French Bulldog Even though you are a Frenchie parent do not be influenced by your pet’s breed French Bulldog skin problems are inevitable. Since they are a brachycephalic breed, they are naturally predisposed due to sensitive digestive systems and numerous folds. This small but substantial breed loves to lavish their parents with lively attention and heaps of love. A Frenchie’s adorable demeanor can turn sour when they struggle with skin problems.
The short, fine, and smooth coat with the adorable loose skin that wrinkles up, especially around the shoulders and head, is where potential problems originate. Frenchies are rather easily groomed with a very manageable coat that requires light brushing weekly. As a low-shedding dog, you will have very few problems removing dead or loose hair. It is their body type that makes this gorgeous breed easy to check for signs of flaky skin, hot spots, lesions, and skin allergies.
“Chronic skin infection and irritation are often common in extreme brachycephalic dogs, especially these with excessive skin folds and wrinkling. Often around the nasal fold (muzzle), but also the vulva in female dogs as well as screw tail breeds.”The Kennel Club UK
Various Potential Causes of French Bulldog skin problems
French Bulldog skin problems are often caused by allergic reactions to various things and ingredients ranging from household environmental irritants, outdoor allergens, plants, food, etc. While these are common, the problem comes in to diagnose and treat. Therefore, it is so important to prevent rather than cure.
For example, when your Frenchie has hives, could it be his food, allergens, or skin problems?
Typically, problems come from one of those, but then again do they get acute moist dermatitis?
They can also get chronic dry skin which is caused by Frenchies that are bathed too often or living in cold or drier climates.
Frenchies are prone to a skin infection called lip-fold pyoderma. This is due to moistness in the folds of skin along his lower jaw. Yeast and bacteria gain a foothold that results in a smelly, reddened area.
Common French Bulldog Skin Problems and Locations
Less common Frenchie skin problems include skin cancer, Demodex red mites, sarcoptic mange mites, ringworm, keratinization abnormalities, and autoimmune disease.
Skin Fold Dermatitis
This is one of the most common French Bulldog skin problems which are found in the region of their nose, face, toes, tail, and in female dogs, the vaginal fold. In some cases, other areas like the axillary and inguinal areas are also infected as well as areas like ear inner pinna folds, and the thick fold of Frenchie’s neck. Dermatitis causes are multi-factorial and can include allergies to things in their environment or food allergies. It often starts as an irritated area or redness and from there it can progress to scaling, scabbing, end even pustules. Treatment can be external or internal. Cleaning his skin with antifungal or antibacterial cleansers and shampoos will treat mild infections. Extensive dermatitis may require medications like fluconazole or cephalexin.
Nasal and Tail Fold Dermatitis
French Bulldog skin problems include these common locations where debris and moisture are trapped. Both these areas get inflamed very quickly. It is important to get disinfectant wipes to wipe tail and nose folds to prevent these infections. Frenchie’s parents must be careful not to hurt Frenchie’s eyes when wiping their nasal folds. Pets with infections in these areas may get medication that includes oral medications aside from antibacterial wipes. This is a common skin complaint with very few Frenchie parents not having to deal with it at some point.
Fleas are far worse than a mere irritant with a common cause through flea-borne typhus which is when fleas jump on your Frenchie after jumping from another animal. Fleas as also caused by flea allergic dermatitis, cat flea rickettsiosis, and tapeworm.
Autoimmune Skin Disease
Frenchies suffering from an autoimmune skin disease cause your dog’s immune system to attack its tissues and organs. It happens to Frenchies because of:
- An immune system attacks red blood cells.
- The immune system attacks cells that are responsible for the forming of blood clots.
- Pure and simple genetics
Keratinization abnormalities show up in dry, scaly skin. This is caused by malabsorption disorders, dietary deficiencies, parasites, autoimmune disorders, endocrine disorders, allergies, or genetics.
Specific types of fungus cause ringworm and can show up with various types of symptoms like:
- Crusty or scaly skin
- Red skin
- Hair loss
Demodex Red Mites
These are caused by parasites that live in dogs’ hair follicles that show up as red, itchy skin conditions.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites
This is an extremely contagious condition! It comes from Sarcoptes scabiei mite that burrows through the dog’s skin and causes intense irritation and itching.
