Why Do Bulldogs Stink? What Can I Do With The Smell?

Bulldog owners know that this breed requires a lot of attention when it comes to grooming. If not, your Bulldog will start to emit a nasty smell. But why do Bulldogs stink? It’s primarily due to their wrinkly face and body. Their ears can also harbor dirt that will form a bad smell later on. Most of all, their anal sacs could trap dirt with a revolting smell. If not addressed regularly, all of these will turn your Bulldog into a canine’s version of a stinkbug.

To be fair, all dogs will smell bad if not groomed regularly. Due to Bulldogs’ specific features, they require special cleaning to prevent unpleasant odor from accumulating.

Why do Bulldogs stink?

If your Bulldog still smells bad after a bath, the following reasons might explain why:

1. Smelly facial folds

why do Bulldogs stink

The most common reason behind a stinky Bulldog is its facial folds. These folds can trap dirt, moisture, and bacteria that will brew a bad odor. If neglected, the facial folds will become infected, which will heighten the stinky smell.

Aside from the face, Bulldogs have wrinkles on their abdomen and other parts of the body. All of these require regular grooming to prevent bad smells from forming.

Tear stains are also a culprit behind your Bulldog’s bad smell. If not wiped, the stains will accumulate and become a dirt magnet. This won’t just cause an unpleasant odor, but it will also trigger eye infections in your dog.

2. Stinky tail pocket

why do Bulldogs stink

Another area you should check is your Bulldog’s tail pocket. Most Bulldogs have ingrown tails that grow too close on the skin. This creates a pocket-like structure, which becomes a dirt sac if not cleaned well.

Aside from the tail pocket, you also have to deal with the revolting smell of anal glands. All dogs have this, and it has to be expressed regularly. You have to press it until all the dirt oozes out. Most of the time, dog owners prefer paying professional groomers to do this for them.

If you wish to save a few bucks, you can express the anal glands of your Bulldog at home. Just make sure that you’re wearing surgical gloves and a mask. Also, be gentle when pressing the anal glands of your Bulldog since this is a very sensitive area.

3. Skin problems

why do Bulldogs stink

If you’re wondering why your Bulldog still smells bad after grooming, a skin infection might be causing the problem. Due to their short coat and sensitive skin, Bulldogs are prone to dermatitis, yeast infection, and similar problems.

These conditions will cause redness, swelling, and intense itching on your dog’s skin. In an effort to alleviate the discomfort, your Bulldog will keep scratching the area. This will cause open wounds, where infections can occur. An infected skin will soon develop a bad smell, much so if the skinfolds are affected.

Some signs of skin infection in Bulldogs include hair loss, scaling, lesions, and itching. A secondary infection can also happen if the dog is exposed to pathogens and irritants. Stress and a poor diet will also make things worse for your Bulldog’s skin and its smell.

If you suspect that your Bulldog has skin infections, you should bring it to the vet’s clinic right away. This way, your dog will be diagnosed properly and given suitable treatments. Take note that this is the only way to end your dog’s discomfort and the bad smell it comes with.

4. Ear infections

If your Bulldog’s skin is clear, ear infections might be the potential suspect for the bad odor. Ear infections can happen to any dog if its owners fail to groom them properly.

The rule of thumb is cleaning your dog’s ears once every two weeks. For those with ear infections, a daily treatment might be necessary until the problem clears up.

Take note that even indoor dogs can have ear infections. Bulldogs may not have very flappy ears, but they can still harbor dust, dirt, moisture, and microbes. When left undisturbed, it will soon emit a foul smell.

If your Bulldog is shaking its head, pawing its ears, and has a dark ear discharge, it’s likely suffering from an ear infection.

To treat the infection, you need to use an ear cleaner to drain the dirt off your Bulldog’s ears. I suggest consulting your dog’s vet to know the right ear cleaner to use and how often it should be administered.

Usually, most dog ear infections will clear up within 1 to 2 weeks. However, if it’s a case of otitis interna (inner ear infection), it will take longer for your Bulldog to recover. The worst cases would have to undergo a surgical procedure called Total Ear Canal Ablation or TECA.

5. Poor grooming practices

Does your dog smell more after a full bath? How you do it might be sabotaging your Bulldog’s scent.

Bulldogs only need bathing once a month, but it can be more frequent if the pooch has skin problems or if you live in a hot area. However, bathing itself might be causing the foul odor.

The first explanation here is pH imbalance. This occurs if you use harsh or unsuitable bathing products on your dog. Remember, you should never use human shampoo on your Bulldog. It has a harsh pH and potentially toxic ingredients that can trigger skin problems.

Aside from that, failing to dry your dog’s coat and skinfolds after each bath will cause a bad smell. You should avoid leaving moisture on your dog’s coat because it will attract dust and dirt. It will also allow bacteria to thrive. I suggest investing in a dog dryer to ensure that your Bulldog is bone-dry after each bath.

How do I stop my Bulldog from smelling?

No matter how stinky your Bulldog gets, there’s always a way to fix it. The following are some of the steps you can take to keep your Bully fresh and clean:

1. Use the right dog shampoo

It’s important to use a dedicated dog shampoo when grooming your Bulldog. This has a pH that matches your pet’s skin to prevent dryness, itchiness, and irritation.

