How to Clean a Dog's Jowls

Medium
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

A dog’s jowls consist of the skin folds and loose lips around the mouth. Many dogs have lots of jowl material--some have even been bred specifically for their cute wrinkly faces and loose jowl folds that give them such an expressive look. However, there is a downside to lots of jowl material; they need cleaning and maintenance or they are prone to collect moisture, debris, bacteria, and fungus and get infections, which are not cute at all! They are foul, stinky and, let's face it, super gross! 

Due to their proximity to your dog's mouth, saliva, food, and whatever your dog is investigating on his daily walks is liable to get trapped in loose skin folds around his mouth. If these skin folds are not cleaned, infections such as lip fold pyoderma can occur from buildup of bacteria. Some breeds like spaniels, hounds, Boxers, Mastiffs, and Bulldogs have particularly pronounced jowls. All dogs can experience problems with soiled lip fold skin, and cleaning your dog's lip folds, particularly if your dog's lip folds are pronounced, is important to prevent problems.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog doesn't like having his mouth handled, cleaning his lip folds can be a bit of a challenge.  Let's face it, handling this area is a bit awkward. But with a little practice, your dog will get used to having his jowls manipulated and cleaned just like any other part of his body. Just be patient and gentle, as this may feel a bit odd to your dog at first and, if he has sores and infection developing in his jowls, it will be uncomfortable until it is all cleaned up, but will feel so much better afterward.

The Regular Cleaning Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Obtain cleaner
Once a week, to once a day, depending on the depth of your dog's jowl folds, clean lip folds. Obtain a canine facial rinse with chlorhexidine or benzoyl peroxide from a pharmacy, pet supply store or your veterinarian.
Step
2
Dampen cloth
Dampen a clean cloth or piece of gauze with water and cleaning solution, and wrap around your finger.
Step
3
Wipe in folds
Gently pull your dog's lips folds apart and wipe inside skin folds with the dampened cloth.
Step
4
Dry folds
Wipe jowl skin folds with a clean dry towel to remove moisture.
Step
5
Apply preventative ointment
Dab a mild diaper cream or petroleum jelly on a gauze wrapped finger or cotton swab and spread along skin folds in jowls to lubricate and inhibit fungal and bacterial growth.
Recommend grooming method?

The Preventing Problems Method

Effective
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Scissors
Clipper
Towel
Toothbrush
Step
1
Remove hair
Remove excess hair from around jowls and lips so there is less chance of moisture being trapped.
Step
2
Supplement
Sprinkle probiotic supplements on your dog's food to promote oral and immune health in your dog.
Step
3
Provide dental care
Brush your dog's teeth regularly and wipe down gums to minimize bacteria in the mouth area.
Step
4
Wipe after meals
Obtain antifungal pet wipes, available at pet supply stores. After meals, wrap the wipe around your finger and gently wipe out your dog's jowl folds by stretching your dog's lip out with the other hand to get in folds.
Step
5
Apply lip balm
Apply an antifungal dog lip balm to lips and jowls every few days or as necessary.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Monitor sores on your dog's jowls, as veterinary attention and antibiotics may be necessary for some bacterial infections.
  • Prescription antifungal medication may be necessary for some fungal infections.
  • Dogs with chronic infections in their jowl skin can sometimes require corrective surgery to address hygiene problems long term.
  • Prevention of fungal and bacterial build up in your dog's jowls with daily and weekly cleaning will help prevent infections from developing that will require more intensive treatment.

Conclusion

Your dog's droopy sad face is adorable, but only if it doesn't smell awful! Bacteria and fungal buildups in loose skin folds around your dog's mouth can cause unpleasant smelly infections that will make your pup much less enjoyable. Regular cleaning with antibacterial and antifungal detergents in the deep folds of your dog's jowls will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and yeasts that can proliferate from trapped moisture, food, and saliva. Remember, an ounce of preventions is worth a pound of cure!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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