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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Harris

Stinky Bulldog? Learn how to manage your favorite pups less than favorite 'musk'.

Okay, so we'll admit, this isn't our usual content! But it does have all to do with odors, which we are experts on, and we also happen to work with our office mascot, who's an adorable little (frequently stinky) bulldog!

If you’ve stumbled across this article it’s likely you own a bulldog, are considering getting one, or just simply like reading about them. If you belong to the first category you probably know the hilarious, cute, and often stubborn nature of a bulldog. But I’m sure there’s another question that’s been nagging you….Why does my bulldog stink?

The team here at Odor’s Gone Today has a fun little office dog named Tater Tot, although he is affectionately nicknamed ‘Snorticus’. He often gives us some…interesting smells to deal with throughout the day and we figured we’d be right up our alley discussing how to handle those distinct bulldog odors what options you have to create a more pleasant cohabitation with your furry friend. Hopefully we cover all the bases here and provide a quick stop with all the answers you’ve been looking for.

If you’re more interested in the best ways to remove odors already created in your home, I suggest you check out our post covering that topic Tips to Maintaining a Fresh Smelling Home.

So, why does your Bulldog smell bad? Well, this a bit of a loaded question with answers ranging from diet, cleanliness, skin allergies, and more. But read on and we’ll cover all the bases on that ever nagging and specific scent of ‘Le Parfum Du Bulldog’. We’ll list some of the most common reasons below, what the culprit causing it is, and what you can do to fix the problem.

Skin Infections/Poor Upkeep. This is the most common reason for that very recognizable bulldog smell. It’s really not too surprising that Bulldogs come in as the fourth smelliest dog breed. Although for us owners, we may be tempted to think they come in first!

Bulldogs are bred to have cute little smushed noses and tails, and excessive folds all over their bodies. Sadly, the very thing they’re aesthetically bred for is the most common culprit for that traditional bulldog stank.

The Cause:

These folds are extremely susceptible to collecting dirt, filth, oils, food, and moisture. Over time this permeates an awfully strong smell. This can cause all sorts of skin diseases and is very healthy breeding ground for parasites and bacteria that damage the skin over time and can lead to uncomfortable and smelly infections.

So how can you diagnose this problem? In early stages you will notice red and inflamed skin. Expect to especially see hyper pigmentation in the folds and creases of your bulldog, usually around their face or tail. This is the time to act. If left untreated you will begin to notice rubbed skin, hot spots, lost hair, open sores, and serious build up of ‘gunk’.

The Fix:

1. The key is proper maintenance. The first rule of thumb with any ‘wrinkly’ dog is Clean. The. Folds. This can not be stressed enough. Those folds may be cute but they come with a lot of health issues if not properly maintained. The cheapest and easiest at home remedy is a tissue or cotton ball doused in peroxide. This naturally kills off infection causing bacteria. However, there are many products on the market specifically to address this. You should be cleaning your bulldog’s folds daily. And don’t forget to wipe again if you leave any residue as you don’t want to leave any of your bulldog’s folds damp. Make sure to focus on their face but don’t neglect their tail, that cute little smushed corkscrew can get just as funky as the rest of them. There’s also a lot of other products for soothing skin, sores, rough spots, and for cleaning out the folds. We’ve listed some of our favorites at the end of this post.

2. Frequent baths. It is important to maintain the cleanliness of your bulldog’s skin and coat. You’ll want to find moisturizing shampoos that won’t dry out your pooches’ skin and hair too much as they require being bathed more frequently than most dogs and you don’t want to risk stripping too many natural oils. There are also conditioners on the market for dogs that can help alleviate the dryness caused by frequent baths. Your vet can also prescribe specific medicated shampoo that generally can be used more frequently with less side effects.

Flatulence. We’re coming in hot! This is definitely a common reason your little snorty family member has offended you today. He enters the room, sniffles about, his little nose mimicking a piggy noise, and then he finally stretches out next to you and…..ppppffffttttttt. Probably not what you were hoping for next! Call a hazmat team because that gas is noxious!

The Cause:

1. This is an extremely common trait to bulldogs, sorry, no good news there! One of the main reasons this happens is their adorable little squished up noses. Although a mixture of cute and pig noises, this facial feature unfortunately causes most bulldogs to intake a lot of air while eating. More air in the digestive track adds to the chance your dog will have increased flatulence throughout the day.

2. The second most common cause is their diet. Many specialized breeds come with a host of difficulties, and for bulldogs a sensitive stomach is extremely common. It can simply take one ingredient that your dog is intolerant towards to make the air about them…a bit odious. Many bulldogs need specific foods to control recurring stomach issues. Other signs of a food allergy include constantly licking chewing (especially paws or rectum), itchy skin, dull coat, red eyes, and hair loss.

The Fix:

1. Invest in a slow feeder. This will help your bulldog slow down as he ingests his food and keep him from intaking too much air.

