Bulldogs are a breed of dog that has wrinkled skin with pronounced folds on the face near the eyes and mouth. Bulldogs were first bred in the late 13th century in England for the sport of bull-baiting, a fight to the death between a tethered bull and a bulldog. The deep facial wrinkles were one of the features selected for the perfect fighting dog because they channeled any blood from the bull out of the dog's nose and mouth to keep it from suffocating. While the facial wrinkles were once helpful in saving the bulldog’s life, the wrinkles are now unfortunately potentially harmful to it.
Wrinkles Need to be Cleaned
The deep wrinkles on a bulldog’s face tend to be very damp and can trap dirt and debris in the folds of skin. To get rid of excess dirt and moisture, it is imperative that an owner clean the wrinkles on a regular basis with a wet cloth or in a weekly bath. After cleaning or bathing, it is important to thoroughly dry the area with special attention to wrinkles around the nose and mouth. Every bulldog will have a different severity of wrinkled skin, so some dogs will require weekly or even daily care.
Signs of Infection
As a bulldog ages, facial wrinkles generally become deeper and need more frequent care to prevent yeast infections. With proper care, a typical bulldog's wrinkles will be smooth, like the dog’s coat. If there is any irritation to the skin folds, it will be most noticeable when the skin is lifted or separated and the area may appear very red. There can be some normal chaffing in the bulldog’s wrinkles, but if the folds begin to have a sour smell, greasy appearance and seem to be inflamed, it is most likely a yeast infection.
When Yeast Infections Occur
If the bulldog has a yeast infection, it should be treated immediately or the condition of the skin will worsen. A veterinarian should be contacted as soon as possible to have the bulldog properly diagnosed and seek care based upon the vet’s advice. If waiting for an appointment with a veterinarian, the bulldog’s wrinkles should be kept as clean as possible to avoid further irritation. It is possible for the infection to clear up if properly and regularly cleaned, but if it persists beyond three days, medication might be needed. If the infection goes untreated, it can cause hair loss, inflammation and even demodectic mange, a skin condition that could prove fatal.
Once a yeast infection has been cared for and heals, it is important that an owner is especially mindful of the bulldog’s facial wrinkles to avoid future infections. If regular cleaning does not work to fully eliminate infections, it might be a side effect of a food allergy and a veterinarian should be contacted for further testing.