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How to Clean a Bulldog's Face Folds

Bulldogs are known for their facial wrinkles. Unfortunately, their adorable signature folds are prone to infection. Keep your pooch happy and healthy (plus your vet bills down) by learning when and how you should clean their face. With the proper supplies, techniques, and health checks, your bulldog’s wrinkly mug will be free from skin conditions and ready to admire.

Gathering Supplies

1. Decide on your cleaning solution. Use a cleanser for dogs, a saline solution, or a simple mix of water and dog shampoo. The only requirement is that the dog shampoo should be mild and ideally fragrance-free so that it won’t dry out or irritate your bulldog’s skin.

  • If your bulldog is not that dirty or prone to infections, you can simply use water.
  • If you’re mixing your own solution, combine one part water with one part dog shampoo. Mild, hypoallergenic dog shampoos work best.

2. Find an appropriate cleaning tool. This applicator can be anything from a clean cloth or rag to a makeup pad to a cotton ball. You just need something clean and absorptive that will hold your cleaning solution.

  • For a convenient tool that mixes the solution with the cloth, use baby wipes with aloe.

3. Get a clean, thin towel. You will need a thin towel or cloth to dry out your dog’s folds after you wash them. It should be as clean as possible since you don’t want to rub any dirt or bacteria back into your bulldog’s wrinkles after cleaning them. Make sure to dry your bulldog’s skin folds well to avoid leaving any residual moisture that may lead to bacterial growth.

  • Avoid using any powders on your bulldog’s folds because this may lead to an infection.

Conducting the Cleaning Process

1. Ask your dog to sit and stay. The process will go much faster if you have a still and obedient pet. Be sure they’re settled down and sitting before you attempt to clean them.

  • Your bulldog is more likely to accept this process and behave while you’re performing it if you start doing it while they’re still a puppy. Once it’s a familiar part of their routine, it won’t seem like a distressing experience.

2. Add your cleaning solution to your applicator. You want your cleaning cloth to be damp, not wet, so only add a small amount of solution to it.

3. Wipe your bulldog’s folds gently. Glide your cleaning tool through and around the crevices of your bulldog’s face and neck. Gently hold open the creases that are difficult to reach with your fingers so that you can clean inside them. Be sure to avoid their eyes to prevent irritation.

  • Don’t scrub or apply much pressure since that can damage your bulldog’s skin or encourage infections by rubbing debris into it.
  • If your dog also has folds around their tail, you should clean those, too.

4. Pay special attention to your dog’s nose wrinkle. The deep fold that surrounds your bulldog’s nose is the most likely place for them to collect dirt, debris, and microbes. Pay special attention to this pronounced groove when cleaning their face.

5. Dry your dog’s folds. You don’t want any moisture or soap residue tucked away in your dog’s facial folds since that can lead to discomfort and bacterial infections. Use a clean towel or cloth to wipe away any lingering moisture from your bulldog’s wrinkles.

  • Alternately, you can use a blow dryer on a cool setting to dry out their folds. Hold the folds open, and gently apply the flow of air up and down them until they’re dry.

6. Moisturize as necessary. If your bulldog’s folds look dry, red, or flaky from frequent washing, try adding a bit of moisturizer to them after drying to help maintain their skin’s balance.

  • You can rub a bit of Vaseline, mild ointment, or aloe in the folds to protect and refresh their skin. Only use a slight amount since you don’t want them to be moist.

7. Reward your pet. Lavish your pet with a treat and affectionate praise for sitting through their cleaning. Doing so will give them positive associations with getting their face cleaned, which will make it a more pleasant experience for both of you in the future.

Preventing and Addressing Infections

1. Clean your bulldog’s folds at least twice a week. The frequency of cleaning will depend on your pet and the condition of their skin, but it’s best to do it more than once a week.

  • Keep in mind that dogs who are prone to infection or have immune systems compromised by sickness or old age may require more frequent cleanings, such as daily or even twice daily.
  • If your dog tends to be sloppy with their food and/or water, you might also want to clean them on a daily rather than weekly basis.

2. Keep your bulldog at its ideal weight. Obese and overweight dogs have a higher risk of skin infections because their folds are deeper. Monitor your dog’s weight, and consult with your vet about necessary dietary changes if you see any significant increases.

  • Your pet's ideal weight will vary according to its age and sex, but the average adult bulldog should weigh between 22-25 kilograms. Consult with your vet about the ideal weight for your particular pet.

3. Watch for symptoms of infection. When you’re cleaning your bulldog’s folds, be sure to inspect them for signs of infection like rashes, redness, swelling, inflammation, discharge, and/or unpleasant smells.

  • If you notice any signs of infection while cleaning your bulldog's folds, then you will need to take him to see a veterinarian. Your dog may have an infection and veterinary treatment is required.

4. Take your dog to the vet. If you notice any symptoms of infection in your bulldog’s wrinkles, make an appointment with your vet right away. They can prescribe any necessary treatments, such as anti-fungal or antibacterial creams, and advise you about how often you should be cleaning the infected areas.

5. Adjust your cleaning routine. If your bulldog has infected folds, you will need to clean them twice a day rather than twice a week. Swap your cleaning solution for a mild cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide. Dry their folds completely, and then apply any ointments or other topical treatments, such as diaper rash cream, that your vet recommended.

  • You may also want to clip the fur around your dog’s infected folds so that the skin is easier to access and can stay cleaner.
  • Be sure to consult with your vet about this routine first to see if it will be effective at treating your dog’s infection.

Expert Advice

Try these tips to make it easier to clean your dog's face:

  • Gently wash the dog's face with a tearless shampoo. Use a wet washcloth with tearless shampoo, and gently scrub. You could also put the shampoo on your hand and gently apply it to the face, then rub it in to create a lather. Be very careful not to get shampoo in the dog's eyes. If you do, rinse it right away with warm water.
  • Wipe away any debris around its eyes. If your dog has gunk in its eyes, carefully soak the area with warm water and shampoo. Then, once it's softened, either wipe it away with a shampoo or comb it out with a flea comb. However, be careful not to comb too hard, since that area is usually raw from having debris stuck to it.
  • Rinse the dog's face carefully. When you're rinsing the dog with a sprayer, use a low setting, or place the nozzle on top of the dog's head and let the water run down its face, being careful not to let the water get in the dog's nose.


  • If you’re having trouble wrangling your bulldog for a cleaning, tempt them over with a treat or a favorite toy.
  • The ideal cleaning process and how often you do it will depend on your dog. Be sure to pay attention to their specific needs to ensure their skin stays healthy.


  • Keep all cleaning products away from your dog’s eyes and mouth when doing this process. It’s also best to store all cleaning products in a securely locked cabinet or on a shelf that’s out of their reach. You do not want your bulldog to ingest them.
  • Never use cleaners with toxic ingredients to wash your dog’s face.