Being a pet parent has lots of fun, happy moments. However, caring for a pet is a lot like caring for a toddler. Like a toddler, dogs get dirty from time to time—sometimes more often than we’d like to admit! That’s when we as pet parents must assist them in staying clean and healthy.
Washing your dog’s face is a part of keeping your dog clean and healthy. Fido may not appreciate it at the time, but it is important to keep his face clean. Yes, you can and you should keep your dog’s face clean with both periodic and as-needed washing.
What situations increase the need for my dog’s face to get a good cleaning?
If your dog has long fur on her face, you may need to wash her face quite often, especially if she eats wet food regularly. You may also have an adventurous dog that likes to roll in the mud or find out-of-the-way puddles while outdoors. In this case, you’ll be cleaning not only Fido’s face but likely his whole body!
Some dogs, particularly those with naturally wrinkled faces such as Pugs and Bulldogs, will need regular face washing simply because of the way their face is made. These adorable breeds are prone to dead skin, moisture, and even food particles becoming trapped in the folds of skin on their faces. So, you may have to wash their faces daily, or at least wipe it down. We’ll discuss this as well as “spot” cleaning in order to keep the skin on their faces healthy.
What should I do if my dog gets anxious about my washing his face?
You can expect your dog to “fight” against getting her face washed! She’ll likely turn her head or otherwise try to shy away when she sees you pull out a washcloth or even a baby wipe to clean her face. However, it is pivotal to her health that you keep those sweet cheeks clean!
Some dogs do get anxious when getting their face washed. It’s just how they operate. It is best not to pour water over your dog’s head. In fact, you can begin when your dog is a puppy preparing him for regular face washing. Start by introducing him to a washcloth or sponge. Let him smell it. If possible, make face washing a bit of a game. He’ll be more inclined to allow you to wash his face without a struggle.
What are some things I need to consider when washing my dog’s face?
Personally, washing your dog’s face by pouring water over her head is not recommended. However, there are some instances where you’ll have to use water to rinse off stubborn spots that required the use of shampoo. When you do this, the first thing to consider is keeping water and soap out of your dog’s eyes and nose.
It is also important not to get water in your dog’s ears. If enough water gets in the ears and Fido can’t shake it out, then he could develop an ear infection. This is not only uncomfortable—and can be painful if you leave it untreated long enough—but it can damage his hearing if the infection gets severe. This goes to show that it’s important that you know how to clean dog ears too.
Most dogs do not like water running down their faces. This is why, if at all possible, you should hold off on washing her face with soap and water. The dog may begin to associate bathing with getting water in her face, possibly running into her eyes, her nose, and her ears. Even if you worked to socialize her to bathing, she may balk at bath time.
When you wash her face, you’ll want to use a clean bath cloth that has nothing but water on it. No matter how careful you are, if she wiggles her head, she may inadvertently get soap in her eyes. This could lead to a refusal to bathe over time.
You can also use a baby wipe for dogs with lots of wrinkles on facial skin. This includes bulldog breeds, the Shar-Pei, the Pug, and others. The baby wipe should not be soaked in the antiseptic cleaning solution in which it is packaged. Although this isn’t harmful to your dog, it can still cause her eyes to burn if the liquid gets in there.
If you use a plain bath cloth, then start by wiping the damp cloth around her eyes. Then, if you need to, you can dunk it in soapy water to wash the rest of her face. Remember to squeeze out excess water so that soapy water won’t run into her eyes.
It is important to clean the folds of her skin. We’ll talk about this in-depth momentarily.
Never rinse your dog with the same bathwater she is sitting in. You’ll run the risk of getting soapy water in her eyes, ears, or in her mouth. You’ll need to keep a bucket of clean water or a dishpan of rinse water nearby in order to prevent mixing soapy water with rinse water.
How often should I wash my dog’s face?
Ideally, you only want to wash your dog’s face during regular bath time. However, dogs are often quite curious, which means he could stick his nose in a multitude of unseemly things! This can include everything from the soil outdoors to garbage to your dinner plate (if you leave it within reach). Short-haired dogs may get their faces dirty fairly often, but long-haired dogs get their facial area dirty simply by drinking water and eating a regular meal.
You can still wash your dog’s face as a touch-up between regular baths, or you may have to wash his face daily. Remember, with dogs that have “wrinkled” faces, you may need to do this every day, even after every meal .
What should I use to wash my dog’s face?
You may use a plain bath cloth dampened in water or a baby wipe (this is recommended for dogs with wrinkled faces). Some pet parents, however, will use a sponge to clean their dog’s faces.
