Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs; many bulldogs suffer from dry, flaky, scaly skin, though some might suffer from greasy, oily, flaky skin, the medical term for both conditions is “Bulldog Seborrhea”.  

There are two types of bulldog dry, flaky seborrhea, the uncommon PRIMARY type, and the more common bulldog’s SECONDARY type.

Bulldog secondary seborrhea can be divided into a NON-ITCHY type and a more common ITCHY type.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SEBORRHEA TYPES: 

Oils or sebum are produced in the sebaceous glands.

  1. BULLDOG DRY SEBORRHEA (Bulldog Seborrhea Sicca or Sica):  “Sicca” stands for “Dry”, same as “Bulldog Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) which stands for “Bulldog Dry Eye”.
  2. BULLDOG OILY SEBORRHEA (Bulldog seborrhea oleosa): “Oleosa” stands for oily, a bully greasy skin

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB:Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Most Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs is secondary to other bulldog skin diseases, thus for the best therapeutic outcome, the underlying cause should be identified.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRIMARY DISEASE:

Primary seborrhea is much LESS common in bulldogs and is usually due to a keratinization defect or abnormal cell turnover. The distribution is usually wide and often includes the ears and ear flaps.

A primary seborrhea is typically a genetic, hereditary condition, thus it is likely to manifest early in life.

Primary Dry Coat Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DISEASE TYPES:

  • Bulldog Idiopathic Dry Flaky Skin (unknown reason)
  • Bulldog Vitamin A Responsive Dry Flaky Skin
  • Bulldog Sebaceous Adenitis (inflammation of the sebaceous glands)
  • Bulldog Ear Margin Dermatosis
  • Bulldog Acne
  • Bulldog Naso-Digital Hyperkeratosis

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SECONDARY DISEASE:

Secondary bulldog seborrhea sicca is the most common. Your bulldog will often present with an itch in addition to the dry, flaky, scaly coat.
Itch is common with secondary bulldog seborrhea, but there are a few underlying conditions in this category that are itch-free.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs ITCHING TYPE

They are secondary to common bulldog and French bulldog skin conditions such as:

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs NON-ITCHING:

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DIAGNOSIS:

  1. Age, History, Distribution are all vital for diagnosis
  2. Skin Scraping: to r/o Demodex and Sarcoptic Mange
  3. Skin Cytology: to r/o bacteria, yeast, and abnormal cells
  4. Skin Biopsy: for histopathology
  5. Allergy Blood Testing (VARL): for Atopic Dermatitis
  6. Food Trial (RX elimination diets): for food allergies

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TREATMENT:

Topical therapy and Supplements are essential for all Bulldog Dry and Flaky Skin Disease, as well as Bulldog Oily Greasy Flaky Skin

FREQUENCY: 1-2/weeks in the beginning, then as needed for maintenance.
CONTACT TIME: shampoos & conditioners contact time 10-15 min before rinsing.
HYDRATION: Humectants & Emollients 10-15 min minimum contact time to allow proper hydration of the skin. They are often applied as an after-shampoo conditioner or are mixed in them.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Advance Bundle


  • Humectants attract water.
  • Emollients prevent water loss and soften the skin.

KERATOLYTIC & KERATOPLASTIC: to help remove scales and flakes.
ANTI-PRURITIC: to help reduce the itch.
ANTISEPTIC: to help manage secondary bacterial infection.
ANTI-YEAST: to help manage secondary yeast infection.
DEGREASERS: For bulldog Oily Flaky Greasy Skin (Bulldog Oily Seborrhea) to help flush the hair follicle and remove excess oils.
BATHING: once or twice a week with medicated shampoo.
MOUSSING & GELLING: on non-bath days.

