French Bulldogs sport a short and smooth coat that should be relatively fine to the touch. They do not require much grooming; however, we have provided some tips and suggestions that will help your Frenchie look and feel his/her best!
You do not want to over wash your Frenchie and dry out natural skin oils. It is recommended that short haired dogs, like your Frenchie, only bathe 2-5 times a year (but that doesn’t seem to realistic does it?). We bathe our Frenchies on an as needed basis (which is generally once a month), but we regularly spot clean them with wet washcloths or wet wipes (unscented and for sensitive skin). Their behinds occasional need to be wiped clean as well, as does any other breed.
The bottom line is that they should be washed as needed, and if your acceptance level of what is appropriate cleanliness is different than ours, it should not be a problem. There is quite a range of latitude in bathing frequency. However, since Frenchies (at least ours) don’t seem to have the disgusting habit of rolling around in poo or every dead or nasty thing they find, they don’t tend to get too dirty (especially since they spend a lot of time indoors), and frequent bathing is not necessary or desirable. (Unfortunately, they sometimes do have the even more disgusting habit of making a snack of a fresh “dog log” and it will take a little work to break them of this.)
There are many good dog shampoos on the market and it is really just a matter of personal preference. They can be purchased at any pet store, Walmart, etc. Years ago, when we owned a Yorkie, our vet recommended using baby shampoo because Yorkies tend to frequently get goop around the eyes; and, the baby shampoo allowed us to clean the area around their eyes without irritating them. We still use baby shampoo with our Frenchies since they have lots of folds on their faces that require regular cleaning. If you decide to go with a dog shampoo, choose a mild formulated shampoo for sensitive skin; your vet may have some good recommendations.
French Bulldogs are short-haired and have a single coat; so, fortunately, they do not shed as much as most breeds. Brushing their coat regularly with a rubber brush will remove any dead or loose hair – which in turn, will reduce the amount of shedding.
The wrinkles on your Bully’s face are really the only areas that require maintenance over and above other short-haired breeds. The are prone to becoming damp and this is where infection can result. They also can collect dirt and food causing infections also.
Utah has a very dry climate, so for us it is sufficient to regularly clean their folds with baby shampoo and then thoroughly dry them with a dry cloth. The frequency of maintenance varies from Frenchie to Frenchie, as well as climatic conditions. Frenchies with large, ropey wrinkling in a hot, humid environment would require the most attention; whereas, a lightly wrinkled Frenchie in a cool, dry environment would require the least. The most common approach to keeping the wrinkles dry after cleaning (if needed) is to use some form of talcum powder, such as baby powder, dispensed using a small brush such as a child’s toothbrush. It is recommended that you clean the wrinkles out at least once a week initially and then vary your schedule based on the requirements of each Frenchie.
Tear stains appear more prevalent on the lighter color Frenchies. There are many products on the market which claim to remove and or prevent tear stain removal, but the most commonly referred to method is the use of Desitin (yes, the same ointment used for the treatment of baby rash). The ointment is spread along the length of the stain and after two or three weeks of application the stains should have disappeared. Another home remedy is to apply a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide to the affected area using a cloth or cotton ball. Care must be taken in both cases to assure that neither gets into the dogs eyes.
The nose can be susceptible to drying out. The best way to remedy this is to regularly apply a smear of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the nose. This keeps the nose dark and moist. Our vet also recommended vitamin E (just squeeze a little of the capsule), which we have found to work very well.
Generally, your puppy’s nails will only need to be trimmed every month or so, and it is really not much more difficult than trimming your own nails. If your dog is on cement much of the time they probably won’t need to be clipped at all, other than the dew claws. Some people do not feel comfortable clipping their dogs nails and will take them to a groomer or vet. However, if you want to save time and money, it is a fairly simple task that takes only a few minutes. There are two types of of clippers: a guillotine or a scissor type. The guillotine is the easiest to use. The instructions that come with the clippers will guide you on how to use the instrument. Light claws are easier to cut than dark claws as the blood vessels and nerves that supply the toenail, called the quick, is easier to see. Cut the toenail to within approximately 2 mm of the quick. If you cut into the quick, the toenail will bleed and the dog will experience pain – nothing serious, but they might not sit too still the next time you undertake this task. When cutting dark toenails, it is better to cut just a little off at a time. Some Frenchie owners, who have dogs with dark toenails, cut them once every week or two so that they only have to cut off a little at a time, avoiding any fear of cutting into the quick. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, no harm done. Bleeding generally stops within a few minutes (it helps to apply pressure with a paper towel). Don’t let this stop you from ever trying it again, just remember next time to cut off a smaller amount. You will save a lot of money learning to do it yourself and it really isn’t that difficult (although it usually is a 2 man job, one to hold and the other to cut).