How to Clean and Care for Your Dog’s Skin Folds

By Valdette Muller| December 3, 2018 | Blog

Dog breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Shar Peis, Pekingese and other brachycephalic breeds (those with pushed-in muzzles) are all adorably wrinkly.

However they do require regular cleaning to keep them free from debris, odour and even infections which can build up in the creases/folds of their skin.

If you are considering getting a new dog with skin folds, it is important to know that while skin folds do add to your dog’s character, it also creates the ideal environment for yeast and bacteria to grow. Dogs who sport skin folds have a tendency for chronic skin infections unless you pitch in a helping hand and clean their wrinkles at least twice a week.

What You Will Need:

Before we embark on the journey of cleaning those fuzzy folds, let’s explore what you will need to get the job done.

  • Baby or dog wipes (or a solution of half water and half gentle dog shampoo can also be used)
  • Soft washcloth
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Dog treats to help encourage your dog through the cleaning process

Keep in mind: If your dog’s skin is clear of infection and you are already on a maintenance plan to keeping it that way, warm water will do the trick. Just moisten a cotton ball or a soft wash cloth with it and open your dog’s skin folds with one hand while you use the other to gently wipe the exposed skin clean.

If you are not confident with just using warm water as a cleaning process: Add one drop of pet shampoo to a cup of warm water and mix it up into a solution. Apply the homemade cleanser to your dog’s skin folds with a soft washcloth or a cotton ball. Thoroughly rinse any area to which you’ve applied the soapy mixture to avoid further irritating your pooch’s skin.

Dermatitis in dogs with skin folds

If your dog’s skin appears irritated, red or has a ad odour; chances are their wrinkles are infected and dermatitis has set in. This can become extremely uncomfortable and even painful for your dog to endure.

Dermatitis sets in when moisture and heat builds up in the folds of skin. This in turn becomes a “green house” for bacteria. If skin folds are not cleaned or cared for properly, an infection can set in. It can take a long time to get your dog’s skin back to optimal health.

If your dog has a chronic infection: Medicated wipes, cleaners and gels for cleaning dog skin folds are available at pet supply stores and your vet’s office. These types of cleaners are better than simple soap and water if your canine has a skin infection or is prone to chronic flare-ups. Other antibiotic and antibiotic-steroid combination creams and gels are also available for use after cleaning the infected areas which your vet may recommend.

How to clean skin folds

Step 1: Pick a Fold!

Pick a face fold and place your thumb and forefinger on each side of it. Now gently open it and wipe with the washcloth (or facial wipe) from one side to the other. Repeat this method for each skin fold.

Hint: Always be sure to wipe the area gently to prevent abrasions from occurring. Also be sure to reward your dog with kind words, encouragement or even their favourite treats to make the experience enjoyable.

Step 2: Dry a Fold

Now place a dry washcloth over your forefinger and wipe each facial wrinkle in the same manner as you did in step three (from one side to the other). Continue to reposition the washcloth so you are always working with a dry portion of the soft cloth..

Tip: Leaving moisture inside facial folds can lead to skin infections and skin fold pyoderma (the presence of pus).

Step 3: After drying, Create a barrier

If using petroleum jelly, dip the cotton ball into the petroleum jelly container and scoop a tiny amount onto it. Once again open each fold and apply a thin layer to the skin, using a clean cotton ball for each new wrinkle application. Applying this product to the skin folds will help repel the moisture and conditions the skin.

Step 4: Treats!

Finally, give your patient pet another special treat with plenty of praise or play a fun game with them so that they associate the cleaning with a positive experience.




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