French Bulldog Faces: Why They Smell and What to Do About It

french bulldog face smells

French bulldogs are so lovable, but their faces have one major flaw. The folds on Frenchies’ heads and noses can lead to an unpleasant smell that many french bulldog owners struggle with.

When a French Bulldog’s facial folds become infected, they develop an unpleasant odor. This is due to the accumulation of food, dirt, and moisture, which causes germs to grow and produce that moldy, yeasty smell.

In this article, we will discuss possible reasons french bulldogs’ faces smell and how to help them. We’ll also talk about some home remedies and diet changes you can make to reduce the amount your Frenchie’s face stinks. If you’re looking for ways to keep your french bulldog smelling fresh and kissable, then this is the article for you!

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Head Skin Folds on French Bulldogs

Frenchies have such wrinkled faces due to their short muzzle and small heads. They have many folds on their head which include: the nasal folds, facial folds, and folds under both eyes.

These folds can harbor bacteria and moisture, which can lead to skin issues such as irritation and infection. The moist environment is the perfect place for bacteria and yeast to grow, leading to that infamous french bulldog smell.

Skin Fold Dermatitis

Skin fold dermatitisOpens in a new tab. is inflammation of the skin folds. Skin fold dermatitis is a French Bulldog health problem that affects many Frenchies, even if they consistently receive baths and have clean faces. It occurs when moisture or foreign objects get trapped in the skin folds which then become infected without proper treatment.

This common french bulldog condition can be easily diagnosed because there are often open sores on the affected area(s). The infection will cause your dog to scratch excessively until it bleeds.

Infection/Bacteria Buildup in Facial Skin Folds

Moisture and foreign objects trapped in frenchies’ facial wrinkles can lead to an infection. Yeast, bacteria, dirt, dead cells and food particles get caught up in the folds of your dog’s face, and if not cleaned on a regular basis, can lead to skin irritation, odor, and even infection.

If your french bulldog’s facial folds are not kept clean, you may see the following symptoms:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Redness
  • Sores or lesions
  • A bad smell coming from your french bulldog’s face, which can range from mild to extremely unpleasant

It is important that your Frenchie’s facial folds are cleaned on a regular basis.

Here are a few ways you can help reduce your french bulldog’s face smelliness.

Preventing Face and Wrinkle Smells in your Frenchie

One of the best ways to fight french bulldog face smell is prevention. 

To prevent Frenchies’ faces from becoming infected, you must keep your dog’s muzzle and head clean and dry at all times. This will reduce the amount of moisture in those folds which helps avoid infection and bad smells! You can also use a good quality shampoo on Frenchies with sensitive skin to help keep them clean.

When Frenchies are bathed, make sure you don’t get water in their facial folds or head skin creases because it can lead to infections and odors!

How often should you wash your French Bulldog’s face?

Cleaning your dog’s wrinkles at least once a day is generally agreed upon by veterinarians. How many times actually depends on your dog, for example, if they are a messy eater or you’ve been on a muddy walk, then you’ll need to give them a wipe over.

  • Clean at least once a day
  • After their meals
  • After walks
  • Before bedtime

Cleaning Face Folds

Cleaning french bulldog faces is a tricky job but very necessary for keeping your dog healthy and smelling good.

There are a few ways you can clean your french bulldog’s face folds: 

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe the areas around the folds, taking care not to get water in the eyes or nose.
  • Gently use a dog friendly wipe or Q-tip to clean inside of the nasal and facial folds.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean the folds and skin on the head.
  • Use an eyedropper or syringe to gently flush out any dirt, debris, and bacteria from french bulldog wrinkles. Use saline solution instead of tap water.

If your French Bulldog face smells strongly, there is a chance that your dog has skin folds or wrinkles infected with yeast and bacteria.  To treat this potential infection use an over-the-counter antifungal medication specifically for dogs to help fight the odor-causing germs. If you notice any redness, swelling, or pain in your dog’s wrinkles, consult your vet for a better treatment plan.

Types of Antifungal Medications for French Bulldogs

There are many different types of antifungals available on the market to help fight infections in Frenchies’ faces and skin folds. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before starting any type of medication and follow their instructions carefully.

