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How to Wash a Bulldog

Your bulldog needs a good cleaning. You may look at your bulldog and wonder where to start. There are so many nooks and crannies that are important to clean on your bulldog. From their ears to their tail pocket, you have to be sure they all get clean and dry. All those folds are a breeding ground for bacteria. If bacteria starts to grow in those folds, it can lead to huge problems from infections to skin loss. All of which will be devastating and hard to deal with later. It’ll be much easier to be vigilant about your bulldogs care routine than to make up for it later with antibiotics and cream.
How to wash a bulldog: Wash a bulldog using a gentle shampoo medicated for bulldogs and luke warm water.
  • Step 1: Place a towel or anti-slip mat in the bottom of a bathtub and lift the bulldog into the bathtub. Gently place cotton balls in their ears to avoid splashing water from getting in their ears.
  • Step 2: Fill a large cup or pitcher with luke warm water and rinse the bulldog’s body, going up to his neck and avoiding the face
  • Step 3: Using a dog shampoo, massage the shampoo into the bulldogs fur starting at the front legs and working to the back legs, and then work your way to the front legs again (don’t forget their paws), massaging the shampoo into their fur, stopping right behind their ears. 
  • Step 4: Thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off your bulldogs body with luke warm water.
  • Step 5: Remove cotton balls and towel dry your bulldog. Be sure any wrinkles on their body are completely dry.
  • Step 6: Clean and dry head, face, face folds, and tail pocket. 

Picking a Shampoo

Picking a shampoo for your bulldog is a little more complicated than you think. Here are some things to consider when picking a shampoo for your bulldog. Don’t use human shampoo on your bulldog. Their skin is far too sensitive to tolerate it. Always use a shampoo that has been designed for animals.
  • Germicidal properties. Bulldogs carry a lot of germs in those folds that we want to minimize as much as possible. Germicidal shampoo will help with that.
  • Fragrance free. Fragrances can irritate a bulldog’s skin. I know we want our bulldogs to smell fresh and clean, especially since bulldogs tend to be on the smelly side, but fragrances should be avoided.
  • Find a shampoo that is pH neutral. Dog’s have a different pH than human’s do, so its important to use a shampoo designed for dogs.
If you are looking for a good bulldog shampoo, we recommend this medicated shampoo from PetMD. It kills bacteria and yeast, plus helps heal any skin conditions your pooch my have. Follow with aloe or coconut oil in any dry spots after the bath.

How to Wash a Bulldog – Body

If you really want to clean your dog, you can’t just put them straight into the bathtub. First, brush your dog to loosen up any dirt and dry skin. This is also a great time to check your dog for any infections or developing skin problems or fleas and ticks.
Tip: Lay down a towel or a non slip mat on the bottom of the bath tub to keep your bulldog from slipping in the bathtub.
You don’t have to fill up your bath tub. Use a large bowl or plastic water picture. Fill it up with luke-warm water and pour the water over your dog. Begin by rinsing your bulldog from the front legs and work your way back to get the bulldog wet. You won’t actually wash the face in the bathtub. The face will take some extra attention to wash, and dogs will start to shake the water off once their head gets wet. You definitively don’t want your bulldog shaking the whole time you’re trying to bathe them. That’s why we wait.
Add the shampoo to your hands and lather it up. Begin gently messaging the shampoo into your bulldog’s fur with your finger tips, again starting at around the front legs and working your way back. After you reach the back, work your way forward again, and this time rub the shampoo all around their neck and around the back of their head, right up to the back of their ears. Let the shampoo sit for a few minutes, if your bulldog is patient enough. Don’t forget to wash the bulldog’s paws too!
Rinse the bulldog off again, and be sure all the soap is rinsed off. And your done washing your bulldog! At least your done with the body.
Dry off your bulldog with a towel, again being sure to dry all the skin folds they many have in their legs, and dry the tail fold as well. You can also use a blow dryer set on a cool setting to dry their skin as well. Give your dog one last brush to make their coat extra shiny.

