There’s not a shred of doubt in our minds—dogs are incredibly cute and they deserve all of the internet space that they can take up with their canine smiles. Move over, cats, it’s doggo time. In fact, dogs are so cute that sometimes their owners can’t resist squishing their cheeks, stretching their skin flaps or scruffs, and sharing the photos on the net.
It’s adorable. It’s funny. It’s here on Bored Panda. Upvote the photos that brought a smile to your face as you’re scrolling down, dear Readers, and be sure to let us know which canine companions won over your hearts. Pssst, you'll find our earlier list about squishy dog cheeks that are impossible to resist squishing right over here.
Our friends at the PDSA, the UK's leading vet charity, enlightened us about dogs' scruffs, how to take care of sagging skin, skin folds, and wrinkles, and gave us some helpful advice about canine skincare. Read on for Bored Panda's in-depth interview with PDSA vet Anna Ewers Clark.
Just keep in mind, Pandas, that the dogs featured in this list aren’t in any pain. In fact, some of them enjoy the mini face massage. But this isn’t the case with every dog. Before you start stretching random doggos’ skin, ask their owners for permission, speak to the dogs themselves (always fun!), or talk to a professional vet, breeder, or trainer.
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"Dogs have an area on the back of their necks called the scruff where the skin is a little more loosely attached to the body than in other areas. Sometimes, you can feel it moving as you stroke or scratch your dog, but it still has the same nerves and stretch sensitivity as the rest of the skin. It’s important not to pull on any part of your dog’s skin as overstretching their skin can be really painful, just like it would be for a person. This also applies to the scruff of the neck," PDSA vet Anna explained to Bored Panda.
She highlighted that we shouldn't pick up our dogs by the scruff of their neck because we could end up hurting them. "Instead, if you need to pick up your dog, support them under their chest and back legs to carry them, or if they’re a bigger dog, try using a big blanket or a board with the help of a friend or family member if you need to lift them for any reason. Find out more on our first aid guide," she shared.
Dogs like Shar Peis, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Basset Hounds have been bred to have loose skin and skin folds. They have these from an early age whereas other dogs can develop them due to their weight. "People often think of skin folds on a dog’s face, but they can also be found in other places, especially if a dog is overweight, for example around their tail, back end or at the tops of their legs."
PDSA vet Anna explained to Bored Panda that it's essential to clean a dog's skin folds to prevent skin fold dermatitis, a nasty infection that can develop in the 'pockets' between the folds of skin. "The skin in the folds is often very warm and damp, so yeast and bacteria that live on the skin naturally can overgrow, leading to irritated, red, and smelly skin which is itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. If left untreated, skin fold dermatitis can result in ulcers and sores in the folds which can be very painful."
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That means that if you have a dog with skin folds, you ought to clean them every day. Either cooled boiled water or salt water on fresh cotton wool pads works. "Be especially careful when cleaning folds near your dog’s eyes. If your dog finds this really uncomfortable, there could be a problem or infection in one of the folds so it’s best to get them checked by your vet. It’s important not to use any other products (such as creams or shampoos) on the skin folds unless you’ve been advised to by your vet—in many cases these can make any irritation or itching worse," the vet warned.
PDSA vet Anna was also incredibly helpful and provided Bored Panda with some awesome tips on how to keep our doggos' skin and fur healthy. She said that, generally, we need to brush our dogs to keep their skin and their coats in good condition.
"If they are dirty or muddy, it’s best to just use water to wash them. There are plenty of pet shampoos on the market and these are suitable for most pets, but using them too regularly can lead to dry skin or skin irritation, especially if your pet’s skin is sensitive or they have a skin problem," she warned. "There are prescription, medicated shampoos available which can help some skin conditions, ask your vet for advice to find out what’s best for your pet." However, if in doubt, just use water!
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"Many owners worry about their pet’s skin, and sometimes it can be hard to know if your dog has a skin problem. All dogs will lick or scratch now and then and in many cases, it’s nothing to worry about—it’s just part of them grooming their coat. However, if your dog is itching all the time, is making their skin red, they’re losing lots of fur, they have a rash or bumpy skin or you think they may have a wound or infection, it’s best to contact your vet for advice," Anna said.
