Brachycephalic dogs suffer from numerous internal and external health issues as a result of the compaction in their growth caused by breed genetics. Following our discussion of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), the next most common medical issue likely to affect your pug is skin fold dermatitis. As the pug’s muzzle and head is shorter than the skin that covers it, the folds created by extra lengths of skin provide fertile grounds for the prevalence and sustenance of various forms of bacteria and yeast. Alongside its brachycephalic configuration, your dog’s face is the part of its body most prone to bacterial contact, as it smells, sniffs and explores a host of bacteria-laden surfaces and objects. The folds of excess skin also become irritated through agitation against each other, as skin and hair become agitated, natural dermal secretions and the warmth of agitation compound the problem. Although the face folds are most likely to become infected, the skin folds around your pug’s abnormally shaped tail are also susceptible to skin fold dermatitis. The earliest and most obvious sign of skin fold dermatitis affecting your pug is the smell from the bacteria and yeast that cause the infection. You may also see your pug scratching, biting or licking the area of its face affected by the dermatitis, or it may be rubbing its face or backside to alleviate the irritation caused by the bacteria. Faced with these indications, you will be able to see on closer inspection that the skin between or underneath the folds is red, and this may coincide with yellow or white discharge from the infected area.
Skin fold dermatitis causes a lot of discomfort and complications if left untreated. It is a problem best shown to a vet at the earliest opportunity.