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March 09, 2022
Flat-faced dogs are among the most popular dog breeds, including the French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pug, and Bulldog. These pups feature elongated soft palates, broad skulls, and facial folds that give them their signature look. It’s these facial folds that make grooming a top priority for these brachycephalic breeds.
When you’re a pet parent, you know that grooming is an essential part of your dog’s overall health. But, when you groom flat-faced dogs, a few areas need extra attention. Primarily, the skin folds, eyes, ears, and dental care should all be vital parts of your pup’s grooming routine.
When you’re figuring out the best way to take care of your dog, routines are key. Putting together a regular schedule for exercise, food, and training is a great way to stay on track. It also helps your dog know what to expect and makes things easier.
Grooming is no exception. Establishing a grooming schedule can ensure your dog stays their healthiest and happiest. Of course, having the right supplies on hand also makes things easier. Then you won’t find yourself up to your arms in soap bubbles when you realize you’re missing something.
An essential part of any successful grooming routine is brushing and bathing your dog. If your pup has short or medium-length hair, a good bristle brush will do the trick. A slicker brush or comb specifically for long fur works best for long-haired dogs.
It’s always critical to brush your dog before and after bathing them. Regular brushing helps prevent excess shedding, matting, and irritation. If your pup sheds often or has a long coat, you should brush them daily. If you have a short-haired dog, you can likely brush them every couple of days to help remove loose fur.
Many brachycephalic breeds aren't highly active and spend most of their time indoors. A bath every two to three months is sufficient for these less active dogs.
Start by placing your pup on a non-slip surface, like a rubber bath mat, to keep them stable. Then, use a low-pressure sprayer or a cup to wet your dog from the neck down. Don’t pour water over their face. Once they're wet, lather them up with a doggy shampoo. Finish by rinsing them off and drying them with a towel. If your dog isn't too scared by it, you can also use a hairdryer on the lowest temperature setting.
Make sure to rinse all traces of suds out of your pup’s coat and dry your dog thoroughly. You can use a soft, damp cloth to wipe their head and face gently. If your dog’s skin is dry or flaky, consider using a leave-in conditioner.
Another crucial part of your dog’s grooming routine is taking care of their nails. Flat-faced dogs typically have thick nails that curl toward the paw. If the nails get too long, it can significantly affect your pup’s mobility.
Trim your dog’s nails every two weeks. Make sure to use high-quality clippers with a safety stop. To cut, simply grasp their toenail and cut at a 45 degree angle. Make sure to cut a little bit at a time so that you don't cut the quick (the vein in your dog's toenail). It's always a good idea to have styptic powder on hand. This powder will stop bleeding quickly if you accidentally snip a nail too short.
If your pup resists nail trims, help them by offering a tasty treat or a distraction. A lick mat provides a perfect way to distract dogs from the nail trim while helping keep them calm.
In addition to bathing and brushing your flat-faced dog and clipping their nails, there are other important factors to consider. Of course, every dog needs proper ear and eye care, dental care, and overall thorough grooming. However, flat-faced dogs need special attention in these areas.
Brachycephalic breeds feature deep skin folds on their face. These folds are notorious for trapping moisture and dirt, leading to skin issues and yeast infections. It’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect your dog’s skin when you’re brushing and bathing them.
If you notice any signs of skin problems, consult your vet. Some symptoms include redness, swelling, a foul smell, strange color, or itchiness.
The best way to prevent problems is to clean your pup’s face often. Use a damp cloth or an antiseptic wipe to remove any dirt in the skin folds. Make sure to follow with a dry cloth, so you don’t leave any moisture behind. Also, using a shallower dog bowl can help keep crumbs and food particles from getting into their folds.
Don’t forget to check your dog’s tail. Some breeds have a curved or spiral tail that creates folds, leading to the same problems mentioned above. Clean these areas with a wet cloth or wipe and dry them thoroughly.
Dental care is an essential part of any dog’s overall health. Flat-faced dogs face some unique issues when it comes to dental care due to their smaller jaws.
Many breeds can experience an underbite, overlapping teeth, overcrowding, or other issues. These different situations can contribute to more severe problems, like periodontal disease.
Starting to brush your pup’s teeth as early as possible can help prevent problems and make it easier for you and your dog. The sooner your pet gets used to you fooling with their mouth, the better.
Use a toothbrush or finger brush and a toothpaste specifically for dogs. Like with humans, it’s best to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings should also be a part of your healthcare and grooming routines.
The front teeth of flat-faced dogs are typically more pronounced and easier to clean. So, make sure you get to the back of your pup’s mouth to reach all of their teeth.
Many flat-faced pups have narrow ear canals that make them more prone to wax build-up and infections. Therefore, regular ear cleanings are a must. Once or twice a week is usual for most dogs, but your flat-faced pup might require more attention.
If your dog has floppy ears, checking them more frequently is usually necessary. Use distilled water or an ear-cleaning solution approved by veterinarians. Follow the instructions on the label for applying the solution to your pup’s ears. Then, gently wipe the outside of the ear canal and the ear flap with a piece of gauze or a cotton ball.
Since flat-faced dogs have shallower eye sockets, their eyes protrude out more than other dogs’ eyes. This feature makes their eyes more susceptible to dryness, infections, and even injury. It’s common for their eyelashes and skin to rub against parts of their eyes, causing irritation.
The best thing to do for your flat-faced dog’s eyes is to check them every day. If your pup is squinting or having trouble opening an eye, there could be an injury. Talk with your vet if you notice any signs of irritation, dryness, or excessive tearing.
It’s also a good idea to have regular ophthalmologic visits for your dog in addition to your regular vet care. Often, staying on top of your dog’s eye health and catching any potential problems early is the best way to remedy any issues.
Dogs with flat faces can struggle to reach their noses with their tongues. Also, flat-faced dogs are more prone to a condition that causes excess keratin, which ultimately leads to a crusty nose. To help combat this issue, use a doggy-approved moisturizer on your pup’s nose at least twice a week.
Keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure you take the best care when grooming flat-faced dogs. Of course, if you don’t have adequate time to devote to the task or are unsure of your abilities, finding a professional groomer is an excellent idea. For more helpful tips, check out the rest of our blog.
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