So if you’ve owned or own a French Bulldog you’ll no doubt be aware that the breed can often come with various allergies and health complications. Some serious, some not so much but one of the more common can be skin disorders. Let’s have a look at the different types of French Bulldog skin issues. Then we’ll look at how to recognise them and what you can do to treat them at home.
1: Clean the folds!
One of the reasons we love our Frenchie companions is because they have such cute little scrunched up faces. As cute as they may look though, these skin folds on the face can be a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Cleaning between the folds on your Frenchie’s face on a regular basis can help prevent redness and itching of the face. No two dogs are the same and we find that our dog Kikka’s folds are usually quite clean, Stella however needs attention 1-2 times a week.
An old towel corner or some cotton wool soaked with warm water usually does the trick. No need for soap, just warm water on the cotton wool. Follow this with a dry towel wipe and that should be enough to keep the skin in good condition. If you’ve leave it too long the skin can turn red and inflamed. We find that smoothing on a little shea butter helps soothes the skin. Careful though, if you have two dogs you’ll find they’ll try to lick the butter off each other.
2: Regular de worming
If you’re not de worming your Frenchie on a regular basis, you should be. Most vets will recommend you treat your dog every 3 months or so. Not only can worms leave your French Bulldog with skin issues, they can cause a whole host of other problems as well as passing the worms on to you. You can buy deworming tablets from Pets at Home. If you’re unsure your vet can also treat your dog but this tends to more expensive.
3: French Bulldog skin issues can be food issues
This is one we know all too well. Our youngest Frenchie came to us as a rescue with a very limited diet. It seemed that many foods were the catalyst for skin issues. We were fortunate enough to be given a few options from the vet on what to try and what to avoid. Stella quickly settled in to her new diet. If she picks up something out and about that she shouldn’t eat she will often have a ‘flare up.’ This can include yeast growth in the ears or patches of her hair falling out. She’s also start to become very ‘scratchy.’
If you’re finding that your French Bulldog has skin issues and you can’t understand why, it’s well worth considering dietary changes before reaching for treatment. Prevention is better than cure. You can find more info on food allergies on our other post here.
4: Get under the armpits and between the toes.
We highlighted earlier that the skin folds on the face can be a problem area for French Bulldogs but between the toes is another spot that’s worth keeping an eye on. This are can often get wet when out on a walk and doesn’t always dry quickly. If you shower your dog make sure to pay attention to between the toes and dry off with a towel. Under the armpits can be an itchy spot for one of ours due to her allergies so on her weekly shower she gets a little rub under there which is always well received.
5: Fleas and mites
Sound disgusting? They are but not only are they disgusting, the various types of fleas and mites can make your dog’s life a misery and many are extremely contagious. If you see your dog scratching at red patches of skin and you know they don’t have any food allergies it might be worth taking them to the vet to be checked over and treated.
6: French Bulldog skin issues (allergies)
This is covered in more depth in our allergies post which you can read in full here. More often than not, French Bulldog skin issues come about due to exposure to allergens. As mentioned previously this can often be foods or more specifically, the types of protein within the foods. Other common external factors can be pollen (yes dogs can get hayfever,) dust and grass to name just a few. If your dog tends to lick their paws a lot when they come in from outside or they are scratching excessively it could be worth giving them a quick rinse in the shower to wash off any allergens.
7: French Bulldog skin issues (yeast infections.)
We’ve kinda touched on this already but yeast infections are fairly common in dogs. The most likely areas we’ve already mentioned. Really though, any area that can gather moisture is worth considering. This includes the regions down below for both male and female dogs. If the more delicate regions are affected your vet can prescribe treatment which usually comes in the form of a spray bottle. We’ve found it very easy to administer at home. If your dog is rubbing their private parts on the carpet or ground outside to scratch down there they might have a yeast infection. Regular cleaning of this area can help prevent this coming about.
The other (and probably most common) spot for yeast infections is the ears. We have a whole post dedicated to cleaning your Frenchie’s ears which you can read here. Yeast infections in the ear can be recognised not only by your dog scratching but they’re also often quite visible. And you can smell it. Smelly ears with a yellowy, waxy build up and/or flaky skin can be signs of a yeast infection in your dog’s ears. This can be treated at home although it’s worth having your vet confirm if it is in fact, a yeast infection or something else. In our experience, none of our dogs have ever liked having their ears cleaned. There are things you can do to help (read here) and make the process much easier. After trialing a few different solutions, we’ve found that Dogslife anti-fungal cleaner not only works, it smells good.
Natural remedies for French Bulldog skin issues.
With everything discussed here there are always prescribed treatments available for your local vet however many can be treated at home. Below we’ve listed three things which have definitely helped us.
1: Shea butter
Shea butter has so many uses for humans but it’s also safe to use on dogs. We’ve tried many over the counter products for our Kikka’s dried out nose. In the end we found that shea butter does a better job than any of them. Our other Frenchie Stella has deeper folds and we’ve often used a little shea butter after cleaning to help soothe the skin and reduce redness. We wouldn’t advise to use it on broken skin but certainly if it’s looking a little red it can help.
2: Coconut oil
In our experience this isn’t quite as good as shea butter but it still does a job. Also, it’s probably more likely to be in your cupboard at home. Although neither of our dogs like having their noses rubbed they do love licking the coconut oil off your fingers afterwards.
3: Dog shampoo
Before we got our most recent Frenchie Stella we would only rinse Kikka about once a month without shampoo. Stella required a weekly wash with medicated allergy shampoo so, we decided to start shampooing them both weekly. Stella no longer needs the medicated shampoo but a couple of washes a month has made such a difference to their coats and skin. You can buy and research many dog shampoos online. Read customer reviews to try and find a good one and always try just a little bit at first. In summer this helps get all of the pollen off their coats (there’s a lot where we live.) In winter, a warm rinse helps to get all the road grit and salt from between their toes.
One thing to note on this point is that you shouldn’t use human shampoo on dogs. Human shampoos are formulated differently and can strip away many of your dog’s natural oils. More importantly, they can irritate their skin which is the complete opposite of what we’re trying to do.
So that’s about it. If you suspect your dog has serious skin issues then of course you should always get this checked by your vet. Often though, once you know what the triggers are it’s often just a case of being careful. Much easier to prevent flare ups rather than treat them and prevention often comes in the shape of just good old TLC. Good hygiene and dietary discipline are sometimes all that’s needed to keep your fluffy friend happy and scratch free.
One thing we’ve not mentioned yet is to also be aware that dogs just love a scratch so don’t over obsess. If you have a French Bulldog with known skin issues it can be easy to slip into the paranoid trap of scrutinising every scratch. A little scratch behind the ear from time to time is perfectly normal so look more for the indicators. Red, swollen and/or patchy skin. Flaky skin, hair falling out and bald patches. These are the things that should sound alarm bells and warrant closer inspection.