Caring for Dogs with Wrinkles

Pugs, English Bulldogs, Shar Peis, and most of the Molusser (Mastiff) breeds have one big thing in common: Wrinkles! Many new owners of these dogs make the mistake of falling in love with the adorable wrinkly faces without considering what special care these dogs may need, and the skin problems that can sometimes occur. Wrinkled dogs are prone to many serious skin conditions, but most of these can be prevented with proper skin care on a regular basis.

Daily Wrinkle Care

The most important thing you can do for your wrinkled dog’s skin is wipe between the facial wrinkles every day with a baby wipe. Dogs introduced to this as puppies usually learn to enjoy it. If you acquired your wrinkled dog as an adult, he may be less thrilled with the process. Taking cleaning his wrinkles slowly and giving lots of treats will help accustom him to this daily routine.

Neopolitan Mastiffs, Shar Peis, and other breeds with wrinkles all over, not just on their faces, may need to be wiped in other areas as well. Pay special attention to any spots where your dog seems itchy– there may be dirt accumulating between folds of skin, which can cause irritation and infection if not removed promptly.

Monthly Wrinkle Care

At least once a month, bathe your wrinkled dog with a gentle shampoo designed to soothe the skin. Colloidal oatmeal is one ingredient that reliably produces positive results for dogs with itchy, dry skin. I generally use Comfy Dog Oatmeal Shampoo on my foster Pug, but any brand will do as long as you look for a product with all-natural, gentle ingredients.

Be sure you scrub– gently– between all  of your dog’s wrinkles during each bath. Even more importantly, rinse thoroughly between the wrinkles. Shampoo residue is a common irritant causing itching and rashes in dogs who are bathed frequently. If you do use a conditioner, choose a product that, like your shampoo, is designed to be soothing to the skin and contains all-natural ingredients.

Avoid blow-drying wrinkled dogs. This tends to dry them on the surface while leaving damp areas between the folds of their skin. Instead, use a nice bath towel and, if weather permits, a long walk to help air-dry your pooch.

Yearly Wrinkle Care

At least once a year, but preferably every six months, your wrinkled dog should see a veterinarian for a checkup. Be sure to ask the veterinarian to look thoroughly at the condition of your dog’s skin, including the skin between facial and body wrinkles. If your dog’s skin appears irritated, your vet may prescribe a topical spray or cream to alleviate his symptoms.

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