Why French Bulldogs smell and what you can do about it


All dogs smell bad from time to time and the French Bulldog is no exception. Many Frenchie odors are easy to prevent or keep to a minimum with regular intervention from their owners.

Certain French Bulldog features are responsible for creating many of the bad smells associated with them.

Let’s look at the common causes of French Bulldog smells, how to make them disappear, and when an odor might be a reason to worry.

Why does my French Bulldog smell bad?

Many bad smells from a French Bulldog arise from yeast infections that grow in food trapped in their facial folds. Unpleasant odors can also develop in their paws, ears, and tail pocket. Most French Bulldog smells are easily prevented through regular cleansing routines.

Facial fold odors in French Bulldogs

The French Bulldog’s facial folds are one of its loveable features but they are also a cause of bad smells. They require regular cleaning or will emit pungent odors.

Six reasons why French Bulldogs smell bad

You can keep your French Bulldog from smelling by understanding what causes bad odors in the first place.

These are four common reasons why your Frenchie might smell bad:

1. Dirty facial folds

A French Bulldog’s facial folds get smelly very quickly if they aren’t cleaned on a daily basis.

It’s actually a good idea to give them a quick wipe after every meal as food easily becomes trapped and starts to stink, especially in hot environments.

Failure to keep a French Bulldog’s facial folds and wrinkles clean can lead to the development of serious complications.

Apart from smelling awful, they can become swollen, inflamed, and sore to the point of bleeding. A Frenchie with neglected facial folds will show obvious discomfort.

Yeast dermatitis can easily develop and only gets worse if left untreated. Ask your vet to recommend an antifungal treatment.

2. Ear infections

Because a French Bulldog’s ears stand up, they tend to collect more debris, suffer from wax build-up and gather moisture all of which can lead to bad smells and ear infections.

Keep your French Bulldog’s ears spotlessly clean to prevent any possibility of infection developing.

Use a damp paper towel, cotton wool, or pet-friendly wet wipe and never poke anything into their ears as they are easily damaged.

Only clean the areas you can see and never allow water to trickle into your Frenchie’s ears.

If your French Bulldog’s ears are noticeably smelly and she seems to be walking in circles or off-balance, these are signs of infection.

Speak to your vet who might ask to see your dog and will prescribe antibiotics if necessary

3. Paw issues

Just like humans can get smelly feet, French Bulldogs can suffer from smelly paws.

Check your dog’s paws regularly and investigate any foul odors. Remember if your dog has recently licked her paws this might cause a slight smell.

If the smell is beyond the slight smell of saliva, paws are another area that can develop yeast infections.

Signs, apart from a bad smell, are red, swollen areas, and possible bleeding. In this case, ask your vet for the best course of treatment.

Yeast infections are generally preventable if you wash your Frenchie’s feet clean after walks and dry them thoroughly on a clean towel.

4. Dirty tail Pocket

Smells often emanate from a French Bulldog’s tail pocket which is a moist area beneath the tail. Because of its position, the tail pocket easily collects feces and dirt.

If the tail pocket area is not kept meticulously clean, serious infections can soon develop giving rise to unbearable smells.

It may not be a task to relish but owners should regularly check and clean their Frenchie tail pocket.

Some French Bulldogs adequately clean their own tail pockets, but those who don’t require assistance once or twice a day from their owners to prevent overpowering odors from resulting.

Take care when cleaning this area as it’s easy to over-wipe and cause inflammation.

Glandex wipes are ideal for tail pocket cleansing and are conveniently available on Amazon. Here’s a link to read reviews and see the current price.

Here’s a recommended tail pocket cleansing procedure:

  1. Shampoo the area using warm water and soap-free shampoo. Work it gently into the skin and leave it on for a minute or two. Then, using warm water again, rinse the area thoroughly to ensure all the shampoo has been washed away.
  2. Dry the area with a soft clean towel. Be gentle careful as this can irritate some dogs more than the washing part.  
  3. Points 1 and 2 are usually sufficient but some people prefer to also apply pet-friendly disinfectant

There is another issue that involves an ingrowing tail but this is a more serious condition that occasionally necessitates an amputation – speak to your vet for further advice on this subject. 

5. Bad breath

We’ve all experienced bad dog breath but it’s not often that we attempt to do anything about it.

Smelly French Bulldog breath is often a symptom of periodontal disease but occasionally it’s a sign of other illnesses.

You can try cleaning your French Bulldog’s teeth to destroy any odors from its mouth. This will stop plaque from building up which leads to bad breath.

