Bulldogs do not tolerate heat well due to the unique shape of their skulls, which makes breathing difficult when the weather is warm. This can cause heat stroke and even death. Another less serious problem for bulldogs is that they are prone to skin rashes, which can become worse in the heat.
Wrinkles and Heat
The characteristic wrinkles on your bulldog trap moisture, dirt and food. The moisture and grime irritate the skin, which can cause a rash, even in cool weather. Add some heat, however, and bacteria start to multiply rapidly, creating a rash that is moist, bright red and very warm and tender to the touch. This is slightly different from the condition referred to as heat rash in humans, since the dog's pores are not actually blocked. The appearance is similar, however, with a number of tender red bumps.
Rashes are most likely to affect your bulldog in places where the skin is wrinkled, with the deepest folds being most prone to problems. On most bulldogs these are the face and the base of the tail. Wrinkles on the cheeks or jowls are often the first to show signs of heat-related rashes, since water is easily trapped between the folds of skin when your dog drinks. Folds under the eye can also have problems, as well as the area around the tail where the skin folds against itself.
If your bulldog's skin is not treated promptly, an irritating rash can quickly turn into a damaging infection. Bacteria build up quickly in the warm, moist wrinkles and cause an infection with a foul-smelling discharge. The infection is painful for your dog, who may resist your attempts to clean or treat the area. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog may have a skin infection. Treatment often involves cleaning the affected area several times per day and applying an antibiotic ointment.
Treatment and Prevention
Heat-induced rashes in bulldogs are treated much like skin infections. The main goal is to keep the area clean and dry so that it can heal. Work with your veterinarian if your bulldog is suffering from rashes. To prevent such rashes, clean between and underneath your dog's wrinkles once or twice a day with gentle soap and water, dry with a soft towel and apply a dab of diaper rash ointment.