How to Clean a Bulldog’s Face

While you’re washing your bulldog, try not to get shampoo and water in their eyes and ears. After you dry and brush your bulldog, you will want to clean their face. You should clean their face more often than you you bathe a bulldog. The face folds are especially important to clean often. Dirt, food, and grime get in these folds really easily since they have to push the whole face into their food bowl, water, and pretty much anything they want to smell. Baby wipes are great for this task.
It can be intimidating to wash a bulldog’s face if you have never done it before. Just remember to be gentle. This process doesn’t hurt them, although they may not enjoy it. Start by wiping down their forehead and fur around the sides of their face. Gently clean around the eyes, and follow the tear fold down their cheeks. Fold the baby wipe over with each wipe, so you aren’t wiping dirt over dirt. Gently lift the fold over their nose. Again this part gets particularly dirty.
Pay special attention to the corners of the nose fold. Keep cleaning until the baby wipe comes out clean. Clean in the wrinkles under the chin as well. When everything is cleaned, come back with a soft cloth and dry out all the folds.
Tip: A cotton ball is a great tool to dry the nose fold. Simply 1 or 2 cotton balls out and place them in the nose fold. Leave them for about a minute and most of the moisture should be sucked up.
Watch for any raw skin and treat it with Vaseline or a mild ointment. Coconut oil is also great for this. Its edible and safe if your dog happens to lick it.

How to Keep a Bulldog’s Ears Clean

Before washing a bulldog, you can gently place cotton balls in your dogs ears, especially if you have a french bulldog, or a bulldog with ears that stick straight up. Don’t put the cotton balls too far down their ears. Just far enough that they stay in place, but not too far so that you can easily take them back out. This will prevent water from getting in their ears and clogging them up.
After the bath, while you are cleaning your bulldog’s face, it is important to give some special attention to their ears. Using the same wipes, gently clean the inside of their ears. Don’t go too deep, just clean what you can see. You can follow the cleaning with Pet MD’s ear cleaning solution. It’ll keep them clean and clear of infection.

How to Clean a Bulldog’s Tail Pocket

This process is pretty easy, although it may not be your favorite part of the process. Using a baby wipe or damp cloth, gently lift your bulldog’s tail. Wipe all around the tail, especially the underside of the tail. Then wipe the skin and fur underneath the tail. It is especially important to clean a bulldogs tail and behind area thoroughly. The skin in the tail pocket rubs a lot when the bulldog is excited and can easily become irritated. Keep in mind that this is not their actual anus, its just a pocket underneath their short pudgy tails. Its really not as gross as it sounds. After you have wiped all around and underneath the tail, follow with a dry cloth and dry the tail pocket thoroughly.


Cleaning a bulldog may be intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of cleaning on the folds, you won’t think twice about it. Just remember to be gentle, but confident. Your bulldog will most likely not enjoy being washed, but you’re not hurting them. You are helping them. Thorough washing and cleaning is essential to keep your bulldog healthy. Bulldogs are susceptible to skin issues, more than most breeds because of that squishy face and allergy problems. If you are committed to washing and cleaning your bulldog, you will save yourself from a lot of work and heartache for you and your bulldog later on.

Related Questions

How Often Should You Wash Your Bulldog? This will depend on your bulldog. Every bulldog has different quirks. Maybe your bulldog is especially stinky, or enjoys getting in the dirt. Or perhaps your bulldog has a skin issue and needs special shampoo to help them heal. This is all subjective. Use your best judgement. Their folds however, should be cleaned at least twice a week.
Can Bulldogs Clean Themselves? Bulldogs can only clean parts of their body on their own. Because of their anatomy, they are unable to clean their behind. You will have to clean your bulldog’s behind daily. Some bulldog owners even wipe their bulldog every time their bulldog goes to the bathroom. Perhaps selective breeding can change that for future generations.
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