2. Many bulldogs will need to be out on a specific diet for their breed and consulting your veterinarian is always the best option. You can move your dog to a single ingredient diet and slowly add items back in until you find the culprit (A tactic Tater Tot has experienced before!). Keep in mind that the most common foods dogs form allergies to are Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Eggs, Dairy, Soy, and Wheat. Fish is a popular substitute as it’s rich in omega-3 which is great for smooth coats.

Here's a few other possible reasons your Bull Dog is especially pungent:

Infected Tail Pocket. As mentioned above, your bulldog’s little corkscrew tail may look adorable, but these creases can cause several potential diseases, including recurring infections. And due to its location, the chance of it become smellier than other parts of his body is just a given. This is where proper and frequent cleaning comes back into play to ensure your bulldogs health.

Impacted Anal Sacs. The telltale sign of this is that potent and very recognizable fishy odor. If your dog smells very strongly of fish and or iron that could mean that they have impacted anal glands or anal gland disease. Sadly, this is another extremely common problem with your bulldog. This issue is not only one of the stinkiest problems any dog can develop, but it can also be dangerous leading to severe pain and infection. The best way to combat this issue is a proper diet. The second option you have is having the glands expressed by a veterinarian on a regular basis of the dog is simply unable to do it themselves.

Ear Infections. There are different reasons for your dog’s smelly ears, such as lack of cleanliness, continual moisture, or even too much hair. Often times this stench is described as a slight yeasty smell, but an ear infection will often produce a much stronger smell that should be reported your vet and treated right away. You can combat frequent ear issues by upkeeping weekly ear cleaning regiments. Your vet can prescribe medicated ear drops or you can simply use a soft rag or cotton ball and clean regularly.

Bad Breath. Periodontal disease (AKA Gum Disease) can create a seriously bad stench and be very bad for your pooch’s overall health. A bulldog’s mouth, left unclean, can quickly build up plaque and tartar. This is what leads to overall bad breath and ultimately disease. Getting your dog used to constant toothbrushing is your best bet to combat this. There’s plenty of tasty toothpaste made for dogs that you can usually find at your local pet store. If you aren’t having much luck cleaning their teeth by yourself, you can also take them to your vet for cleanings. Giving your dog appropriate chewing toys and surfaces can also help reduce plaque buildup.

Still want to bring home that adorable little squish faced pup? We recommend checking out this informative article by Rover: English Bulldog Puppies: Breed Info and Who Needs a Bulldog Today (

Listed below are a few of our favorite products for taking care of your wrinkly friend. The following items are not partners or sponsors, but simply products that we have grown fond of. We highly recommend you read reviews, ingredient lists, and do your own research or consult your veterinarian before purchasing any product:

To help with rough paws, rough nose, and agitated skin we recommend Bag Balm. This one has been around a very long time and has been a favorite to farmers and ranchers for ailments in livestock and to keep their own hands soft! Bag balm:

Healthy breeds deodorizing shampoo for bulldogs. This shampoo has a lot of vitamins and a soft pleasant scent: Healthy Breeds Dog Deodorizing Shampoo For Bulldog - Over 200 Breeds - For Itchy Sensitive Dry Flaking Scaling Skin & Coat - Hypoallergenic Formula & Ph Balanced - 16 Oz

Chlorhexidine shampoos are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to aid in itchy troubled skin. You can ask your vets recommendation or check out Pethonesty: Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo (16 Ounce) | PetHonesty

Developed as a sort of preventative shield against moisture and dirt buildup, staving off infections, is Squishface Wrinkle Paste. This product can help with redness, swelling, tear stains, and more. It is suggested to be used daily, if possible: : Squishface Wrinkle Paste - Cleans Wrinkles, Tear Stains and Tail Pockets - 2 Oz, Anti-Itch, Great for Bulldogs, Pugs and Frenchies : Pet Supplies

Although there’s plenty of conditioner options on the market, we have a fondness for Pet Supermarket’s Remoisturizing Conditioner. It’s not a heavy conditioner, has a very soft scent, and a simple ingredient list. Pet Supermarket is located mostly in southern states but ships everywhere in the US except Alaska and Hawaii: Remoisturizing Conditioner (

WARNING: We’ve noticed a trend of dog related products containing tea-tree oil as a ‘good’ additive for soothing skin. This can be extremely dangerous as tea-tree oil MUST be diluted to 0.1-1.0% to be considered safe and even then, you could still be taking a risk. Exposure to undiluted tea-tree oil can cause ataxia, lethargy, excess salivation, coma, and tremors. Recent popularity around diffusers and essential oils has caused many an issue with pet owners. Although many of these oils are beneficial to humans, many of them can be harmful to pets, especially when breathed in. Others to avoid while shopping for ways to improve your pups aroma: Eucalyptus oil, cinnamon, certain citrus, pine, sweet birch, peppermint, wintergreen, clove, and oregano. Many of these have been found in the ingredients of dog related products, always read the label before purchase.

Well, that’s just about everything! We sure do hope you found what you were looking for in this article or at least learned an awful lot. Feel free to leave a comment on your favorite products for your bulldog or what care regiments you swear by!

Tater would love to hear them!

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