1. MEDICATED SHAMPOOS: Provided here are various medicated shampoos you should implement depending on the skin state, itchiness, and presence of infection:

2. NO RINSE LOTION & GELS: should be used in between baths. They are extremely easy to use, and no rinsing is needed.

3. AFTER-SHAMPOO CONDITIONER: V4B Bully Hypoallergenic Conditioner.

4. SPRAY & WIPES: Antiseptic, Anti-Yeast Bundle


5. RX ITCH CONTROL: Often itch control RX is needed at the early intense, acute phase.

6. RX ANTISEPTIC: Often Antibacterial & Antifungal systemic RX are needed during the acute phase to help eliminate the secondary infection.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:

Tip #1 TOPICALS & SUPPLEMENTS: Topical therapy that includes medicated shampoos, after-shampoo conditioners, No-Rinse mousses, and gels, as well as complementary supplements are critical for the short and long term.

  • SAFE: They Are Safe, thus can be used long term.
  • $: They Are Inexpensive.
  • EASY: They are easy to implement.
  • CONVENIENT: They are done at home.
  • TREATS: Supplements are available in chews and given as treats.

Tip #2 SHAMPOOS & CONDITIONERS: Medicated shampoos and conditioners should be used:

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs BEFORE

  • FREQUENCY: Bi-weekly during the acute phase, and less frequently thereafter.
  • CONTACT: Contact before rinsing should be 10-15min.
  • WATER TEMP: If there is inflammation (redness) you should not bathe with hot/warm water.
  • IDEAL COMBO: Most times a combination of multiple medicated shampoos, wipes, gels, and sprays is needed.

Tip #3 PRIMARY SEBORRHEA SICCA:Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs hair loss AFTER

  • Less common than secondary seborrhea sicca
  • Genetic/Inherent, thus often shows up at a young age
  • Same treatment, some might need Vit A, Zinc, Retinoid

Tip #4 SECONDARY ITCHY: common pruritic types are:

  • Bulldog itch atopic allergic dermatitis
  • Bulldog food allergy allergic dermatitis
  • Bulldog flea allergy

Tip #5 SECONDARY NON- ITCHY: common nonpruritic types are:

  • Bulldog demodex
  • Bulldog hypothyroid
  • Bulldog Cushing syndrome
  • Bulldog dry, non-humid geographic location

Tip #5 TREATMENT DURATION: Treating the acute phase is usually 2-3months in duration pending improvements.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs WARNINGS:

Warning #1 RX ITCH CONTROL: Itch control is critical due to self-trauma and injury to your bulldog’s skin barrier. In severe, acute cases, drugs might be needed to control the itch.

Warning, often cortisone/steroids/prednisone are given which are usully effective, nevertheless, over time, they can lead to serious adverse effects.

Warning #2 RX ANTISEPTIC: secondary bacteria (Staphylococcus ) and yeast (Malassezia) infections are common and often require systemic medication.

Warning #3 RX HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS: Many of the medications (RX) used can lead to side effects over time:

  1. STEROIDS: Steroids can lead to iatrogenic Cushing syndrome and a long list of serious medical problems.
  2. ANTIBIOTICS: Antibiotics can lead to the superbug, multidrug-resistant bacteria, MRSP.
  3. ATOPICA: Atopica often causes nausea and diarrhea.
  4. APOQUEL: Apoquel is a possible immune suppressant when given twice a day.

All RX can negatively impact your bulldog’s GI microbiome (“good “ gut microflora), which can lead to dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome.

Dry Flaky Skin in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SUMMARY MUST DO:

  1. TOPICAL & SUPPLEMENTS (NON-PRESCRIPTION): Always implement topical therapy and supplements.
  2. DIAGNOSIS BASED: Systemic RX should be given based on diagnostic testing findings.
  3. PRESCRIPTION RX: RX should be prescribed for maximum impact, at the minimal dosage, and for the shortest optimal duration.

In contrast to prescription drugs, topicals such as medicated shampoos and rinses, medicated gels, sprays, wipes, and supplements are all:

  • SAFE: for long term use
  • $: inexpensive, affordable
  • EFFECTIVE: very effective when used correctly
  • EASY & CONVENIENT: used at home and easy to do

“An ounce of PREVENTION is worth a pound of CURE”

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*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” manual for any current or future bully owner

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