If your Frenchie won’t allow you near it with a toothbrush, there are other options to help clean their teeth which include chew toys, raw bones, and a very high-quality diet.

A good example of a chew toy is the Benebone real Bacon Wishbone. It’s durable and long-lasting and gets thousands of great reviews on Amazon. Here’s a link to check it out!

You’d be surprised at how important a high-quality diet is when it comes to preventing bad French Bulldog breath.

Choose a balanced and complete diet suitable for Frenchies and this will go along way toward lowering dental problems and bad odors from their mouths.

6. Flatulence

If you’ve ever experienced a French Bulldog pass wind, you’ll understand how bad it smells! Just like people, dogs suffer from gassy episodes.

Every dog will pass wind from time to time but if your Frenchie is popping off all day long you might want to look closely at its diet.

Cut back on snacks, especially scraps from your plate, use a French Bulldog friendly diet, and avoid high-grain products.

If the problem persists, your vet should examine your Frenchie to rule out any digestive issues.

Should you bath a smelly French Bulldog?

It isn’t necessary to bathe a French Bulldog every week to stop her from smelling but once a month is fine. Some dogs enjoy a bath and some just don’t.

Just occasionally, a French Bulldog might get exceptionally dirty and a full bath is often the best way to get her totally clean.

If your dog hates baths, don’t force it as it will cause unnecessary stress. If you have the facility, a shower might be a better option.

A French Bulldog has natural oils in her skin that actually help keep her clean and protect her from infections.

Too many baths destroy this natural balance. When you wash your Frenchie, you’re not only washing away dirt, you’re washing her natural protective layer off.

Never use your shampoo to bathe your French Bulldog! Use a specifically developed pet shampoo such as Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo For Dogs

It’s a natural, gentle formula and you can easily order it on Amazon. Here’s a link to see further information and the current price.

Smells of unknown origins

If your French Bulldog smells and you can’t get to the root of the problem, always get a vet’s opinion.

Follow this plan:

  • Don’t tell your vet what you think the problem is, just describe the symptoms. You don’t want to lead them in the wrong direction by making them think the problem could be something else.
  • If you suspect your French Bulldog has an infection then you should take them to the vet unless your vet can offer a diagnosis via telephone. You may be asked to email photos or videos. This is ideal if going to the vet stresses your dog
  • Keep a diary of how often you have to clean your French Bulldogs maine smell areas. Include every bath and all products used asthis can help a vet to determine if any adjusments are necessary

Often, smells are caused by infection so it could just be that a course of antibiotics that are required. The very best advice is don’t ignore anything.

If something smells bad today, it’ll most likely smell worse tomorrow – so try and fix it today.

If the smell of your French Bulldog is overpowering your home, the Lamp Berger system offers a safe and easy way to eradicate pet odors.

Remember, a French Bulldog doesn’t mean to smell bad and can’t help how she smells.

Why does my French Bulldog smell? Conclusion

Most of the time, a French Bulldog smells because it needs your help in keeping four main areas clean:

  • Facial folds
  • Ears
  • Paws
  • Tail pocket

You can help prevent smells from these areas by regularly cleaning them for your Frenchie.

The cleansing process that stops a French Bulldog from smelling also prevents infections from developing.

So be a good owner, keep your Frenchie clean and you’ll benefit from having a happy, healthy, fragrant dog!

The Adorable French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a smallish breed of dog that came about after a cross between two Bulldog ancestors from France and England around 200 years ago.

They have become a very popular dog in recent years, particularly in the United States and Europe.

The reason for this popularity is pretty clear (well, it is if you have one) – they make a fantastic companion dog!

They are great with children and other pets (as long as they’ve been introduced at an early age) and aren’t as aggressive at all, despite what some people think.

They are not without their health problems though. They are known for breathing complications and aren’t able to regulate their temperature well at all.

They can become severely anxious in hot weather and the breed has been banned by many airlines as some have unfortunately lost their lives during journeys.

This is due to the anxiety-causing problems with their breathing due to the high temperatures within the hold of the plane prior to take-off. 

They are also a breed that craves human attention. If you leave the little Frenchie alone for more than a couple of hours it will start to experience separation anxiety and possibly become destructive.

Jane Pettitt

Hi. I'm Jane Pettitt and I co-own petsKB with my husband, Matt. I've always been crazy about animals and have shared my whole life with cats, We currently live with 4 gorgeous Maine Coons and have 25 years of experience with this breed. There's not much we can't tell you about them. We've also owned dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, mice, and tortoises. All of our articles draw on the extensive pet knowledge base we've built up throughout our lives as pet lovers.

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