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Why Does My Bulldog Stink? 8 Vet-Approved Reasons

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

French bulldog in the tub

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are many reasons that dogs being a part of our lives is so rewarding. But there are also a few drawbacks, such as the famous doggy odor!

If you’re the proud owner of an English Bulldog, you’re more than well aware of the stink factor of this breed.

Read on to learn the various reasons that your Bulldog might be smellier than usual, along with prevention tips that can make your odoriferous dog easier to live with.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3

The 8 Reasons That Your Bulldog Stinks

1. Skin Folds

Their wrinkles and skin folds are part of the Bulldog’s charm. But these skin folds can contribute to a stinky dog.

Sweat, moisture, food, and dirt can all get trapped in the folds and lead to a foul odor if not cleaned out regularly. Trapped-in moisture and dirt can also lead to yeast and bacterial skin infections. Pyoderma, which is the medical term for bacterial skin infection, is common in many dogs, but the Bulldog is especially susceptible.


The skin folds must be regularly checked and cleaned using dog wipes or washes. Following the cleaning, you must ensure that the folds are dry. Moist skin folds can lead to bacteria and yeast buildup. Antimicrobial washes or wipes may be needed.

english american bulldog
Image Credit: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock

2. Tail Pocket

A Bulldog has a skin fold between their tail and skin. This tail pocket can be deep and is a haven for dirt and moisture, leading to a bad smell.


You’ll need to regularly check the tail pocket and clean it with a wipe. If the wipe comes away with a small amount of dirt, this is normal, but if there seems to be an abundance of material built up, you’ll likely need to clean it more frequently. If there is yellow discharge or the skin is red and inflamed you should contact your vet.

Once you’ve cleaned it, use a clean towel or tissue to dry it out. Some dogs need their pocket cleaned more frequently than others, so you’ll need to monitor it.

3. Anal Glands

Anal glands are two small sacs located on either side of the anus. They produce a particularly smelly liquid that’s typically expressed on its own when a dog passes a normal stool.

When the anal glands are not naturally expressed, the buildup can cause an especially smelly dog. Small amounts of the stinky anal gland secretion can leak out, or the glands can become infected and form an abscess.


For most dogs, the anal glands should not be an issue if your dog has a healthy diet with enough fiber for proper stool consistency. Additionally, your dog should be kept at a healthy weight; obesity can lead to problems with the anal glands, including the need to have them manually expressed.

Speak to your vet if you’re at all concerned about your Bulldog’s weight and for help with anal gland issues.

rear of male english bulldog showing its tail pocket
Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock

4. Inherent Doggy Odor

All dogs are prone to doggy odor to a certain degree. Some have it more strongly than others, but the Bulldog is definitely prone to it.


Keeping on top of bathing your dog will help. But you must be sure to use the right shampoo and not bathe your Bulldog too often. Dogs have natural oils in their skin that help keep their skin and coats in good condition. Too many baths will dry out the skin and can lead to various skin conditions. If your dog has sore, red skin or rashes then make an appointment with your vet.

Unless your Bulldog has something on their coat that must be washed off in a bath, you should aim to only bathe your pup around once a month. You must also use a shampoo that is formulated for your dog’s pH, which can only be found in shampoos made for dogs.

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5. Dental Problems

Sometimes, the smelly issue might be from bad breath. Unfortunately, halitosis can indicate dental problems, such as:

  • Gingivitis
  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Food or object stuck between the teeth
  • Tooth root abscess

You should be brushing your Bulldog’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs. Human toothpaste is not good for dogs. Brushing your dog’s teeth should be done daily or three times a week at the very least. It will take a while for your dog to become accustomed to having their teeth brushed, but they might even come to love it.

Beyond this, be sure to take your Bulldog to the vet every 6 months, where they can check your dog’s teeth to ensure that there aren’t any dental issues that need attention.

french bulldog on the grass with harness
Image Credit: yhelfman, Shutterstock

6. Ear Infection

Ear infections with yeast or bacteria are common causes of smelly, sore ears in dogs. Infections typically have an underlying cause including:

  • Allergies
  • Buildup of wax
  • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Excessive moisture

Since Bulldogs have folded-over ears, they are more likely to get ear infections than dogs with ears that stand straight up. Many dogs’ ears don’t need frequent cleaning, but you might need to clean your Bulldog’s ears every other week. Speak to your vet for advice on how often to clean out your individual dog’s ears and what product to use.

You’ll need to clean them with an ear-cleaning solution: Drip it in, and then massage the base of the ear for roughly 20 to 30 seconds. Use a dry cotton ball or pad to wipe out the excess from around the entrance to the ear canal. Never stick things into the ear canal when cleaning (like Q tips).

If you suspect an ear infection, see your vet straightaway.

7. Smelly Paws

If your Bulldog seems to have smelly paws, this could result from your dog excessively licking their paws. This can occur because they have a wound, which dogs will lick in an attempt to lessen the pain. But it is commonly due to underlying skin allergies. Paw licking might also be due to boredom or stress.


If you see a wound on your dog’s paw, speak to your vet to determine if your dog needs medical help or if there are any steps that you can take yourself to treat the wound.

If your dog is continually licking their paws for no apparent reason, or if the paws look red and inflamed, you should take them to your vet for diagnosis of the underlying cause and treatment to stop the irritation. This may also include washing the feet with antimicrobial shampoos and wipes.

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8. Diet

The wrong diet could lead to a smelly dog. For example, food allergies and intolerances can affect the skin or the lovely scents emanating from the rear part of your dog. Bulldogs are famous for these odorous bottom burps!


You should look into a change in your dog’s diet with the help of your veterinarian. If there’s a food allergy or intolerance, you’ll need your vet to help you with an elimination diet to determine what it is.

Low-quality food can also trigger food allergies and definitely gas!

cute small jack russell dog at home waiting to eat his food in a bowl
Image Credit: eva_blanco, Shutterstock



All dogs tend to stink from time to time, but if your Bulldog seems to be stinkier than usual, you’ll need to figure out where the odor is coming from.

Get your veterinarian involved if you’re not sure what might be wrong. Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll have your Bulldog smelling like roses (or just a less-stinky dog) in no time!

Featured Image Credit: Vantage_DS, Shutterstock

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