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How to Clean and Care for Your Pug's Facial Folds

How to Clean and Care for Your Pug Facial Folds

Pugs are wrinkly little dolls. They have charming rolls and folds that make them look like they’re wearing skin that’s just a tad too big. From their nose wrinkle to their extra rolls on their neck, they’re rumply little goofballs. With those wrinkles and rumples comes some cleaning needs. Knowing how to clean your pug’s folds is an important part of their grooming and care.

Fortunately, learning how to clean your pug’s folds is easy! Here are the steps you should take to keep your pug healthy and fresh!

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Why You Need to Clean Your Pug’s Folds

Pugs are distinctively wrinkled. Their nose folds and extra rumples on their back are cute and fluffy. Even their curly tail and funny little feet offer nooks and crannies that need to be kept clean and fresh.

If pugs aren’t regularly cleaned, they can get infection in their folds of skin. Just like humans, skin folds lead to chafing and provide a place where bacteria and yeast can grow. It may sound a little gross, but if you don’t clean your pugs folds they can actually get irritated and house bacterial and yeast infections.

The nose wrinkle, is especially susceptible to irritation. Because their nose wrinkle is so close to their mouth, it offers the perfect place for bacteria to grow. Keeping your pug’s teeth clean and fresh can help ward off some bacteria, but it’s important to regularly clean their nose fold as well.

The “Frito feet” smell that pugs often get is actually caused by yeast growth on their feet. This is harmless, but their feet should still be cleaned regularly as well. Pugs are compact dogs, with extra folds of skin, so it’s important that you bath them, clean their armpits and other “crevices” on a regular basis. Typically a monthly bath will keep their coat healthy.

How to Clean Your Pug’s Folds

Pugs need to have their faces washed and dried daily. Their nose wrinkles and area around their mouth can become irritated, their ears can get infected and their nose itself can become chapped, if you don’t regularly clean their face.

Cleaning your pug’s folds is a simple process. Here’s how to clean your pug’s face rolls:

What you’ll need:

-Soft cloth or baby wipes


-Small training treats

-Coconut oil or salve

1. Use a soft, damp cloth

To clean your pug’s face, use a soft, damp cloth. Unscented baby wipes are a good choice for cleaning face folds. Scented wipes can irritate your pug’s skin and can be annoying for your pug (as it’s so close to their nose and mouth). Never use wipes with alcohol or harsh ingredients that could dry out your pug’s skin. A soft cloth dampened with water will do the trick in a pinch.

2. Be gentle

Gently pull apart your pug’s folds and wipe softly in between each wrinkle. Never be rough when you clean your pug’s folds. Their folds are very close to their eyes and you could inadvertently scratch their eye if you’re rough. Plus, the skin in their folds is often sensitive. Rubbing hard will hurt your pug.

3. Look for redness

As you clean the folds, inspect them for redness and irritation as well. It can be hard to see redness under the fur, but note any changes. If you see scabbing, redness or the skin feels hot, take them to vet right away. You may need a specialized cleaner to treat any infection.

4. Don’t ignore their ears

When you clean your pug’s folds it’s a good time to wipe out their ears as well. Use a soft cloth or baby wipes and wash out your pug’s ears. Watch for itching, redness, brown dots (a sign of ear mites) or any changes in your pug’s ears. Because they’re covered, pugs can also be prone to ear infection. Again, any concerns should be addressed by your vet.

5. Dry the folds thoroughly

Once the folds are clean, be sure to dry them thoroughly. Tissue paper works well for drying the folds, but you could also use a soft, absorbent cloth. Be sure not to leave any trace of moisture in your pug’s folds or ears. Dampness can lead to bacteria growth. The folds should be kept clean and dry as much as possible. If your pug goes in the water or walks in the rain, you may want to spend some extra time and attention on drying their folds.

6. Offer treats and praise

If you want to keep your pug happy and comfortable with the face fold washing process, be sure to give them plenty of treats and lots of praise, before, during, and after the fold cleaning. Never hold your pug down or wrestle with them while you try to clean their folds. This will only make the afraid and cause them to fight the process more. Instead, work up to regular fold cleaning, slowly.

If your pug is a rescue or hasn’t had fold cleaning before (or had a bad experience) it may take time to get them used to the process. Clean their folds with a simple swipe, and then offer small training treats and praise. You may have to start by simply getting them to allow you to touch their folds with your hand. Once they’ve gotten used to it, work up to using the cloth. Note: this process may take a few weeks. Work with your pug on a daily basis.

7. Keep away the nose funk

Pugs are prone to crusty noses. Again, this has to do with the proximity to their nose folds and propensity toward licking. Just like your lips get chapped when you lick them frequently, your pug’s nose gets chapped when he or she licks it regularly. To help keep their nose soft and healthy, apply some coconut oil or salve to moisturize their nose. You can use any unscented balm that you would use on your own skin--Aquaphor, is an effective brand. There are also specialized nose-butters you can buy to treat your pug’s chapped nose.

8. Check the paws

Your pug’s feet are also an area that should be wiped and cleaned regularly. Using a baby wipe or damp towel, clean their feet and wipe in between their toes. Dry your pug’s feet thoroughly once you’re finished. Cleaning your pug’s feet is especially important during wet weather and in the winter. Ice-melt can contain toxic antifreeze agents that can make your dog very sick should they eat it.

When you wash your pug’s feet, watch for any areas they may be chewing, redness or irritation. If your pug’s feet are itchy (if they seem to be chewing at their toes) it can be a sign of infection or overgrowth of yeast. Your vet can help you troubleshoot this issues to keep their paws feeling great.

Once your pug’s folds, nooks and crannies are cleaned they’re ready to run and play. The process of cleaning your pug’s folds takes only a few minutes a day, but is very important to your pug’s health. Keep your pug looking and feeling their best by cleaning their folds regularly.


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Rodney Myers
Rodney Myers
Jun 10, 2022

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