"There are many causes of skin conditions, from allergies and wounds to fleas, mites, and infections. Some dogs will have a skin problem just once in their lifetime, but for many, skin issues need life-long management or treatment. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to help keep your dog comfortable and happy, including medication, special diets, and supplements. The key thing is to get help for your dog early—most skin problems get worse over time and become more difficult to treat."
However, something that can really make dog owners panic is seeing a new or changing lump or mass on your dog. That's when you want to immediately get in touch with your vet. "They will be able to check the lump and discuss the next options for your pet. Although many owners worry that a new lump could be cancer, there are actually many different causes for lumps and many of these can be treated and won’t lead to more serious problems for your pet. However, it’s better to get any lumps or bumps checked sooner rather than later, especially if they have come up quickly, seem red or painful, or are causing issues for your dog."
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Depending on the dog and the owner, they might squish their pets’ cheeks, play with the skin flaps around their faces, or stretch the loose skin around their neck. That last bit, by the way, is known as the scruff, and it’s what mother canines pick their puppies up by.
It’s a myth that dogs can’t feel their scruff. They can, so if you do play around with it or grab it, you have to be gentle and firm. Know your own dog’s boundaries and don’t try anything funny with a random dog’s scruff—it might not thank you very much.
Aside from scruffs, different breeds and individual dogs can have loose skin. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, ranging from weight loss and Cutaneous Asthenia (a hereditary disorder that causes stretchy, saggy skin) to hunting dogs like basset hounds or bloodhounds having been bred to have more loose skin folds around their faces and necks (they trap the scent of their quarry so the hound doesn’t miss it by chance).
However, the loose skin folds and wrinkles capture not just the scent of the dog’s prey. They also collect dirt and can be the perfect breeding grounds for yeast and bacteria. That’s why you need to clean in between your dog’s folds once or twice a week to help keep their skin healthy. You can wash the folds or clean them with a soft cloth.
There’s a difference between us and dogs (it sounds obvious, we know, but give us a moment to explains): while mommy dogs know exactly how to pick their kids up by the scruff without hurting them, human beings don’t have the same natural instincts and we can accidentally end up causing the puppies pain. So if you do have to carry them, unless you’re incredibly experienced, don’t go for the scruff.
What’s more, when a pupperino grows up, it becomes far heavier, so grabbing and carrying them by the scruff then is a big no-no. You can’t place that much weight on their neck. So if your dogs’ legs get tired in the middle of your walk or if they want to get on the couch but can’t, you’ll have to pick them up properly, gently, and carry them to their destination. Dogs: 1; Owners: 0.
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When done carefully and properly, grabbing your dog by the scruff can be a part of training them. When you do so, you’re mimicking wild dogs and showing your pet that you’re the dominant one here.
But before you go grabbing loose skin folds willy-nilly, you ought to consult with a dog trainer or a vet. There’s only so much you learn from books, the internet; when it comes to your dog’s wellbeing, experienced guidance is necessary.
However, here are some basics, as presented by ‘DogIDs,’ about how you can train your dogs to follow commands and refrain from unwanted habits. It’s important that a pet know what exactly it is that they did wrong, so giving them a stern talking to should occur immediately after the fact, not later.
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Keeping in mind that you should do everything incredibly gently yet firmly, if your dog is being a big meanie, you can grab them by their scruff, shake it slightly, and say ‘no’ in a commanding voice while looking at your pet’s dreamy eyes that you could get lost in for days. That way, your dog should be able to associate the consequences with what they did wrong. Dawdle for too long and your canine could get confused about what exactly it was that’s considered to be bad behavior.
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While a lot of character features might be determined by your dog’s breed, they’re still individuals. So if your dog is jumpy, frightful, and against you touching its scruff (or smooshing its face to make it look even more like a cutie), stop doing it. Grabbing a dog by the scruff of its neck should only be a part of training if your dog is confident and only needs minor corrections to its behavior.
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Note: this post originally had 164 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.