Why Does My French Bulldog Smell?

Your French Bulldog might stink because of their Facial folds, Ear infections, their Paws or their Tail Pocket. There may be other reasons, which we will explore later but these are, by far, the most common reasons. Find out how to deal will these below.

It’s strange, isn’t it? An owner of a dog will become immune from the very unique smells from their dogs. The smell seems to be able to embed itself into their carpet, furniture and even their clothes.

They end up smelling of their dog and I think if they spent enough time together they would eventually start to bark also! If you think I’m being a bit mean here then it doesn’t count because I can probably include myself in this category! Some breeds smell more than others though and we’re interested here in the adorable French Bulldog.

This is a breed that could arguably be the no.1 choice for a companion dog. However, it has been mentioned that the French Bulldog can be a little whiffy. But then all breeds can, right? But let’s just focus on the Frenchie for this article.

For more information on the above, please see the below information.

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.

Do French Bulldog’s Stink More Than Other Breeds?

It can do. The Bulldog’s facial folds, if not cleaned can smell after just a short time. This, combined with their rather delicate stomach and other little issues can mean you might need to look after your Frenchie a little more than other breeds. You shouldn’t let this put you off though.

The French Bulldog has so many qualities it makes up for this rather small shortcoming and we all know that dogs can pong a little bit anyway! There are owners though who have never had a problem with theirs though so don’t assume they are all the same.

What Makes the French Bulldog Stink?

There are four main reasons why your Frenchie might smell more than it could, these are the things to check for:

1) Facial Folds

These are probably the first thing to check when you get a hint of something disagreeable in the air. It won’t take long at all for these folds to start smelling and it’s a daily task for you to ensure these are all nice and clean. In the summer or if it’s hot inside, the problem will obviously need addressing earlier. 

If the problem is neglected, then more serious complications can occur. The folds will first become swollen, will look sore (showing signs of redness) and may even bleed. It will become uncomfortable for her and she will visibly be in some discomfort. This is horrible for your Frenchie to have to deal with. Unlike us, she can’t communicate the pain and is unable to use her paws so she will be seen rubbing her face on the floor to help with the itchy symptoms.

A yeast infection can easily develop and this will need to be treated by medical wipes. If you’re not familiar with these then I can really recommend these Glandex Pet WipesOpens in a new tab., click on the link if you want to check the latest price – these things are great and I always seem to be topping up my supply!

2) Ear Infections

Well, these can certainly be smelly! Again though, this doesn’t affect every French Bulldog but when it does, you will know about it quickly. This doesn’t mean you have an infection, but it does mean it could lead to one quickly if not addressed.  They’re usually caused by a build-up of wax but can also be caused by moisture that’s built up within the ear.

Be very careful if you’re trying to clean her ears using cotton wool buds. They say for humans you should never stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow 🙂 You have the added complication with a dog that it’s never going to stay still for too long!

An ear infection, like any infection really, need treating quickly to avoid more serious problems. Medicated wipes are the key here combined with the use of an otic solution. You shouldn’t have too many problems with dealing with this as long as you get on to it quickly.

If you notice her behavior change or see them walking in circles or off-balance, seek advice from your vet. She may just need a course of antibiotics, but let your vet be the authority here. 

3) How About Their Paws?

It’s not only their facial area that can start to get a little smelly. Check their paws also, get your nose down there and see if that’s the source of any foul smells. This is typically (although not always) caused by your Frenchie licking her paws. This can be just because of their normal cleaning routine or after they injure their paw, they will naturally lick it.

This can, unfortunately, lead to more problems than good but there’s not a lot you can do to stop them doing this. The suggestion here is to wash the paw(s) with warm water and to gently dry. As I mentioned earlier, if this is performed outside then the fresh air will really help in drying them. If you can avoid doing this yourself then great, less chance of irritating them.

4) Tail Pocket

The tail pocket on a French Bulldog (most have them but not all) can be difficult to find. However, it is an area that may require some attention. If you’re not familiar with its location, it can be found between the tail and the skin. Probably around 1 in 5 French Bulldog’s will require attention in this area more than once a month.

When they do require some help then it can be a continual thing with some Frenchie’s requiring their tail pocket cleaned out a couple of times a day to keep the smell at bay. When she has a problem in this area, you’ll certainly know about it as the smell can be overpowering. 

If you do need to wipe this area then use only wipes such as theseOpens in a new tab. (opens in a new window) on it as it can become sore if over-wiped. Look out for redness, irritation and your Bully showing visible signs of distress when you try and clean it. I’d recommend the following procedure if (or when) you need to clean it:

  1. Shampoo the area using warm water and only use this soap-free shampooOpens in a new tab., this stuff is pretty cheap and does a great job. Work it gently into the skin and leave it off for a minute or two. Then, using warm water again, clean the area and make sure all the shampoo has been washed away.
  2. You should now dry the area with a gentle towel, you need to be careful here as this is the point which could irritate her. If it’s a bit windy you could do this outside as the fresh air will really help speed up the process significantly. 
  3. The above is sufficient but some people do also apply a disinfectant to the area – I’ve not had to do this in the past so try out the above and see if it does the job, if not – speak to your vet as to what else you can try.

There is another issue that involves an ingrowing tail but this is a more serious condition that may require amputation – contact your vet for further advice. 

Bath Time

Don’t feel that you need to bath your French Bulldog a couple of times a week to ensure they are kept clean. This just isn’t required typically and you’re only going to step up your game if you encounter problems. A bath just once a month is sufficient for the French Bulldog. You can’t base your opinion on what we need, if they don’t need it then don’t do it!

Your dog has natural oils present in its skin that will help keep them clean and protect them from infections, to a degree, of course. When you wash your Bully you’re not only washing some grime off, you’re washing their natural protective layer off. Hence why we don’t want to do it any more than we need to. 

Don’t use your shampoo to bathe your French Bulldog! I would recommend this shampooOpens in a new tab.. It’s been around for ages and we all love it – it’s also safe! It’s quite cheap and just gets the job done. It also shouldn’t cause irritation if it accidentally gets into her eyes.

Time to Take Your French Bulldog to the Vets?

If you can’t get to the bottom of where the problem is, don’t be afraid to contact your vets and ask for some advice. If this time comes, follow the below advice:

  • 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 your French Bulldog has an infection then do you have to take them to the vets? This is stressful for them so avoid if possible. Most of us have phones with great cameras equipped these days so ask your vet if you can take either a photo or video and send it to them. It may help with the diagnosis greatly if they can actually see what’s going on.
  • If possible, make a diary of how often you’ve been having to clean your Bully and what you cleaned. Don’t forget to include how many times you’ve bathed her.

Often, smells are caused by infection so it could just be a course of antibiotics that are required. The very best of advice I could give here though is don’t ignore anything. If something is smelling 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 systemOpens in a new tab. offers a safe and easy way to eradicate it.

Anyway, your little Frenchie can’t help how he smells and may even be quite self-conscious about it – if you’re after the best ways to him happy, today – take a look here.Opens in a new tab.


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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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