Always use room-temperature water to wash your dog’s face. Dogs can be very sensitive to very cold or very hot water. Again, this can cause your dog to balk at bathing if they become uncomfortable every time they get their face washed.
You want to make sure that you use only enough water in order to wash her face. In other words, just dampen the bath cloth enough to easily wipe any food or dirt from her face. Wring the bath cloth out well so that there is no excess water that could run into your dog’s eyes.
It is not a good idea to use paper towels or paper napkins to wash her face. Paper products tend to disintegrate, and tiny bits of paper products could become trapped in Fido’s facial folds. This could become a breeding ground for bacteria, and it could become painful for your dog.
If you do use baby wipes to clean your dog’s face, be sure that the liquid solution in which they sit doesn’t contain any chemicals that could be harmful to your dog. You can find pre-moistened wipes that are made for dogs’ use; this will ensure the product won’t harm your dog.
Be gentle when cleaning your dog’s face. You only want to apply as much pressure to your dog’s face as needed to clean her face.
What do I need to know about soaps and shampoos for my dog?
Not all dog shampoos and soaps are created equally. It is very important to choose a shampoo that does not have dangerous chemicals in it. Many dog shampoos claim to be all-natural, but this is not always true. Look at the ingredient list of your potential dog shampoo. If you see words that look like chemical names, skip that shampoo. Look for dyes such as yellow #5 and red; these are artificial color additives that can cause skin inflammation in your dog. Open the cap of the shampoo. If it smells very fragrant, you can almost be assured that the shampoo has added fragrances that can harm your dog. Also, most truly natural shampoos will be a dull yellow color that only has a slight scent. These are the safest for your dog.
You should never, ever use soaps and shampoos that are formulated for humans on your dog.
How do I clean the area around my dog’s eyes?
Certainly, you’ve notice globs of mucus around your dog’s eyes (some people refer to this as “eye matter.” This needs to be gently wiped away from the exterior of your dog’s eyes, and you can typically do this by using a slightly dampened bath cloth.
Never wipe your dog’s actual eyes. You will also want to do this as gently as possible so as not to cause anxiety in your dog. Never use soap around this area. If necessary, you can use a slightly moistened cotton ball to wipe the skin around his eyes.
My dog gets tear stains. How can I keep this clean?
Many breeds get dog tear stains. Poodles are prone to this condition as are bulldog breeds. These a dark blotches of spots that run down from the eye to the facial hair of your dog. If you have taken your dog to the vet and she has ruled out a possible infection that could be causing the tear stains, then you’ll need to keep the area clean on a routine basis. There are special products that can help to keep tear stains to a minimum. These are safe for use around your dog’s eyes, but be sure to follow the directions of the product when cleaning your dog’s eye area.
1. Are you supposed to wash a dog’s face?
Yes, you are supposed to wash a dog’s face, and in many cases, you may need to do so on a daily or regular basis. Some dogs have folds of skin (wrinkles) on their faces that require regular cleaning; failure to keep these folds clean could result in skin irritation and infections that can make your pet miserable.
It is important to remember that most dogs do not like water poured over their faces, so try to avoid it when possible. It is better to use a bath cloth that has been slightly moistened with plain water. (One should never use bath water to rinse a dog’s face; soapy water can get in your dog’s eyes and cause irritation, among other issues.) It is also important to remember that when pouring water over your dog’s head, it is possible to get water in your dog’s ears. Failure to remove the water can cause your dog to develop a nasty ear infection.
2. How do you shampoo a dog’s face?
It is best NOT to shampoo a dog’s face. It is best to use a gently moistened bath cloth to get your dog’s face clean. However, there are some instances where you may need to use some dog shampoo to get a particularly stubborn area of dirt off your dog’s face. Try to keep shampoo below your dog’s eye level (for instance, you’d only want to shampoo long hair around the mouth that is dirty rather than the entire dog’s face).
3. How do you wash a dog’s skin?
There are several safe ways to wash a dog’s skin. Use a safe shampoo that is free of chemicals and dangerous additives such as added fragrance and color. Gently scrub the skin with your fingers just as you would wash your own hair. Use plain water to rinse the body; never pour bath water over your dog’s face and head.
4. Can I wash my dog’s face with baby shampoo?
It is not recommended for pet parents to use any human product on a dog. Use a dog-specific soap that is safe for your dog when washing her face. However, it is best to use just plain water on your dog’s face unless there is a particularly stubborn spot of dirt. If necessary, you can use premoistened wipes that are specifically made for a dog.