French Bulldog Skin Problems and How to Deal With It

French Bulldog Skin Problems

French Bulldog skin problems tend to fall in a few categories, and any (or all) of them can occur with your Frenchie. Allergies are a common immune system-related problem for Frenchies and often show up as sores or itchy flakes of skin that your pup will pick at with his paws or teeth. Another common skin problem for Frenchies is connected to pests such as fleas, ringworm, and mites. Common symptoms of these include dry skin and hair loss in the areas where these pests are taking up residence. French Bulldogs are also more likely than other dog breeds to develop skin cancer. This often appears as raised bumps and extremely dry skin that doesn’t go away over time.

As if all of those weren’t enough, there are also a few common skin conditions with Frenchies that can cause discomfort in the form of redness, sore dry skin, and recurring bacterial infections. These include: traditional dermatitis over the body or skin folds moist dermatitis. This is perhaps the most common skin problem with Frenchies, all things considered.

Will my Frenchie have skin problems?

All of these listed out like that is pretty upsetting as an attentive pet parent. After all, you want your Frenchie to be happy and healthy, right? The good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can understand each of these skin irritations for your pooch and take proper care of all of them to keep him both happy and healthy for his entire life!

As you will learn, adequate treatment for all of these common skin problems for French Bulldogs is going to be recognizing their symptoms and working to help deal with them quickly and effectively. Just like normal parents, your job will be to help your furry child feel better with proper care and lots of love!

What’s the Deal With French Bulldogs and Skin Conditions?

Interestingly, French Bulldogs have skin conditions more than other dog breeds because of their genetics and breed details. Since Frenchies are bred to look a certain way (the squished faces and those adorable and poke-able skin wrinkles, the skin is different from that of any other dog breed out there. The best way to understand it is to see that the wrinkly skin — in combination with the fine and delicate hair — creates the perfect environment for many different skin conditions.

Frenchies are said to have sensitive skin overall, too. That’s not to say that other dog breeds are exempt, of course. It’s just that Frenchies — just like a lot of human families with sensitive skin— are more likely than not to have one or more skin conditions at some point in their lives.

Allergies in French Bulldogs

One of the most common issues with Frenchies and their skin has to do with skin allergies. Or, more accurately, having an allergic reaction will flare-up the pre-existing skin sensitivity and create a lot of discomfort for your doggo in his day to day life. The two main types you can expect in your Frenchie are:

Environmental-Related Allergies

Just like in humans, you’ll find that your pup with seasonal allergies will start dealing with itchiness and common skin reactions (more on that in a minute!) around the springtime. If you have seasonal allergies with pollen and grass, you’ll notice that it will often be around the same time that you are dealing with allergies. As summer takes over and then fades into autumn, you’ll see that your Frenchie’s reactions will die down.

Food-Related Allergies

There are quite a few dog breeds with food allergies, and French Bulldogs are one of them. Common allergens in their food include meat or chicken (or whatever the main protein is in their kibble) and eggs or even corn and other grains. These kinds of allergic reactions will create similar skin-related reactions like environmental allergies (rashes, itchy hot spots, and redness), but they don’t happen around a certain season. The reactions will often pop up quickly (such as trying new food), and they can happen at any time, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

While humans may experience more issues with the respiratory system or a bit of congestion or runny eyes when dealing with either environmental or food-related allergies, doggos often deal with what is commonly called “allergic dermatitis”. This is just the fancy word for rashes or hives, and it can wreak havoc on the already sensitive skin for Frenchies. These reactions could show up anywhere, including his legs, paws, face, back and belly, and even his lil wrinkly tush (ouch)!

