Our take on Grooming your French Bulldog
Grooming your French Bulldog is an excellent opportunity increase the trust relationship you have with you French Bulldog. Many times those owners that cannot or will not do their own grooming also have other challenges with training. When you are seen as a good leader by your French Bulldog and responsible for all aspects of their physical, environmental and mental health, your French Bulldog is the happiest and most well behaved.
There are three types of brush that I would recommend for Bulldogs and
- The Zoom Groom
- The Slicker Brush
- The rubber hand mitt
Use the Zoom Groom and the Slicker brush together to provide the best grooming solution. The Zoom Groom is excellent at stripping dead hair or contaminants from the coat while the slicker brush is great at removing the dead undercoat. The Zoom Groom is made of pliable rubber with several large but soft rubber spikes protruding from the base whereas the Slicker is similar to a pin cushion, using a myriad of flexible metal spikes, similar to pins. It is important to not overuse the slicker brush as it can scratch the skin causing bleeding. When used together they keep the coat fully maintained and in ideal condition.
The frequency of brushing required is dependant upon the dog's environment, the season and age of the dog. Puppies for example, require little brushing until they start to lose their first coat. Generally speaking, once a week for an adult dog is ample, and fortnightly is probably an acceptable cycle.
It is good practise to get your dog familiar with the brushing gradually so that they come to accept the sensation and do not suffer from stress because of it. Generally, it is easier to start at the head and work your way towards the rear of the dog. This way, you are not covering the same area twice. Start gently with the Slicker using long flowing strokes to losen and remove any dead undercoat and dirt, then repeat with a firm motion using the Zoom Groom or mitt, to strip out the dead coarse coat.
When you have finished, be sure to reward your dog with petting and praise.
Bathing your bulldog is a relatively easy process, but there are some points
- what are you going to bathe them in
- what are going to use to rinse their coat - very important
- what shampoo or shampoo's are you going to use - different shampoos for different uses
- drying the dog
- hazards to avoid
There are different reasons for bathing your dog, you may show, keep the dog inside or just to clean them up after getting into some mess, as they are prone to doing. Generally dogs do not need to bathe, and I know of dogs that only have six monthly baths that have gleaming coats. The coat is protected by the secretion of oils, but the buildup of these can cause the dog to smell a bit.
Select a location to bath your dog that is not too strenuous, I tend to use the household bath for bathing the dogs. Household baths are convenient but present hazards both to the dog and ourselves. The enamel coating on baths tends to be very slippery and I know of dogs that have come to serious harm from slipping over in the bath. The best way around this is to acquire an adhesive bath mat which sticks to the bottom of the bath giving the dog something to grip on to. The other consideration for ourselves is the strain on one's back when lifting the dogs in and out of a low bath. Some people use baby baths and in the case of Frenchies you could even use the kitchen sink.
In order to rinse the dog we use a plastic shower adapter with rubber cups that fit onto the bath taps. The resulting spray is more pleasant for the dog and offers good control of water temperature and direction of the rinsing water.
There are many brands of shampoo on the market. Essentially they are broken down into whitening, conditioning and medicated. I would only use medicated shampoo on advise of your vet, as there may be problems with reactions to medicated shampoo.
While in the bath, now is a good time to give those wrinkles and tail a really good clean out.
Drying the dog is best done with towels. If you use a hair dryer be VERY careful. Do not use on the head area, and do not get too close to the dog. I know of a dog that had a great deal of it's coat ruined by misuse of a hair dryer, and do not reccomend them.Be sure to dry the wrinkles as dampness can lead to infection.
Clipping you dogs nail can be a stressful time for you and your bullie.
There are basically 4 options available to you;
- get your vet to cut them
- using guillotine type clippers
- using scissor type clipper
- using type grinder
Getting your vet to cut them is the easy way out. This is not recommended, as we consider clipping nails to be a responsibility that every dog owner should master.
The guillotine style of clipper is my prefered choice. One bonus is that they have replaceable blades.
The scissor action type clipper: They have adjustable cutting guides so you can set them to cut off a specific length of nail.
Dremel type grinders: The things to be wary of here are heat build up in the nail, and damage that may be caused if you slip.
Generally, if you walk your French Bulldog on concrete paths regularly you will not need to trim the the nails so often. But please do not let the nails grow too long or you will end up with some serious problems.
It is a good idea to have an assistant when nail trimming, get your assistant to hold and pet the dog while you trim. Some French Bulldogs can be sensitive about their nails, so for your safety and theirs it is best if they are held.
The wrinkles on your bulldog are really the only items that require any further maintenance than 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.
Here we use a 50/50 solution of witch hazel and distilled water to clean and disinfect the wrinkles and tail area, then dry completely (cosmetic pads work great). Then, follow up with a generous application of Coconut oil in the folds and wrinkles in the face and tail.
The most common approach to keep the wrinkles dry is to use some form of talcum powder, such as baby powder dispensed using a small brush such as a childs toothbrush. We tend to wash out the wrinkles with baby shampoo then dry thoroughly with a dry cloth, then apply baby powder or similar. The frequency of maintenance required varies from dog to dog as well as climatic conditions. Dogs with large ropey wrinkling in a hot, humid environment would require the most attention, Whereas a lightly wrinkled dog in a cool, dry environment would require the least.
It is recommended that you clean the wrinkles out at least once a week initially and vary your schedule to work in with the requirements of each dog.
Tear stain removal
There are many products on the market which claim to remove and or prevent tear stain removal. The most commonly referred to alternative is the use of Desitin, an 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 derived technique is to use apply a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide to the affected area using a cloth or cosmetic pad. Care must be taken in both cases 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 Coconut oil to the nose. This keeps the nose dark and moist.
Why Coconut oil?
Coconut oil’s standout component, Lauric Acid, is a fatty acid that converts to Monolaurin. Monolaurin possesses some serious antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. This means coconut oil has the power to seek and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
Dermatitis, yeast infections, hot spots, dry skin/dandruff, parasites, immune system deficiencies, and warts and fungal infections can all be reduced, remedied or eliminated with the simple, twice a day application of coconut oil. The oil also works as a healing agent for minor cuts and wounds and it helps to moisten dry noses and paw pads when applied directly.