Think your bulldog's thin coat means you don't have to bathe him as much as long-haired dogs? Think again. Under all those folds and wrinkles are all kinds of bacteria and dirt. Left too dirty, your pup can develop a condition called skin-fold dermatitis. You know that can't be good.
If your bulldog is especially dirty, which is often the case, you might want to wash him in the garden or elsewhere outdoors. In the cold or rain, however, always wash him indoors, either in a bathtub or a sink. If you wash your bulldog in a bath, help him out by putting down a non-slip mat.
Prepare the water. The temperature should be 102 degrees -- the same as your bulldog's normal body temperature. In a bathtub, the water should be level with his knees.
Prepare your pup. First give his coat a good brush to get rid of any loose hairs. The last thing you want are bits of doggy hair all over your clothes and furniture or going down your drain. Second, gently slide a cotton ball into the opening of each ear. This stops any water entering the ear canals. Finally, apply eye ointment to each eye (your dog's, not yours). This coating helps protect his eyes from the sting or irritation of shampoo. (Check with your vet about what to use -- in fact, always check with a qualified vet about the care and health of your pet.)
Wet your dog's coat with a shower attachment or a hose. Remember to rinse under his skin-folds and wrinkles. Don't rinse your bulldog's head and face just yet. It is always best to leave this part to the end to minimize the risk of any water or shampoo entering sensitive parts such as the ear canal and the eyes.
Apply and rub the shampoo into your dog's body. Use a wet cloth to get between his toes and underneath his skin-folds. A bulldog is unable to clean his own tail, so you should wash this thoroughly as well.
Wet your dog's head and face with a wet cloth, including around and underneath his nose wrinkle.
Shield your dog's eyes with your hand and apply shampoo to his head and face. Again make sure you clean under his nose wrinkle.
Shield your dog's eyes and rinse off the shampoo from his face and from under his nose wrinkle.
Rinse off the shampoo from the rest of his body.
Dry your bulldog with a towel, again making sure you get under the wrinkles and skin-folds. It will be impossible to dry him thoroughly like this, so finish him with a hairdryer.
Take the cotton-balls out of his ears and clean the flap of the ear and the visible part of the ear canal with a cotton swab.
Add a little vaseline to your dog's nose to keep it soft.
- Use this opportunity to check your dog's skin for abnormalities.
- Before you give your dog a bath take himself outside to relieve himself.
- As soon as you take your bulldog out of the bath, stand back. He will almost certainly shake himself off.
- Never go farther into a dog's ear than the parts you can see.
- Never wash your bulldog with human shampoo.
Simon Thomas has worked as a writer and journalist since 2004. He has contributed articles to several online publications, including Smashing Magazine, an art-and-design e-zine. Thomas holds a B.A. in film and media from Winchester University.