Crusty Hyperkeratosis Nose In Bulldogs And French Bulldogs

By: Dr. Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Hi Dr. Kraemer,

I hope this finds you well! 🐶 My adorable bulldog is dealing with a crusty bleeding nose, and I’m reaching out to you for guidance. 🙏

I’d love your expertise to ensure I’m on the right track. 🐕💼 Any quick tips or product recommendations? Your advice means the world to us! 🌎❤️

Thanks a ton! 🙌 [Gayle and “Belichick”] #BulldogHealth #HyperkeratosisHelp

Crusty nose and paw hyperkeratosis are common conditions in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs and are much more common to them than in most other dog breeds.

The nose and paw pads are often the primary locations for this issue.

The condition involves the overgrowth of keratin, a protein responsible for the formation of nails, hair, and the outer layer of the skin in bulldogs. Managing and addressing hyperkeratosis in these specific areas is crucial for maintaining the overall well-being and comfort of these breeds.

  • GENETICS: Keratin is a normal protein, but these breeds can overproduce it due to their flat-faced conformation
  • CLIMATE: Dry weather, allergies, and sun exposure can exacerbate the condition
  • FLAT-FACE: Brachycephalic breed flat faces can contribute to dryness and irritation, further promoting hyperkeratosis.

Keratin is a protein that helps make nails, hair, and the outer layer of your bulldog skin

Bulldog Crusty Dry Hyperkeratosis Nose & Paw 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. Hyperkeratosis is due to excess keratin production, genetics, and flat-face breed confirmation.
  2. Most are mild and can be managed without a prescription.
  3. The severe form might require topical antibiotics and pain management.
  4. Treatment includes
    • bully naso-plantar balm
    • skin therapeutic supplements
    • antiseptic wipes or lotion
  5. Prevention includes Dr. Kraemer’s Skinfold Care Bundles 

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Bully Toe & Paw Hyperkeratosis - Ultimate

Crusty Hyperkeratosis Dry Nose in Bulldogs PRESENTATION

Many of you have seen a bulldog with a crusty, thick layer of keratinized skin over its nose and paw pads and wondered what it is.

  • Can it be prevented?
  • Is it contagious?
  • How should it be treated?

Skin and Coat therapeutic supplement for bulldog food allergy


Naso-plantar Hyperkeratosis: This is a condition that involves both the nose (naso) and paw (plantar)

Other less common hyperkeratosis locations are:


Crusty Hyperkeratosis Nose in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs


Most cases are mild, with only a mild, benign

  • Crusty nose or paw
  • Chappy
  • Fissured
  • Thick callus


  • Oozing
  • Bleeding
  • Deeply Fissured
  • Painful
  • Infected

bulldog crusty nose hyperkeratosis

Crusty Dry Nose In Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE

Normal Keratinization: Keratin helps make the top layer of skin and acts mostly as a protective barrier

  • KERATOSIS:  is the normal production of keratin
  • HYPERKERATOSIS: an overproduction of keratin

Hyperkeratosis happens when too much keratin is made.


Nasal hyperkeratosis is much more common in bulldogs than in most other breeds, making genetics a likely cause.


Hyperkeratosis’s cause is often unknown (idiopathic), but we suspect that an inherited origin is involved.


Another reason could be a failure of the keratin to wear down due to the breed’s flat facial bones and smooshed face (brachycephalic).


Uneven weight bearing is thought to be the cause of bulldog paw hyperkeratosis. In bulldogs, it is usually due to their abnormal conformation and breeds common orthopedic conditions, such as:


  • PEMPHIGUS: an autoimmune disease
  • VIRAL: Canine Distemper
  • IMMUNOLOGICAL: Immune incompetency

Due to its genetic nature, bulldog nasal and digital hyperkeratosis is a condition that requires lifelong management and care

Nasal Dry Crusty Hyperkeratosis In Bulldogs PRESENTATION

MILD FORM: In its mild form, though unappealing, hyperkeratosis is typically benign and considered cosmetic and harmless.

SEVERE FORM: In contrast, the severe form represents an advanced stage where the condition may progress to “fracture,” fissure, or split, and in some instances, even bleed. These more pronounced changes can disrupt the natural keratinized protective skin barrier, potentially leading to infections and causing pain, especially when affecting the nose or paw pads.

As a result, your bulldog’s nose may become irritable, itchy, and painful, prompting the bulldog to rub its nose and potentially exacerbate the injury. Managing severe hyperkeratosis becomes crucial to alleviate discomfort and prevent complications.

A severe case of paw digital hyperkeratosis can also cause pain and lameness.

nose hyperkeratosis laser therapy

Here is a list of some of the common findings:

Nose: dry, cracked, crusty, and potentially painful, leading to rubbing and discomfort.

Paws: thickened, crusted paw pads, potentially cracking and causing pain, limping, and difficulty walking.

