Skin Conditions of Bulldogs

Written By Darlene Stott
Published: 06/11/2017Updated: 06/02/2023
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Skin Conditions (Bulldogs) in Dogs - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Skin Conditions Affecting Bulldogs?

All breeds of dogs can develop skin issues, but Bulldogs are predisposed to developing them. Their wrinkles may be cute, but they are breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast due to the moist conditions. If you do not keep your dog’s wrinkles clean, and even if you do, he can develop severe skin issues. These can include:

Prevention of skin infection is the best sort of treatment you can offer your Bulldog. You should take a visit to your veterinarian to discuss the best way to care for your Bulldog’s skin.

Bulldogs are prone to all types of skin conditions and infections.  If your dog’s skin looks irritated in any way, take him to your veterinarian for an evaluation.

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Symptoms of Skin Conditions in Bulldogs

The wrinkles of your Bulldog are ultimate breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast due to the moist, dark conditions. The ears are also a common breeding ground for the organisms. Your dog will typically present with severe itching. This will often change into licking, chewing, and rubbing of the entire body, especially around the eyes, muzzle, ears, between the toes, and groin.

Signs of this condition may include:

  • Severe itching (licking, chewing, scratching) 
  • Hair loss, partial or complete
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scaling of the skin
  • Skin lesions (eyelids, flexural surfaces, axillae) 
  • Superficial pyoderma (very common in skin folds and wrinkles)
  • Secondary infection
  • Lichenification (thickened skin)

Causes of Skin Conditions in Bulldogs

The causes of skin conditions include:

Many Bulldogs will have allergies as well as a secondary infection and/or parasites.

Diagnosis of Skin Conditions in Bulldogs

When you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, be sure to tell your vet about any and all symptoms. They will want to know when you first noticed the skin abnormalities, if your dog has been displaying any of the typical signs of a skin issue, if you have tried to treat it with anything over the counter, if you have fed him anything new lately, if he has had any changes in his routine or home that could cause stress, if he recently injured himself, or anything else that may be helpful to know about his situation.  

As part of their diagnostic process, your veterinarian will need to rule out other possible causes that may be causing the skin issue. While the location of the skin issue will give the veterinarian much needed information about your companion’s condition, they will want to rule out possible causes that may be associated, as well. 

Your veterinarian will then continue by performing a full physical exam on your dog. While it may be obvious where the lesion is and the signs it is causing your dog, they may want to do a full evaluation of your dog's entire body system to check for other areas of sensitivity that have not yet developed into a skin infection but are susceptible to it. They may also check for evidence of parasites during the exam to see if they are a contributing factor.  As well as this, they'll want to assess for underlying health issues (such as endocrine disorders) which make infections more likely.

Your veterinarian may want to clean the affected area of skin to allow them a better look at the lesion. Clipping the area will remove excess fur from the region which will improve ventilation and allow for easier cleaning.

In addition to diagnosing and treating the skin disease and possible infection, you will also need to investigate the cause of the initial signs. During her examination, if your vet found evidence of fleas or other ectoparasites, this would be treated.  If it is in a location where there is a skin fold, she may take a skin swab sample to verify what type of bacteria or yeast is colonizing in the area. Further diagnostics may be recommended depending on the suspected cause of your dog’s condition.

Treatment of Skin Conditions in Bulldogs

Ideally, the best treatment involves treating any lesions and preventing more from appearing. 

Bulldogs need their wrinkles cleaned and dried daily, or more frequently, to keep them dry and prevent bacterial overgrowth. If you do not begin a prevention method, such as cleaning, more skin lesions will appear. 

If your dog is licking or scratching in a specific area that leads to the lesion development, you must stop the scratching in order to break the cycle. Proper treatment involves addressing the underlying cause. Your dog may stop licking for a while, but if there is an underlying cause, it is only a matter of time before he begins again.  

If this condition goes untreated, your dog may develop papules or pustules around the lesions. This would need antibiotic therapy as it can be indicative of a skin infection. If this is the case with your dog, the veterinarian will send you home with a prescription for an oral antibiotic. Medications to be applied topically to the lesions and medicated washes may also be sent home depending on your dog’s needs.  

If ectoparasites are the cause of or a contribution to his signs, your veterinarian will suggest a type of flea prevention or other medication to take care of the parasites.

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Recovery of Skin Conditions in Bulldogs

Prevention is your best treatment option for skin conditions in Bulldogs. However, even with thorough and repetitive cleaning, some dogs are still prone to infection.  Keeping your dog’s skin as healthy as possible can be helped by offering a good, balanced diet as well as skin supplements such as a fish oil. Your veterinarian may also recommend you use specific wipes on areas of excessive moisture or even a medicated shampoo to keep bacteria or yeast from growing. If you take care of your dog’s skin properly, he should be able to have fewer issues than others of his breed.

Importantly, any identified allergens (whether in the diet or environment) need to be avoided where possible.

Skin conditions in Bulldogs can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog is at risk of skin problems, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

Skin Conditions (Bulldogs) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


English Bulldog



Two Years


8 found this helpful


8 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My bulldog developed a bad skin condition on his face. When I noticed his face was very swollen (like hives). Next day his face became crusty and cracked (like scabs)/ It is very itchy for him, so he has some small open lesions and it is red, took him to the vet & had a skin scrape test. He was prescribed Cephalexin and Prednisolone.

Dec. 6, 2020

Answered by Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

8 Recommendations

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. I5 sounds like he has a severe skin infection which is common in his breed due to the skin folds. Many individuals will also have allergies. It sounds as though he is on the right treatment and you should start to see improvement in a few days.

Dec. 6, 2020

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Old English Bulldogge



Eleven Months


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Bump On His Fur
Why does my dog have bumps on his throat and his back and stumic

Sept. 26, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Without being able to see him, it is difficult to say what might be causing this. t would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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