How To Wash A Dog’s Face

Dogs can get covered in all manner of yucky things. Unfortunately, these can also find their way onto your dog’s face, particularly if they have been sniffing or rubbing their faces in suspicious substances.

While your dog will quite happily leave this gunk to stink out their face, you will need to clean your pooch’s face to keep them safe from bacteria. It can also prevent smells from emanating from your dog’s fur!

But a dog’s face is also one of the more sensitive parts of their body. So how can you wash their face properly without causing them harm or distress?

Today, we’re going to give you a few tips to show you how to properly wash your dog’s face.

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How To Properly Wash A Dog’s Face

How To Properly Wash A Dog’s Face

Of course, the best time to wash your dog’s face is during bath time. However, you can also wash their face at other times if they’ve got gunk on their face that needs to be cleaned off. Some dog breeds may even suffer from tear stains, where excess tears have stained your pooch’s fur.

Choose The Right Materials

It’s important to avoid things like tissues or paper towels, as these can start to fall apart once they get wet. Instead, you should use a soft sponge or cloth to clean your dog’s face.

You can also use pre moistened wipes if you find these easier to use. However, you should make sure that these don’t have any ingredients that will irritate your dog’s skin such as bleach. If you are choosing pre moistened wipes, make sure to choose a dog friendly product such as these Earth Rated dog wipes.

Remove Loose Dirt And Tangles

If your pooch has longer fur, then you will need to gently untangle this using your hands first before you get your sponge near their face. You can also use your hands to get rid of any loose dirt that your dog has accumulated.

Dampen Your Cloth Or Sponge

If opting for a soft sponge or cloth, then you will need to lightly moisten this before you get started on your dog’s face. Make sure to use water that is at room temperature so that it won’t be too cold or too hot for your pup.

Place your sponge or cloth into a bowl of room temperature water, then ring this out so that the sponge or cloth is still wet but not completely saturated with water.

Gentle Does It

The key to cleaning your dog’s face properly is to use gentle pressure. If you are trying to dislodge bits of food that have become stuck to your dog’s face, make sure to only use as much pressure as is necessary to remove it. It will be much better to use several softer swipes than to be too forceful with your sponge or cloth.

You can always use additional water to encourage stubborn bits of food to move. Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears, as this can lead to further infections.

Avoid Shampoos

Because your dog’s face is a delicate area, particularly around their eyes, you should avoid using shampoos. For the vast majority of cases, water will be more than enough to tackle cleaning your dog’s face.

In the small minority where you need to use something a little stronger, you should always opt for a shampoo product that has been designed for dogs, such as this oatmeal shampoo from Burt’s Bees. Use a small dab of this on your dog’s face – away from their eyes – then use your moistened cloth or sponge to tackle the area.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes

This can be a tricky area to clean, as you cannot use shampoos for this. You should always use a cloth, sponge, or cotton wool ball that has been moistened with room temperature water. Make sure never to wipe the eye itself, and to always slowly approach the area so as to not startle your pet.

Make sure to very gently wipe around your dog’s eyes to dislodge any dirt that may have accumulated. Only ever use water to clean your dog’s eyes as shampoo can irritate them and even damage your dog’s eyesight in some extreme cases.

Are You Supposed To Wash A Dog’s Face?

When it comes to cleaning your dog, their face will also need attention, yes. However, you will need to use a slightly different method to the one you use to clean your dog’s body. This is to ensure that you don’t irritate your dog’s eyes or ears.

You can clean the rest of your dog as normal, ensuring that you only clean as far as their neck with the shower head. To clean your dog’s face, you can use the method that we have detailed above to get rid of any dirt, excess food, or stains.

It’s also worth noting that unless your dog’s face has accumulated lots and lots of dirt, you will only need to give your dog a bath once every 3 months or so. The same rule will apply to cleaning their face. If you were to clean your dog too often, this could interfere with the natural oils on their skin.

How Do You Wash A Dog’s Face With Shampoo?

The key thing to remember here is that you should avoid using shampoo on your dog’s face if possible. If there are more stubborn bits of food or dirt that are clinging to your dog’s face, you can always use more water to try and loosen these.

You can also use dog friendly pre moistened wipes to try and remove stubborn bits of dirt.

If you really must use dog friendly shampoo, then you should make sure to only use a small amount. Use a small dab on your dog’s face – keeping clear of their eyes – then gently use your damp cloth to remove the stubborn dirt.

In Summary

And there you have it! The golden rule when it comes to cleaning your dog’s face is to avoid using shampoo unless you absolutely can’t get them clean without it.

You should always use water that is at room temperature so that it won’t be too cold or too hot for your dog. Avoid using tissues or paper towels as these will disintegrate and just make the problem worse. Make sure to use a damp cloth, flannel, or sponge instead.

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.