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Skin problems in the dog can be divided into two major categories: parasitic and non-parasitic affections. More about parasitic skin affections in the dog.

Non-parasitic skin diseases are more difficult to diagnoze. Their origin may be fungal, bacterial, hormone-related or the result of an allergy. The underlying cause is not always easily identifiable. Skin and coat disorders can also be the result of other diseases. 

Some skin problems are congenital. Read more about congenital skin diseases. Note that while demodectic mange is caused by a parasite it is not uncommon to find it described under the congenital diseases because some dogs appear to be genetically predisposed to it while others do not contract it even though exposed to infected animals.

Common skin problems seen in bulldogs include: eczema, seborrhoea, acne, etc. In a first stage these problems may be treated symptomatically or by a change in diet. However, if the problem persists a longer treatment may be necessary (under supervision of your veterinary), as skin and coat disorders can have a more complex clinical picture than the visible symptoms suggest. They can also be just the external signs of a more severe underlying disease.

Canine parasitic skin diseases
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Heat stroke in Bulldogs
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Eczema or Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD)

Among the non-parasitic affections, eczema is the most common skin complaint with Bulldogs. Canine eczema  is non-contagious condition, characterized by itchy inflamed dry skin.

Eczema flare-ups or outbreaks can give scaly skin surface with lumps or blisters or open, wet sores (wet or moist eczema). It can be caused by stress, allergies, insect bites or hormonal problems and usually worsens in the hot months.

Clean the area thoroughly with a mild shampoo or baby wipes. Always include the use of an emollient in your dog's skin care rountine, providing a seal or barrier, leaving the skin less dry, itchy and more comfortable. Contrary to medication, emollients are safe to use as often as is necessary. They can be applied to dry and wet eczema.

Much of caring for the skin and preventing flare-ups has to do with preventing the skin dryness normally associated with eczema, identifying exacerbating factors, and avoiding circumstances that trigger the skin's immune system and the itch-scratch cycle.

Therefore, adapt your bulldog's diet before starting any long-term (expensive) treatment. With an appropriate diet the eczema may diminish or disappear all together. Recommended diet in case of eczema is lamb meat mixed with boiled rice.
Keep brushes and combs, blankets and bedding clean.

When eczema is in control only emollients need to be used. However, in flare-ups topical anti-inflammatory medication may be needed. Apply a medication such as Panalog ointment or a 1% cortisone cream.

If the eczema lesions are infected due to continuous scratching, the inflammation can be treated well with appropriate antibiotics. Some practitioners find the use of homoeopathy or Aloe Vera useful. Glucocorticoids, antihistamines, omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid supplements have also proven usefull in some cases.


Another common skin problem in bulldogs is seborrhoea, causing the skin and coat to become either oily and greasy or on the contrary excessively dry with dandruff. More about Seborrhoea in dogs.

"Hot Spots" (Acute Moist Dermatitis or Pyotraumatic Dermatitis)

Hot spots are circular, red, hairless and intensily itchy lesions. Their size can increase dramatically in a very brief period of time.  The most common causes for hot spots are allergic reactions due to: flea bites, food, parasites (mange), anal gland problems, clipping and grooming (contact allergy or localized inflammation of the skin).

The dog attempts to alleviate the symptom by licking, chewing, or scratching which leads to trauma and further inflammation to the skin. Read more about the causes and treatment of hots spots.

Allergic Reactions

Just like humans, dogs may also be allergic to particular types of food components. However, while in humans food allergies are usually spectacular (nausea, rashes, etc.), recognizing a food allergy in dogs is difficult. They react in the same way as they do to an airborne or flea allergy: they itch, scratch and bite, thus complicating the diagnosis. Always consult your vet for adequate treatment. See also: Ear scratching and Head shaking.


Bulldogs may develop acne, similarly to humans. Acne is caused by an inflammation of the skin glands caused by dirt entering the pores. The underlying cause is not always known, but often it can be the result of an allergic reaction (such as to plastic feeding bowls, for example). It is usually seen in young, short-coated dogs. The affected dog gets little pink pimples and blackheads (comedones) on their chin, lips, and muzzle. These usually do not bother the dog unless a secondary bacterial skin infection develops. This can cause pain and itching and your dog may paw at his/her face or rub it along hard surfaces. In severe cases or when there are repeated infections, regular cleaning with acne cleaning products or mild anti-seborrheic shampoos can help. Always consult your veterinarian first before attempting any kind of treatment. In mild cases, where there is no pain or itching, no treatment is needed. Always use baby wipes to clean your bulldog's face after meals to limit bacterial proliferation on existing acne.


Different skin problems may have apparently similar visual symptoms, so it is important to seek advice with your veterinarian, to find the most appropriate treatment.

Skin Problems in Bulldogs
(non-parasitic skin affections
and other skin problems)
bulldog information
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