Must-Have Grooming Products for Wrinkly Dogs

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Keeping a dog groomed is part of responsible pet ownership, and for dogs with wrinkled skin, this is especially true. Many wrinkly dogs, like English bulldogs, mastiffs, shar-peis, and French bulldogs, have short fur, but the skin folds found on their faces and bodies can collect grime like dirt and debris, dead skin cells, shedded fur, and skin oils. If left unwashed for too long, some dogs may experience conditions like yeast infections in their folds, which can be irritating, itchy, and smelly. This is why those wrinkles need to be groomed regularly, and there are some products out there designed to do just that, including some inexpensive staples you may already have around your house.

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What to consider when purchasing grooming products for wrinkly dogs

Prevention:‌ The best way to keep your wrinkly dog's skin clean and healthy is to implement a regular dog grooming routine and stick to it. The frequency will depend on your dog's needs, but keeping the folds and wrinkles on your dog's skin clean, dry, and free from fungus and bacteria overgrowth will go a long way in keeping your dog comfortable, and may even result in less need for products over time. Generally, wiping wrinkles with warm water and allowing them to dry is sufficient for most dogs.

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Skin Sensitivity:‌ In many cases, grooming products for keeping a dog's wrinkles healthy are needed. However, many of these products do contain fragrances and other ingredients that may be potentially irritating to certain dogs. If you notice that your dog's skin is irritated or itchy, or see redness or swelling around an area you recently treated, discontinue the use of that item right away and ask your veterinarian or local dog groomer for less irritating alternatives.

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Handling Tolerance:‌ Not all dogs love to be groomed or bathed, but most will tolerate it to a certain extent, especially when they can build a positive association with it over time (treats during and after bathtime can work wonders!). Some dogs who are less tolerant may benefit from grooming products that require less fuss, like cleansing or medicated wipes, and balm sticks. Dogs who have infected or irritated skin may be even less tolerant of having their faces handled as it can be painful to be touched, so if your dog seems unusually resistant, don't force it and consult a pro instead.

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Infection or Irritation:‌ Using products like conditioner, balms, and deodorizing sprays is usually fine for regular groomings, but if your dog has a skin infection or other irritation, adding more products may make the condition worse. Most skin infections are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or fungus and should be treated with a topical antibacterial or antifungal medication before anything else.

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The best cleaning wipes for wrinkly dogs

For many wrinkly dogs, a thorough wipe-down on a regular basis is all that's needed to keep skin folds clean and free of bacterial or fungal overgrowth that can lead to skin infections. These unmedicated wipes are sold in regular and extra-large sizes, and contain natural ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil to clean and condition the skin. The pads are pre-soaked and made of soft cotton for a comfortable clean that gets in those wrinkles without irritating the skin or your dog. These wipes are safe for use on dogs over eight weeks of age and can be used up to two times daily.

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The best shampoo for wrinkly dogs

Shampooing isn't just for keeping a dog's coat clean, it can also cleanse and condition the skin, which is a must for dogs with wrinkles. This item is a two-in-one dog shampoo and conditioner that's gentle on the skin, and contains skin-soothing ingredients including aloe vera, silk protein, milk, and added moisturizing and conditioning agents. It contains no sulfates or parabens so it's less likely to irritate sensitive skin, and is pH balanced to help maintain a healthy acid mantle and skin barrier.

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The best cleaning cloths for wrinkly dogs

Products designed to groom wrinkly dog breeds are great to include in a routine, especially if your dog has sensitive skin or gets irritation in their skin folds. Good grooming starts with a clean surface, and it's recommended that skincare starts simply, with warm water and a clean, soft towel. A microfiber towel like this one won't irritate sensitive skin, and because this set is sold in a bundle of six, you'll always have a clean one on hand, even for wipe-downs in between a full groom session. These towels are machine-washable, antimicrobial, and don't get bleach stains when in contact with medication like benzoyl peroxide.

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The best medicated topical product for wrinkly dogs

If your wrinkly dog does have a skin infection or irritation in their folds, it will most likely need to be treated with some sort of medication, be it prescribed by your veterinarian or delivered in the form of a topical product, like this shampoo. This is an antimicrobial and antifungal shampoo that contains Miconazole Nitrate and Chlorhexidine Gluconate, which are used to kill fungus and disinfect the skin effectively and quickly. This shampoo is also formulated with ceramides to moisturize and repair damaged skin and contains no fragrances, so it won't irritate your pooch.

The best medicated wipes for wrinkly dogs

Some dogs aren't able to sit still long enough for a medicated shampoo to work for them, in which case, medicated wipes are a more practical choice. The main ingredients in these wipes are Chlorhexidine Gluconate and Ketoconazole, which are antiseptics and antifungals used to treat itchy skin, infections like ringworm, and fungal overgrowth, which can happen in damp places like inside of skin folds. This formula also includes lactic acid and aloe vera to condition the skin, and wipes can be used up to three times per day to treat skin discomfort.

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The best balm for wrinkly dogs

Cleaning a dog's skin is just part of a wrinkle grooming regimen. Making sure the folds are hydrated and protected is also part of maintaining healthy skin and can prevent skin problems from developing around those areas. This bundle contains wrinkle balm that's developed to soothe existing irritation associated with skinfold dermatitis, yeast infections, cysts, and tear stains while preventing new concerns from forming. An additional wrinkle balm stick is also included in this pack for protection on the go. This cream is formulated with avocado oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E to moisturize and condition the skin, and is free from artificial fragrances, toxins, and preservatives.

The best budget balm for wrinkly dogs

For a quality wrinkle cream at under $17 dollars, this all-natural option is a great one to consider and contains only two ingredients—soybean oil and cajuput oil, the latter of which is used to treat bacterial and fungal infections. This balm is free of mineral oil and petroleum and is safe enough to be applied several times a day if needed. One thing this balm is especially great for is treating hyperkeratosis, which occurs when too much of the protein keratin is produced, causing buildup that results in thick skin that's dry and rough.

The best brush for wrinkly dogs

Grooming a dog isn't only about cleaning and moisturizing the skin; dead fur needs to come off too or it can build up and become matted, which can lead to skin irritation. A mitt or glove-style brush is a great way to brush long-haired dogs, like Pekingese or bloodhound breeds, as well as short-haired dogs like pugs or bullmastiffs, as they also massage the skin. This glove is fitted with soft rubber tips that not only remove hair but also dead skin cells that can lead to irritation. This is sized to wear on the right hand and is especially great for dogs who don't enjoy being brushed as it mimics petting.

The best powder for wrinkly dogs

Finally, the last step for many pet parents who groom their wrinkly dogs at home is to apply an absorbent powder to the skin, which will keep folds dry and eliminate the risk of bacterial buildup. A talc-free powder like this one is the safest option for anyone, dogs included. This powder uses naturally-derived cornstarch for absorbancy and contains soothing aloe and vitamin E. It's a hypoallergic formula that's free of parabens, dyes, and phthalates, but does contain a mild fragrance, so if your dog is sensitive to that you might consider DIY alternatives like baking soda.

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