Changing Diet

I found that changing Po’s diet was the cure for her stinky face. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce french bulldog face smells.

This works well for Frenchie’s who are often sensitive to certain foods which can aggravate the skin and cause your dog to scratch its face raw, often leading to infection which gives off the bad smells.

Some things to avoid feeding your french bulldog include processed foods, dairy products, fatty foods, and grains.

Instead, try feeding them a diet of lean protein, healthy fats, and filtered water. This will help keep their skin healthy and reduce the number of bacteria that can grow in those facial folds.

Diet was the main culprit for my stinky Frenchie’s face

When I first got Po she had terrible tear stains on her face and a sore fold above her nose. But as soon as I transitioned her onto a premium dog food and only gave her filtered water, they completely went away and we haven’t had any problems since ( she’s 8 now). The high-quality ingredients in her food (with no fillers) mean that she is only getting the nutrients she needs.

Raw diet also works well, which is what my other dogs are on, and they don’t have smelly faces either!

TIP: Only give your french bulldog filtered water to drink to keep tearstains away. You can buy a filter like a Britta and keep a jug of water in the fridge for your Frenchie.

Products for keeping French Bulldog wrinkles clean and fresh

The first step to preventing stinky or infected wrinkles is to wash and dry them often. Not washing French bulldog wrinkles puts dogs at risk of real health problems including infections. If you are looking for some OTC products that might help – here’s three that the Frenchie community recommend:

Squishface Wrinkle Paste

Squishface Wrinkle Paste is a preventative shield for infections and moisture accumulation, and it may be used to in the crevices in the folds or around the eyes to avoid tears stains, or moisture build-up.

Boo Boo Butter

You may apply Boo Boo Butter, an oil-based salve that includes shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil. This will help soothe skin irritation in the folds. Apply thinly.

Ketowell Chlorhexidine Wipes with Ketoconazole for Dogs

If your dog has skinfold pyodermaOpens in a new tab., antifungal or antibacterial cleansers and wipes like Ketowell Chlorhexidine Wipes with Ketoconazole for Dogs can be used to treat the condition. However, if the situation is severe, it is best to visit the vet who may prescribe antibiotics or steroids.

Home remedies for cleaning wrinkles

We searched the forums and asked what people have tried at home for cleaning facial and skin folds on their Frenchies and here are some tried and tested ideas for home remedies. There are many natural ingredients that will kill the bad smelling germs on your frenchies’ skin folds without drying it out or irritating their skin. Make sure these remedies don’t come in contact with eyes because they may cause irritation or infection. Use with caution on your own dog as you know them best and if in doubt, check with your vet before applying.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great french bulldog face smell remedy! The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help kill odor-causing bacteria on Frenchie’s skin folds, helping keep them clean and smelling fresh. Be sure to dilute it 50/50 with filtered water before applying it to your french bulldog’s skin and avoid getting it in their eyes.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another French Bulldog face smell remedy. Not only does its anti-inflammatory effect help keep your Frenchie’s skin from drying out, but the antibacterial quality of coconut oil can also fight off bacteria and viruses that cause Frenchie’s wrinkles to smell bad.  Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which has been found to help fight bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses.

Does your Frenchie still have a smelly face?

Always seek a veterinarian’s advice if your French Bulldog has an unpleasant odor and you can’t identify the source.

Keep track of how often you have to clean your dog’s face. Include every bath, wash and all products or home remedies used so that a veterinarian can advise on a plan to help. 

If something stinks today, it will most certainly smell worse tomorrow; so make an effort to address the problem right away and get help.

French Bulldog Facial Fold Smells and Cleaning FAQs

Can I use baby wipes to clean my French Bulldog’s face?

Never use baby wipes to clean french bulldog faces. Baby wipes are too harsh and chemical laden for Frenchies skin so you will dry it out, irritate it and make the problem worse.

Should I wash my French Bull dog’s face with shampoo?

No, never wash your french bulldog’s face with shampoos or soap as their eyes can be easily damaged by the chemicals in these products.

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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