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Cleaning Your Flat Faced Dog's Face

flat faced puppies

Humans Are Genetically Hard-Wired To Go Sqeeee Over Flat-Faced, Squishy Puppy Faces…It's SCIENCE!

Did you know science supports our fascination with flat-faced dogs? Recent studies have shown human being respond more favorably to dogs with bigger, rounded eyes and shorter muzzles...more human "baby-like" faces and expressions.

Dr. Bridget Waller presents in a study Paedomorphic Facial Expressions Give Dogs a Selective Advantage (opens in new link) what we've all known...humans react more favorable to baby faced dogs.

Study leader Dr Bridget Waller, an expert in social communication from the University of Portsmouth, said: "Our study suggests that dogs' facial movements have evolved in response to a human preference for child-like characteristics. In other words, we might have automatically opted for dogs which produced facial movements that enhanced their baby-like faces." Yep, SCIENCE.

Cleaning Our Dog's Flat Faces 

Proper Care for Facial Folds, Nose Wrinkles and Tear Stained Faces

Now that we've fallen in love with these flat faces...let's learn how to keep them fresh and clean.

Smoosh, flat faces can become raw, irritated and red down in the facial folds (some call them wrinkles) and the area from their eyes down to their mouth where tears can irritate the skin. Before you moisturize these areas with any product, you must clean and dry the area. 

Lighter colored dogs are also often plagued with reddish, rusty looking tear stained areas. This is a multi-pronged issue and cannot be remedied by wiping their face off. Tear-stain removing products cannot bleach the hair back on their own, unless they contain bleaching agents. More on that below. That is just science (again with the science).

Flat Face Face Cleaning & Protecting Steps

  • Wipe face clean with warm washcloth to remove built-up debris and dirt
  • Use Gentle Touch Soap or Shampoo or Razzle Dazzle for dogs with white faces
  • If possible, wipe folds with natural eye-makeup remover pads to clean and dry folds + the astringent helps dry the area
  • Allow face to dry completely - pat dry, etc.
  • Gently apply Boo Boo Butter to the irritated area, avoiding eyes**

Getting Facial Stains Under Control

Dogs with bigger, rounded eyes create more tears than dogs with more standard face shapes. They just do. The tears oxidizing with air creates the rusty staining we see.

Tear-stains that are already visible on lighter colored dogs cannot be gotten rid of completely, unless you use bleach, which you obviously don't want to use near their eyes. The hair has to grow out. I repeat...the hair has to grow out!

Of course, thoroughly cleaning the face will help the appearance. Some of the lighter staining will be removed and your dog's face will look brighter. Cleaning also loosens some of the stained, weaker hair and removes it, which also lighten up the face. Then use Boo Boo Butter to help protect against the tears causing the red stain.

Protecting Your Flat-Faced Dog's Flat Face

  • Use Boo Boo Butter to help protect the hair from further staining
  • Change diet and treats to a grain-free food and treats with NO dyes or color enhancers
  • Try fish-based food. Eliminate chicken, which can be problematic for Frenchies. In over 30 years of having Frenchies, mine have done best on fish-based kibble.

** Boo Boo Butter won't harm eyes, but it may sting (as anything does when it gets in our eyes).