Bully breeds, including both English and French Bulldogs, are among the most popular breeds in America. And while their roly-poly shape and abundant wrinkles make them one of the cutest dog breeds, most bulldog owners will tell you that they're not the healthiest breed.
These pups are prone to a variety of health problems, including skin conditions that can lead to English Bulldog skin bumps. These bumps often form in bulldogs' skin folds, and they can range in severity from benign to BIG problems.
We'll cover the causes of English bulldog skin bumps and the treatment options for each type. Plus, we'll provide tips that bulldog owners can use to prevent skin problems and keep their pet feeling and looking their best.
What Causes English Bulldog Skin Bumps?
The main culprit behind English bulldog skin bumps is actually the unique skin of this dog breed. Most dog lovers can instantly picture the English bulldog's skin with its many wrinkles and folds. Those wrinkles look cute, but they cause problems.
Water and skin irritants can get stuck under the English bulldog's skin folds and lead to irritation, inflammation, and bacterial or yeast infections. Beyond their predisposition to skin infections, bully breeds are also prone to a variety of skin diseases and allergies. If you're ever unsure about what's causing your pet's skin problems, you should work with a qualified doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) to diagnose the issue.
Here are the main skin conditions that can cause your dog's skin bumps, along with treatment techniques for each condition:
Dog skin allergies are a common issue among many breeds. When English bulldog skin bumps are caused by an allergic reaction, their symptoms can include itchy skin, frequent ear infections, and hair loss.
Your dog can experience environmental allergies or food allergies. Follow our guide to dog allergy testing to determine whether your dog is reacting to allergens in their environment or in their dog food.
Treat it: For allergies, your veterinarian can prescribe an antihistamine, or you can try natural solutions like an allergy supplement.
Flea Bite Dermatitis
Dermatitis is a broad term for itchy, crusty, or flaky skin in dogs. When your dog has environmental allergies, you may hear your vet refer to it as allergic dermatitis. But, one of the most common causes of dermatitis in dogs is fleas. When fleas are the cause, it's referred to as flea bite or flea allergy dermatitis.
Treat it: The best treatment for fleas is a vet-prescribed, oral flea medication. These are typically much more effective than over-the-counter topical treatments. You can also try a flea shampoo and flea comb to remove these parasites from your dog, and a flea bomb to remove them from your home.
This condition causes small scales or scabs that are easy to confuse with hives. The bumps often appear on your dog's muzzle, chin, elbows, and hocks (or ankle joint). In most cases, pyoderma is caused by a bacterial infection on your dog's skin, but allergies, parasites, and in rare cases, cancer can also cause this condition.
Treat it: Pyoderma requires veterinary diagnosis. Your vet may need to take skin cultures and run other tests to determine the cause. In the case of a bacterial infection, your pet may need an antibiotic or a medicated shampoo.
Yeast infections on your dog's skin can lead to the same symptoms as dermatitis, including itchy, flaky skin and hair loss. They're often accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
Treat it: Your vet will want to take a skin culture to confirm that yeast is responsible for your pet's dermatitis. If it is a yeast infection, your vet can prescribe an oral medication, a medicated shampoo, or a topical cream that you can apply to the affected area.
The clinical name for hot spots is acute moist dermatitis. It happens when your dog's skin gets punctured and a bacterial infection starts to take over. Hot spots can quickly grow from small, red bumps to giant lesions. They're extremely itchy, and your dog may obsessively lick or scratch them, which will only make the problem worse.
Treat it: There are both prescription and over-the-counter topical treatments for hot spots, but these typically only work in mild cases. Your vet can provide more effective alternatives in their office. They'll likely trim the hair around your dog's hot spot and give your dog a corticosteroid injection. They may also recommend a prescription oral medication.
In case you thought pimples were a people-only problem, think again. Dogs can get acne, too, though it's not the same condition as human acne. If your English bulldog has this condition, you'll notice small red bumps around its nose and mouth — the bumps are often caused by your dog rubbing their chin on different surfaces, irritating the hair follicles around the muzzle.
Treat it: Your vet can prescribe a topical medication to treat and prevent acne.
Of all the conditions on this list, tumors are the least common, but both benign and cancerous tumors can cause English bulldog skin bumps. Tumors typically show up as a small lump that you can feel under your dog's skin. There are a variety of different types of tumors, and some can cause rashes, hair loss, and other symptoms. If you suspect your dog has a tumor, take them to the vet immediately.
Treat it: Your vet can diagnose the type of tumor and recommend treatment options. If the tumor is benign, your vet may or may not want to remove it — it depends on the tumor's size and location, among other variables. If your dog has a cancerous tumor, it will need to be surgically removed. Your dog may need chemotherapy if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.
How Can You Prevent English Bulldog Skin Bumps?
Although bully breeds are naturally prone to more skin issues than most other dog breeds, there's a lot that English bulldog owners can do to help their best friends. Try these techniques to keep your bully's skin bump free:
- Keep your pet clean and dry: When water gets trapped between a bully's skin folds, it creates the ideal environment for bacterial infections, yeast infections, and hot spots. Prevent this by washing and thoroughly drying your bulldog once a week.
- Brush them weekly: Because bulldogs have short, low-maintenance coats, many English bulldog owners skip brushing. This is a mistake. Brushing your dog will help distribute their skin's natural oils and keep it looking healthy.
- Use a fish oil supplement: Scientific studies that have looked at the effects of omega-3 fish oil on dogs with skin conditions found that fish oil supplements were an effective anti-inflammatory that significantly improved dogs' skin and coat conditions.
- Try an allergy chew: Look for an air-dried allergy supplement made with spirulina. In one study, this ingredient effectively reduced the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in people. And in another study, it improved immune system function in dogs.
- Ask about medicated shampoos and creams: If your dog gets frequent skin infections, your DVM may be able to prescribe an antibacterial shampoo or cream to help reduce the incidence of bacterial and yeast infections.
- Invest in pet insurance: Because English bulldogs are prone to allergies and skin diseases, as well as a variety of other health problems, vet bills can rack up quickly. Pet insurance can keep owners from having to decide between their pet's skin health and their financial health.
If you've tried these preventative measures and your best friend is still struggling with skin issues, talk to your vet. They can help you find a solution for your English bulldog's skin bumps.
Show You Care With Extra Skin Care
Your bully breed may be extra cuddly, but they also come with a few extra health problems. English bulldogs are prone to a variety of skin conditions, and many of them can cause skin bumps. So, this breed will need mindful skin care to keep it looking and feeling its best.
As a bulldog owner you can help keep your dog's coat healthy and prevent possible skin issues with an omega-3 fish oil supplement and an all-natural, air-dried allergy chew. If your dog ever does develop skin inflammation or skin bumps, work with your veterinarian to diagnose the issue and find the right treatment.
For more information on your bulldog's health and wellness, check out the Native Pet blog.