How Often Should American Bulldogs Be Bathed? 7 Bathing Tips


american bulldog swimming

American Bulldogs are a loyal and self confident breed that have been a part of American culture for centuries. The American Bulldog is an excellent family pet and fairly low maintenance when it comes to bathing.

How often should American Bulldogs be bathed? As a general rule an American Bulldog should be bathed every 2-3 months. Unless they have become excessively dirty from playing outside. Over bathing can lead to dry skin and irritation, so avoid bathing American Bulldogs too frequently.

As a Bully breed owner myself I know the problems that can arise from bathing an American Bulldog too often. Dogs like the American Bulldog can be prone to sensitive skin so it is important you keep their skin healthy and not overworked from excessive bathing.

In this post I will cover everything you need to know about American Bulldog bathing. My dogs are very similar to the American Bulldog when it comes to their skin and coat health, and I have learned many tricks over the years. Let’s dive in.

How Do You Give An American Bulldog A Bath?

There are several steps to safely and effectively give your American Bulldog a bath.

  • Organize your supplies in the bathing area
  • Use a non slip mat
  • Make sure the water temperature is comfortable
  • Keep a face cloth and bucket handy
  • Use a gentle, oatmeal based shampoo
  • Thoroughly dry your American Bulldog

Giving your American Bulldog a bath is very simple when done with a little planning and preparation ahead of time. Let’s break down the steps above in a little more detail to ensure your American Bulldog will be safe, comfortable, and clean.

Organize Your Supplies

Before getting your American Bulldog in the bath, shower or bathing station make sure all your supplies are ready and within reach. You are going to need:

  • Treats and Peanut Butter
  • Shampoo
  • Face cloth and bucket
  • Non slip mat
  • A couple towels

By having everything ready and available before bath time begins you will avoid slips, escapes and possible injuries by leaving your dog unattended. Even for just a few moments. Unless you want a soaking wet dog loose in the house or an expensive vet bill, I’d suggest keeping everything on hand.

Safety First

Most bathtubs and showers are fairly slippery when wet and soapy. Even if your American Bulldog remains fairly still during a bath there is still potential for slips. A dog that moves a lot and maybe scrambles to escape will definitely slip. That’s why I recommend getting a good non slip mat.

By having the mat in place this ensures she doesn’t slip and potentially injure herself. I use a SlipX Solutions Extra Long Vinyl Bath Mat. They are terrific and super affordable on Amazon.

Water Temperature Check

american bulldog puppy

Before placing your American Bulldog in the bathing area get the water running at a comfortable temperature. I like to bathe my dogs just on the cool side of lukewarm. This ensures they are comfortable and I am keeping their skin and coat healthy.

Hot water will strip your dogs skin and coat of the healthy oils that protect their skin from becoming dry and irritated. Not to mention too hot of water can burn and be very uncomfortable. 

Too cold of water will also be very uncomfortable for your dog and a bit shocking. Try and find a happy middle ground that is lukewarm or slightly cooler.

Once you have the temperature locked in it’s time to fill up your bucket with clean water and get your American Bulldog in the bath area.

Rinse, Shampoo, Rinse

Start with your American Bulldog’s body first moving from their neck towards their tail. Give them a good rinse and soaking first, then gently use your hand washcloth to get their face and around their ears. Using a spray around their face can get water in their eyes and ears, and this is very uncomfortable.

Too much water in the ears can actually lead to ear infections. Using the wash cloth will minimize the amount of water that gets in there, and make the experience much more comfortable.

Shampoo Time!

Now that you have your American Bulldog is nice and wet it’s shampoo time! I use a gentle oatmeal based shampoo on my Staffy and American Bully to keep their skin moisturized and soft. More to come on that later.

Apply the shampoo in the palm of your hands and gently massage it into your American Bulldog’s coat. Work from the neck to tail and really massage the shampoos into their coat. Don’t forget their bellies, legs, feet and tail. Once you have worked the shampoo in really well let it sit for a couple minutes. This is an opportune time to hand out some treats as a reward and distraction.

