Between their pushed-in faces and short, stocky bodies, the English bulldog's overall impression is one of a smooshed dog. This overall squished look may make him adorable, but it adds an element of hygiene care that most breeds lack. Infection can develop quickly in those dark crevices without proper cleaning.
Unpleasant organisms like to call dark, moist places home, and that includes the ears and various wrinkles of your English bulldog. Yeast, bacteria and parasites love to hide in these spots, feeding and multiplying and generally causing your pooch discomfort and irritation. Keeping these areas clean and dry helps prevent the bad guys from getting a foothold, preventing infection and general bulldog unhappiness.
When collecting your toolkit for cleaning your bulldog's face and ears, keep the word “gentle” in mind. Harsh chemical cleaners or materials could irritate his skin, causing irritation and infections. Use a soft washcloth, unscented baby wipes with aloe or cotton balls for the actual scrubbing, and warm water or a gentle cleanser to loosen oils, wax and dirt. Witch hazel, a 50 percent soap solution or mineral oil work well to remove dirt and ear wax without overdrying your pup's skin. Avoid using cotton swabs like Q-tips, as one sudden jerk from your bully could cause a painful injury.
Keeping your pup still during the cleaning process will require some experimentation on your part, but once he starts tolerating the procedure, the actual cleaning part is pretty basic. Wipe his wrinkles out with the wet washcloth, baby wipe or damp cotton ball to soak any dirt or oils present. Use a soft, dry cloth to dry the wrinkles completely -- any moisture left is an open invitation for infection. Use a damp cotton ball to wipe out his ears, being careful not to poke too far into the ear itself. Wipe just the part you can see. Dry it with a soft cloth.
When To Seek Professional Help
The frequency of this cleaning routine depends on your individual dog, as some bulldogs seem to get dirty faster than others. Clean his ears weekly, and his wrinkles at least two or three times a week. If the wrinkles seem to get funky quickly, increase the cleaning sessions to daily. Sometimes problems and infections occur despite your best cleaning efforts, in which case you should see your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Signs of skin infections include unusual redness, irritation and odor, and ear infections offer the same symptoms but can also have a dark discharge. Medicated ointments and drops usually help clear up these infections without much trouble.
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