Pretty Is As Pretty Does


      Called a "Wash 'N Wear" dog by show fanciers, the French Bulldog's grooming is simple, minimal, but,  nonetheless,  must be done on a regular and consistent basis.  These are the six simple basics:

COAT:  Use a tearless puppy or baby shampoon every 3-4 weeks during winter months and twice a month in humid, hot months.   In this humid southern climate, I switch to Malesob, a deep cleansing equine shampoo, or other antibacterial, antifungus shampoo right before summer weather emerges.  This is a preventative measure.  My dogs go through  hot Oklahoma summer months without a patchy, plucked look that you see on some dogs of this breed.   Deep cleansing shampoos are too harsh, too expensive,  and rather unnecessary in  colder, drier months but definitely  worth the extra bucks especially for teenagers in puberty.  The breed tends to get fungus coat in the southern areas or accummulation of oil and bacteria in the follicles during hot, humid weather. Many breeders use DAWN, ultra dishwashing detergent to deep clean follicles at base of the fur.

EARS:  Those beautifully erect batears have deep crevices and ridges.  Flush once a week with a commercial preparation. Even a squirt of  peroxide from a puppy sized syringe (without needle of course) will keep ears cleansed if a commercial rinse isn't available.  . Use a moist Q-tip around the ridges but avoid running swabs down into the canal as this may pack debris in the ear canal.  Let the dog SHAKE out the debris and cleansing agents. (BY THE WAY: STAND BACK)/  Use this recipe concocted by a Texas vet for breeders who fight fungus and bacterial ear infections:

               Basic ear cleanser: Mix 1/3 Isopropyl Alcohol, l/3 vinegar, l/3 water in a
               squeeze bottle. Flush ears once a week.

               Solution for yeast (fungal) ear problems:  use once a day for 30 days; thereafter,
               one or two times per week to maintain:

               Dissolve 1 oz. Boric Acid powder (purchase at a pharmacy), + 8 oz. water.
               Keep in capped jar.  Use this in the following solution to treat ears:
               l/3 Boric Acid solution + l/3 propylene glycol + l/3 water + a few drops of any of these:
               Teatree oil OR chlorohexadrine, or capitan, Betadyne.

NAILS:  NOBODY likes this grooming chore - not the dogs and not their owners. DO IT ANYWAY!  To have short nails will help puppy's pasterns(ankles) become strong; it also prevents an ugly flat paw.  In spite of the drama, ignore the Frenchies screams, yelps, pouting,or  kicking;  wrap a towel around his body, firmly cuddle dog,  and GO FOR IT!

For companion/pet owners, you can limit this to once every week to ten days. For the show enthusiast, this needs to be done twice a week when puppy is under five months of age,  and then once a week thereafter.  Cat claw scissors suffice until puppy is over 16 weeks, but I use a Pedi-Paws on tiny pups to help them overcome the fear of the noise. As they grow, I switch to an Oster or Dremel nail honing device, preferably one that has a speed control. If you are regular and diligent with nail grooming, the nails will stay under control.  Slightly cauterizing the quick will deter the nails from growing. Daily walks will eventually prevent nails from getting out of bounds altogether and eliminate constant need for honing and clipping.

NOSES:  Those flat noses are so cute, but they become dry, crusty, cracked, and ugly if neglected.  The intake of air on the bracychephalic's nose creates a dry and soon scaley nose.  These scales can even form in rows as the dog's own breath fans his flat snout while harsh winds blast sand and cold air against his foreface.  Sometimes in Northern regions, the dogs have "winter nose" - a condition of faded pigment that occurs where the dog is not exposed to sunshine for long periods.  (This goes away when Spring sunshine returns.)  REMEDY:  Break open a Vitamin E capsule, or buy Vitamin E oil or Bag Balm (available at Farm or Fabric stores) for a moisturizer. Vaseline is better than NOTHING!   A little dab of this every day or two protects and keeps the skin supple.

TEARSTAINS:  Piebalds,creams and fawn coated Frenchies can develop dark streaks down their nose roll wrinkle.   Prevention is the best cure.  Use a commercial tearstain cleanser and cotton boll to wipe down crevices in the muzzle area and under the dog's lower jaw. These crevices can actually become so acidic that there can be red yeast or hair loss in the deep crevices.  It takes some experimentation to find the commercial cleanser that works best with a particular dog.  10 Volume Peroxide works fine with most of my dogs.  After cleaning, let the area dry and then cover with Desinex or other salve with zinc. 

MY PERSONAL DISCOVERY:  Some do not tearstain because their bodies have less acid in chemistry, but  if your pet is one with a higher acidic body chemistry, then the stains can be dark and close to  unremovable.  After trying many commercial preparations, I accidently discovered that Johnson & Johnson's Promise, a ladies' cosmetic facial cleanser, removes the stains quite well - better than most commercial cleansers on one of my toughest dogs to keep clean.

 Whether the tearstains develop at all may depend on the cause.   Some never stain.   It depends on the dog's own body chemistry. Other causes of excessive tearing: dry eye, a plugged tearduct(puncta),  a bacterial or red yeast infection, entropion. See an opthomologist for diagnosis if tearstains are not manageable with regular cleanup.

TAILS (AND OTHER RUFFLES AND RIDGES):  Babywipes,  antibacterial wipes and antibacterial soap  are a must-haves to periodically clean the deep niches  above the nose, above the onset of the tail, and vulva area of females between shampoos.