For Bulldogs with sensitive skin, I suggest using a colloidal oatmeal formula. This is very effective in easing skin flare-ups while leaving a fresh and clean odor on your dog.

However, if your Bulldog is suffering from skin infections, you can use a medicated dog shampoo. Still, you should consult the vet first as these shampoo products contain active ingredients that may cause irritation on some dogs.

2. Wipe the skinfolds regularly

Whether you’re bathing your Bulldog or not, you should wipe its skin folds daily. This will help remove moisture and dirt that could cause a bad smell. You can use dog wipes or a clean cloth for this purpose.

Make sure that you pull the skinfolds taut, so you’ll access its inner parts. Also, check if there’s redness, swelling, or skin changes that may indicate an infection. The earlier you spot the problem, the easier it will be to treat.

3. Brush your dog’s coat regularly

Although Bulldogs have thin fur, it’s still necessary to brush them daily using a bristle or pin brush. This will remove superficial dirt that got stuck on your dog’s coat. Again, focus on the skinfolds to prevent matting.

Take note that slicker brushes and de-matting rakes are no-nos for Bulldogs. This will irritate the dog’s skin due to the stiff and harsh tips.

4. Clean the paws

One of the most overlooked body parts of Bulldogs is their paws. Unknown to many, it can also cause a bad smell if not groomed properly. Bulldogs can develop the so-called ‘Frito feet’, which is an indication of bacterial infection.

To prevent this, you should wash your Bulldog’s paws and apply a paw cream to keep it moisturized. If it’s inflamed or infected, the vet is the best person to consult.

5. Observe proper dental hygiene

Sometimes, the bad smell may not be coming from your Bulldog’s coat but its mouth. Brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a week will help prevent bad breath and plaque formation.

You can also use a water additive to clean your dog’s mouth without brushing. And if your budget permits, avail of dog teeth cleaning at the vet’s clinic. This is the ideal solution for dogs with a severe case of plaque.

6. Clean the ears

Using a dog ear cleaner, you should drain the dirt off your Bulldog’s ears twice a month. Use cotton balls or paper towels to wipe off the dirt and excess cleaner, but never poke it with Q-tips. Cotton buds or Q-tips only push dirt further into the dog’s ear. In the long run, it can trigger smelly ear infections.

I personally prefer ear cleaners with natural ingredients. However, if your Bulldog has a bad case of yeast infection, you may need a formula with an active ingredient like hydrocortisone.

7. Invest in high-quality dog food

When it comes to Bulldogs, you have to be meticulous with food products. Always invest in high-quality options with whole protein. You should also get your dog checked for allergies, so you’ll know which ingredient to avoid.

Bulldogs are known for their risk for food allergies, which will manifest as skin rashes and infections. While there are other factors at play here, you can start with the right choice of food.

8. Go to a professional groomer periodically           

If your Bulldog’s strong odor isn’t going away despite all your efforts, you should ask the help of a professional groomer.

Most Bulldog grooming can be done at home, including bathing, brushing, and nail trimming. However, I still suggest that you bring your dog to a groomer at least once a year. This way, the groomer can work on the spots that you missed. And if you don’t want to deal with the stinky anal glands, they can do it for you.

Personally, I take my Bulldogs to a professional groomer once every six months. This saves me from intense grooming, though I still bathe them at home once a month to manage their odor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my Bulldog’s fart so smelly?

A: The bacteria in your Bulldog’s tummy is the culprit behind its stinky fart. Also, your dog may be due for a potty trip. If your Bulldog’s farts are getting smellier and louder, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

Q: How do I get my apartment to stop smelling like my Bulldog?

A: To remove the dog smell in your apartment, you can mix vinegar and water to create a disinfecting spray. You can apply this on your floor and other surfaces. You can also use baking soda on your curtains, sheets, and mattresses to remove the dog smell.

Q: Does an air purifier helps in removing my Bulldog’s smell?

A: Air purifiers with activated carbon filters can help reduce the stinky dog smell in your home. However, it can only do so much. You need to clean the source of the smell, which is your Bulldog.

Q: Should I bathe my Bulldog when it smells bad?

A: Bathing is a guaranteed way to remove the bad smell from your Bulldog’s body. However, if it’s very cold, you should consider spot-cleaning instead to prevent your Bulldog from getting chilly. Dry dog shampoo and dog wipes are a big help here.

Q: Can I use baby wipes to clean my Bulldog?

A: You can use baby wipes on your Bulldog as long as it’s alcohol and scent-free. This is an excellent way to remove dirt and smell without giving the dog a full bath. However, if your Bulldog starts to itch, you should stop using the baby wipes.

Final words

Why do Bulldogs stink? It can be their skinfolds, anal glands, or dirty ears. Skin infections and poor grooming practices can also be the reason behind the awful smell. The key here is taking more time when cleaning your dog and paying attention to its skinfolds. Also, you should consider bringing your pet to a professional groomer if your efforts aren’t working.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!