Face Cloth & Bucket

Using a face cloth and bucket of clean water is best for areas around the ears and eyes. A normal shower spray is great for their body, but getting water and soap in their ears and eyes is not good. This can lead to irritation and infections if you are not careful.

Soak your face cloth in the clean water and gently apply shampoo. Work the shampoo into the areas of their head and be mindful of the eyes and ears. 

Final Rinse

Rinse your American Bulldog from the neck to tail. This will keep the water and shampoo moving away from the face area. Massage their coat again as you rinse to ensure you are getting all the shampoo out. Next take the clean cloth and gently rinse their face. Take your time here.

What’s The Best Shampoo For American Bulldogs?

Not all shampoos are created equal. American Bulldogs can have very sensitive skin and I highly recommend using a gentle oatmeal based shampoo, or organic formulas specific to sensitive skin.

I have used a variety of shampoos in my time with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with very sensitive skin, and these are by far the best. I have tried all 3 and can’t recommend them enough. They are fantastic for skin and coat, and smell terrific.

Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs 

wahl dog shampoo

Wahl makes an excellent dog shampoo that provides instant relief from itchy dry skin. The Oatmeal base shampoo concentrate comes in a variety of scents. My personal favorite is the coconut lime verbena. The PH balanced formula is a great way to relieve, and prevent, dry itchy skin on your Bully breed. The high concentration formula also means that a little shampoo goes a long way.


Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo

zesty pets dog shampoo

Zesty Paws is a great brand and one that I have complete trust in as a dog owner. I have used their Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo and their Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for my Staffy’s skin and they are both great products.

The Zesty Paws Oatmeal shampoo contains oatmeal, aloe vera, vitamins, quinoa and almond extract to help sooth, relieve, and moisturize your dog’s skin. It has a great vanilla scent and leaves my dog’s coat very soft, and supple. Combined with the Salmon oil this shampoo has greatly reduced my Staffy’s shedding as well. 


Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo

moosh dog shampoo

Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo is one I had been hearing about for a while, and only recently tried. The Moosh brand shampoo touts its 100% natural and organic formula using bentonite clay as one of its cleaning and healing agents for sensitive, irritated skin. Along with the shea butter, argan oil, and aloe vera natural ingredients.

The raving reviews on Amazon were right. Moosh is a fantastic natural dog shampoo. My Staffy’s skin and coat were smooth, supple, and looked incredibly healthy. The scent is hard to pinpoint, and is very subtle, but clean smelling. I’m not sure what is in that magic bentonite clay, but it works!


Drying Off Your American Bulldog

At this stage in the process you should have your towels all ready to go. I like to place one on the floor to avoid slips and getting water everywhere. Give your American Bulldog a good drying off. Head to tail get as much moisture off of them as you can. Get a third towel if needed to finish the job.

Avoid using a blow dryer. These can be hard to adjust for temperature and can lead to burns and injury. A good towel and a few minutes is all you need to get them dry from head to toe. Once they are nice and dry, give them some more treats of course.

Bonus Tip For American Bulldogs That Move A Lot

One trick that I learned with my Staffy and Pocket American Bully is using peanut butter on the shower wall. I take a tablespoon of peanut butter and smear it on the shower wall at eye level for them. This keeps my dogs busy enjoying a snack, and staying still as I give them a bath.

This trick works amazing for me and helps things go much faster and smoothing during bathtime. It also prevents me from getting soaking wet as the dogs turn and move around. Peanut butter is your best friend during bathtime. See this trick in action in the video below.

Final Thoughts

Bathing your American Bulldog every 2-3 months is a simple routine when you prepare. Some dogs hate bath time, others don’t really mind. Making this grooming routine safe, comfortable, and hopefully enjoyable for your American Bulldog can be done by following the steps above.

And don’t forget the peanut butter!

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