Examples of Allergic Reactions in Frenchies

If you want to be a dog parent who is in the know about dog allergic reactions, here are some common behaviors as well as symptoms you can watch for:

  • Constant chewing or scratching at a particular place on their body
  • Rubbing against walls or abrasive surfaces (picture a bear on a tree)
  • Scooting across the carpet
  • Head shaking (common when the reaction is in the ear canal)
  • Tender, red skin that is sensitive and hot to the touch
  • Hair loss or thinning around the sensitive area
  • Oozing or blood from sores

You’ll want to consider diagnosing allergies sooner rather than later in your pooch. They can often worsen after repeated exposure and can create long-lasting skin-related issues for your Frenchie. If you see one of these symptoms, take a closer look at his skin!

How to Deal With Allergies

Discovering your doggo has allergies is one thing. Dealing with them long-term is another! Here are some tips to help you out. 

  • Clean off his feet and fur: This one is more about seasonal allergies, of course. You’ll want to help your pooch keep clean feet and fur when he re-enters the house. Consider a foot bath as well as a quick rub down with a damp towel when your dog comes in from a walk or another outdoor adventure. This will help keep the allergens from getting into his bed or any other favorite spots around the house. 
  • Practice proper grooming and skin assessments: Grooming will clear his coat of environmental triggers, and it also will help you spend dedicated time assessing his skin. Since noticing a reaction earlier is always better than noticing it after the fact, this can be a massive help to seeing a flare-up before it becomes, well, a flare-up.
  • Keep your Frenchie’s health in top shape: Since allergies are caused by a weakness in the immune system (a natural weakness in the French Bulldog breed), you should make sure that you are keeping him in top health as well with proper, nutritious food, and also plenty of exercise and regular health checks. This will make his immune system as strong and allergy-resistant as possible. 
  • Consider additives as “medication”: If you want to help your pooch through the worst of a particularly bad rash or series of hives, consider the option of looking for natural food additives. Common ones that dogs tend to enjoy are honey, coconut oil, or mushrooms. 

Pests That Cause Skin Problems for Frenchies

As you’ve learned, French Bulldogs are prone to having skin-related issues. Another popular cause for a flare-up could be common pests that can come into contact with your pooch while he’s out for a walk or enjoying time with his fellow furry friends at the dog park. Just like mosquitos with humans, these pests find your dog’s skin even if you are the most attentive pet parent ever. 

  • Fleas: If you’ve had a doggo before your Frenchie, you know all about fleas and their sneaky antics. For the most part, fleas come from the presence of tapeworms or dog to dog contact where fleas from one dog jump to the ground and then to your pet. Unfortunately, these can be pretty normal for all dog owners. However, Frenchies can have a stronger sensitivity to the relatively normal infestation. The reaction is called flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), and this is when the presence of fleas and their feeding, mating, and egg-laying creates a flare-up of skin issues with your pet. Fleas may be otherwise harmless to other dog breeds when dealt with quickly, but Frenchies can have serious skin reactions if they get an infestation.
  • Ringworm: Similar to fleas, ringworm comes from contact with another pooch (or surface, bowl, brush, etc.) that has ringworm. When your Frenchie picks up the common fungus at a dog park or dog friend’s house, it will create a lot of skin issues, including itchiness, dandruff or scaling, and even hair loss.
  • Mites: These common pests, similar to ticks, tend to be some of the most stubborn to deal with, especially when it comes to their ability to be contagious. Mites are most common in two groups which are:
    • Sarcoptic mites: these will burrow directly into the skin and create an intense need to scratch and itch for your doggo. These are considered to be very irritating. Rashes, extreme flaking, and inflammation are common symptoms to notice. 
    • Demodex red mites: while these guys won’t burrow directly into the skin, they do take up residence in the hair follicles of your pooch and can also create inflamed skin that is itchy and red to the human eye.

