so you have to clean them out every day to prevent infection and odor. Your pet store sells medicated pads that you can use to gently wipe out the facial folds, but you can also use a cotton ball dipped in baby oil. The skin between the folds is even more sensitive than the rest of your dog, so he may resist a little bit. Making this part of your daily routine will help him get used to it, and both of you will be happier for it.
Nails and Teeth
If doggy breath gets you down, incorporate daily dental hygiene into his routine. Using toothpaste and a toothbrush designed for dogs, give his teeth a cursory scrub every day. Keep an eye on his nails, too. While no dog needs his nails trimmed every single day, they do need periodic attention. If you don't feel confident clipping them yourself, a professional groomer will take care of it. When your pooch starts to chew his nails, it's time for a trim.
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.