  • CRUST: Crusty thickens the keratinized layer of the nasal bridge or paw pads
  • CRACKS: Cracked keratinized layer, often with dry blood
  • PAIN: Pain and Discomfort
  • ITCH: Licking and Rubbing
  • LIMP: Limp if paw pads are affected
  • INACTIVITY: Limping and inactivity if paws are affected.
  • INFECTION: Active Infection in a severe case (deep cracks)

Nasal and Paw Crusty Hyperkeratosis In Bulldogs / DIAGNOSIS

  • Visual exam
  • Culture: to rule out bacterial infection
  • Biopsies in a severe case
  • Distemper Test: viral test

Crusty Thicken Hyperkeratosis Bulldog Nose PREVENTION

There are several simple and cost-effective measures you can take to prevent and manage hyperkeratosis in bulldogs without necessarily requiring professional veterinary care. Some of these preventive steps include:

Therapeutic Supplements for a Crusty Nose and Paw in a Bulldog:

  • Bully Fish Oil: V4B Bully Fish Oil EFA
  • Bully Skin & Coat: V4B Bully Dermal-Care
  • Bully Immune Booster: V4B Bully Immune Support Formula
  • Bully Multivitamins: V4B Bully Multivitamin (VIT E)
  • Bully Comfort: V4B Bully Comfort & AchLess Formula
  • Bully Joints & Bones:  V4B Bully Total Joint Support

Therapeutic Topics for a Crusty Nose and Paw in a Bulldog

  • Bully Nose and Paw Balm:  V4B Naso-Plantar Bully Balm
  • Bully Antimicrobial Wipes: like Dr. Kraemer’s V4b Bully Skinfolds Wipe
  • Bully Antiseptic Gel and Lotion: like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B antiseptic or yeasty Gel and lotion
  • Bully Antiseptic Spray and Rinse: like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B antiseptic Hot Spot

bulldog nose and paw balm


  1. Trimming and Shaving: Regularly checking and trimming the paw pads can help prevent excessive keratin buildup.
  2. Hydrating and Lubricating Lubrication, Hydrating, and Emollients.
    • Ensuring your bulldog has an adequate water supply helps maintain skin hydration from the inside out.
  3. Soaking: Paw soaking with Epson salt and antiseptic bully rinse
  4. Hygiene: Good Hygiene
  5. Keratolytic: ointments that include sulfa and salicylic acid that help break down the excess keratin
  6. Weight Control: for paws/digit bully hyperkeratosis
  7. Balanced Nutrition: Providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet supports overall skin health, which can contribute to preventing hyperkeratosis.
  8. Avoid Harsh Elements: Protecting your bulldog from extreme weather conditions, such as excessive sun exposure or harsh cold, can minimize the impact on the skin.

Crusty Nose In Bulldogs And French Bulldogs TREATMENT

  1. ANTISEPTIC MEDICATION: if the site is infected, topical and oral antimicrobial and Antifungal
  2. ANALGESICS: Pain medication
  3. BANDAGE: Paw bandaging or boot
  4. OINTMENT: Keratolytic ointments (sulfa and S. Acid)
  5. SUPPLEMENTS: therapeutic supplements for pain relief like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bully Comfort Formula
  6. TOPICALS: therapeutic topicals like Dr. Kraemer’s antiseptic wipes and gel. And Bully Naso-Plantar Balm

Crusty Nose In Bulldogs And French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS

Below are Dr. Kraemer’s selected tips and warnings

Bulldog Dry  Paw and Nose PETROLEUM GELLY TIP

Petroleum gels are safe to use; for those of you worried about your bulldog licking and digesting them, it’s only a problem at the large amount and high concentration. It can temporarily create a barrier and trap existing moisture.

Bulldog Dry Nose and Paw HYDRATION TIP

You can prime the area by socking the callused skin with lukewarm water. Softening the area by soaking it for around 10-15 minutes helps in several ways:

  • Increased effectiveness: Makes the callus softer and easier to remove
  • Reduced discomfort: Softer skin leads to a more gentle and comfortable experience during removal.
  • Improved results: By removing dead skin more effectively, soaking can help prevent the callus from returning as quickly.

If the area is infected, mix with the water some of Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Antiseptic Rinse 

Bulldog Crusy Nose COSMETIC TIP:

For the majority of Bulldogs, mild hyperkeratosis of the nose is primarily a cosmetic concern. In their mild form, these instances are typically not infected and cause minimal to no discomfort or irritation.

Preventive measures and maintenance are often sufficient to manage mild hyperkeratosis.

Bully wipes and bully derm-care balm can be effective in keeping the nose moisturized and healthy.


To prevent the painful and infected forms of hyperkeratosis, you must follow our home care recommendations, which include:



To avoid paw hyperkeratosis, your bulldog should maintain a lean body weight.


To avoid digital hyperkeratosis, you should keep your bulldogs on therapeutic joint supplements.


To avoid paw hyperkeratosis, you should manage your bulldog’s interdigital cyst with our therapeutic topicals

Recommended by Owners Approved by Bulldogs


By Dr. Kraemer

Dr. R. J. Kraemer: With a specialization in Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and other Brachycephalic breeds, Dr. Kraemer has dedicated his career to educating the bulldog community about the unique medical and surgical requirements of the breed. These encompass preventive care and wellness, customized anesthesia, and employing a multimodal approach to address their unique medical conditions.

Some of the breed-specific medical issues he focuses on include

• Airway obstructive disease
• Orthopedics tailored for the breed
• Ear canal disease preventive care
• Skin and allergy management
• Skinfold Dermatitis and Interdigital cysts
• Eyes and eyelid abnormalities
• Pain and stress control
• Dietary, digestion, and therapeutic supplementation

He is a leading provider of cutting-edge regenerative and alternative medicine, for services such as stem cell therapy, laser, and PRP.

Additionally, he maintains a longstanding relationship with Bulldog Rescue, contributing funds and providing shelter, medical, and surgical expertise.

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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