How to Deal With Common French Bulldog Pests and Their Skin Irritations

If you’re feeling frightened by these pests and the way that they can simply cause pain and discomfort in your poor French Bulldog (as any pet parent would), take a breath and remember: you can fight back by being prepared. Here are the two main focus points to help you do just that:

  • Medications and vaccinations: Modern veterinary medicine is a wonderful thing! As a puppy, as well as throughout his adult life, he’ll get proper vaccinations that will help protect him against developing any and hopefully all of these common pests. Just like in humans, these vaccinations equip him with the proper defense mechanisms to fight them. 
  • Healthy diet and exercise: Another strong helping hand is a focus on a healthy diet with plenty of exercise! Similar to what was mentioned earlier about allergies with your Frenchie, a strong immune system and good overall health will help him keep those biting pests away and also help them fight a serious infestation a lot easier than an unhealthy or stressed pupper.

French Bulldog Skin Cancer

As soon as you hear the word “cancer”, you can feel your heart in your throat, right? That’s not uncommon at all, but information is key! A French Bulldog does have a higher likelihood of developing skin cancer in his life since his thin fur isn’t able to do much to protect his skin. The more exposed his skin is, the stronger the chance that he may have a health problem down the road. Skin cancer can also be a problem for pups that have a genetic predisposition (just like humans), a lot of unexpected sun exposure, viruses, and aging. 

How to Deal With Skin Cancer in Your French Bulldog

Want to do your part at protecting your pooch from this alarming and intimidating diagnosis? The steps will feel pretty familiar:

  • Invest in some sunscreen for your doggo: You can get some great sunscreen options for your pup, so you’ll want to do some research and find just the right sunscreen for your Frenchie before heading to the beach (or even out for a walk in the summer). This will keep him safe and won’t harm him with additives or chemicals like human sunscreen. 
  • Keep an eye on sun exposure: Even aside from sunscreen, you’ll still want to keep a general eye on how much sun exposure your pup gets. Try to keep him in the shade as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to keep him inside on hot, full sunshine days except for supervised walks or bathroom breaks.

Common Frenchie Skin Irritations

Aside from those above, you’ll also find French Bulldogs to have a strong likelihood of what would be considered more “general” skin irritation problems. This, again, comes down to the fact that they have sensitive skin, to begin with, and even the most attentive and loving pet parent will see their Frenchie dealing with some sort of skin condition at some point in their life.

  • Dermatitis: This can be anywhere on his body, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Skin that is dry, red, or itchy, and it will often feel very dry and scaly when you are grooming your Frenchie. He’ll often be picking at these spots, too.
  • Skin fold moist dermatitis: This is perhaps the most common of all Frenchie skin conditions. It is the reddening and chafing (and itching) of the skin that is hidden beneath the skin folds on a Frenchie’s face, body, and even their bum. This can be a recurring issue or just every once in a while. They can be dry and red or inflamed, moist, and create bacterial infections. It depends on the fold and your dog’s general health.

Frenchie Skincare Toolkit

Wondering how you can do your part to take proper care of your Frenchie and his sensitive skin? Here is a toolkit of must-haves for keeping everything in check. 

  • Grooming brush and mild Frenchie-approved soaps: Proper grooming is essential with Frenchies, and it also helps you keep an eye on their skin regularly. You can bathe your pup with mild and Frenchie-approved soaps and shampoos, too. Most of these have moisturizing agents for the comfort and strengthening of the skin. 
  • Regular use moisturizers and sunscreen: Speaking of moisturizers, you’ll find all sorts of regular-use moisturizers out there. These can help with mild rashes or particularly dry patches of skin before they cause a bigger problem. Follow that up with dog-approved sunscreen to keep him protected against those sun rays!
  • Quality food and exercise: A healthy pet is a happy pet, and this is as much for his physical body as it is for his personality and emotional health. Do what you can to provide proper food and exercise to your dog so that he’s the strongest and healthiest self possible. 
  • An experienced, approachable vet: Lastly, you’ll want to have an experienced vet on call to help you out with your pooch. If possible, try to find one that has experience with French Bulldogs or similar breeds so that you know they are familiar with their common skin care problems.


While Frenchies may be prone to skin conditions, they are lovely additions to your household. With proper education, attention to detail, and the right vet, you’ll be able to stay on top of your French Bulldog’s skin and still enjoy all of the best parts about being a dog owner!

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.