It isn’t known why dogs get skin cancer and fortunately it isn’t common. Risk factors when they do get skin cancer include hormonal dysfunction, viruses, sun damage, sun exposure, trauma to the skin, genetic disposition, or dogs older than 7 years.
“Frenchie owners should regularly monitor their dog’s wrinkles and folds for signs of irritation and infection. Owners should keep these areas daily to remove moisture, debris, dirt, and food particles. Also, try to keep wrinkles dry after the dog drank water and after bathing.”UK Kennel Club
Top 3 FAQ: French Bulldog Skin Problems
The easiest and first sign most Frenchie parents may experience that indicates skin fold problems is an unpleasant odor from the skin fold. Pet parents must be vigilant as visual signs of sore skin and infection may be hidden in deep skin folds. Only upon further inspection, Frenchie’s parents may notice reddening of his skin, matting of his coat around the inflamed area, or pussy discharge. Affected Frenchies may be resistant to you touching the fold to examine it as it will be sore, but usually, you will notice it immediately in some dogs. He may scratch too as it may be itchy which will cause more damage to the infected areas.
Allergies could include a variety of food that may be sensitive to anything from dairy products to cheese, corn, and milk while they can even be sensitive to meats, chicken, wheat, and eggs. Parasites like mites and fleas cause itching but bites go through the fur which causes an allergic reaction. Atopic Dermatitis occurs with hot spots, sores, itching, crusts, inflammation, and seborrhea and has the potential to lead to bloody wounds that become infections. Fungi are the biggest potential skin problem caused by your gorgeous Frenchie’s adorable folds.
No, French Bulldogs are not a breed that needs to be singled out as prone to skin problems. Any breed can contract skin problems due to allergens. The fact that they are a brachycephalic breed, is the only reason why you need to look in particular at their adorable folds. They need to be kept clean and dry as this is where most of their skin problems derive from.
“The prime suspects in skin allergies are pollen, mold, and dust as likely instigators while itches caused by fleas also cause an allergic skin reaction. Skin allergies are most common through airborne pollen and mold spores while food sensitivity afflicts very few dogs.”American Kennel Club
How to Manage French Bulldog Skin Problems
It is essential to keep your Frenchie’s folds dry and healthy. Any areas not cared for will become infected with yeast and bacteria. These infections are both irritating and painful to your gorgeous Frenchie.
Environmental and food allergies
Environmental allergies can be minimized during his lifetime and bath time with decent hypoallergenic shampoo, wiping him regularly with hypoallergenic wipes, and using biotin supplements. To eliminate allergens causing skin problems you need to use an elimination diet or feed your Frenchie a hypoallergenic diet. You can maintain food allergies with chewable allergy supplements as well.
Mites and Ringworm
Mites are preventable when your Frenchie follows a healthy diet to build up a strong, healthy immune system. A clean environment is equally important and asking your vet for medication if you do suspect Demodex as well as prevention medication for ringworm and anti-flea products can be purchased online.
A good diet and a moisturizing hypoallergenic shampoo are how you will reduce the risk of symptoms as you will not be able to prevent keratinization abnormalities any other way.
Frenchies have short coats which is why you should apply good sunscreen when he is exposed to the sun. You get special sunscreen designed for Frenchies that will not harm them when he licks it. Apply sunscreen diligently where he has less fur protecting his skin as these are likely cancer spots.
Frenchies can be as healthy as any breed with proper care. Feed your dog with high-quality food that’s free of hormones, preservatives, chemicals, glutinous grains, antibiotics, ethoxyquin, and butylated hydroxyanisole. Food must contain plenty of nutrients and antioxidants from puppy food to adulthood. The environment should be stress-free and contain no toxic substances. Use medicated shampoo and hypoallergenic wipes to regularly clean their face, paws, armpits, and stomach. These will remove both residues from potential nasty chemicals as well as environmental allergens. When all else fails, talk to your vet about allergy shots and treatments.