How to Safely Wash a Dog’s Head, Face and Ears

Are you having trouble washing your dog’s face? This article can help you learn how to wash your dog’s face without causing them discomfort or anxiety.

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How To Safely Wash A Dog’s Face And Ears

A lot of dogs experience anxiety when it’s bathtime. Even dogs who are supposed to love the water can be apprehensive about getting inside of a tub.

To help you keep your dog relaxed and perhaps even enjoy bathtime you should watch this video below and follow these steps.

1. Get the Equipment Together

Before you even begin to wash your dog, you should make sure that you have all of the equipment that you need together. The last thing you want is to have to scramble around looking for your stuff with your dog in the tub.

The equipment you’ll need is cotton balls, some form of a low-pressure sprayer, tearless shampoo, and a cloth. The cotton balls you can gently place inside of your dog’s ears to prevent water from getting inside of them.

You’ll also need to check the temperature of your water. Dogs are heat-sensitive, so you’ll want to make sure that the water is lukewarm at most.

2. Gently Spray or Rub Water on Top of Head

The next step is to either gently spray or use the cloth to scrub into the dog’s head. Because sprayers can sometimes scare dogs, the best tool to use is a simple cloth.

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You’ll want to make sure that you avoid the nose and eyes. You can also clean the outside of the ears with a cloth.

Once the dog is wet down to the skin, you can move on to the next step.

3. Use a Wet Cloth or Moist Cotton Balls To Clean Around the Eyes

Never wipe the eye itself. Use a moistened cloth to clean the gunk that builds upcoming from the tear ducts. Wet cotton balls also work for this area. Go slow. Don’t use shampoo or soap yet as these can irritate the eyes.

4. Remove Tear Stains

If a wet cloth doesn’t get all the gunk you can use commercial products like the one below to help.

Cliny Universal Pet Eye Cleaner for Dogs & Cats - Natural Gentle Eye Infection Treatment - Tear Stain & Dirt Crust and Discharge Remover - Prevents and Controls Irritation

5. Shampoo

Using a tearless shampoo, you’ll want to spray it over their body and head. You should make sure that the shampoo is placed at the top of their head and snout.

You’ll also want to scrub into the dog’s skin with the grain. Going against the grain will make its’ hair stand up on end.

6. Rinse

Just like you did when wetting the dog initially, you’ll also need to rinse them similarly. Use the sprayer or cloth at the top of the dog’s head and work your way down to rinse the shampoo from its body.

You’ll want to double-rinse because leaving the shampoo on the body can make their skin dry out and become irritated.

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7. Dry

Gently pat down your dog with a dry towel. Give them some space to shake off moisture as they’ll likely do it whether you want them to or not.

Do this in the bathroom with the door closed as most dogs tend to run around after a bath and will skip the drying stage.

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8. Other Methods

If the full body in a bath method doesn’t work try these other options:

  • Wet Cloth Only – Start with a wet cloth and wipe down your dog. Then use add a small amount of shampoo to the cloth and wipe your dog’s face. Rinse out the cloth and wipe down again to remove the shampoo. Dry.
  • Pour Method – Use a bottle of water for wetting and rinsing instead of a showerhead. It’s good to do this outside or in a bathtub. Try outside if your dog fears the bath.

How to Clean Dog Eye Crust

Dogs can sometimes accumulate gunk in their eyes. Sometimes this can be indicative of a medical problem.

To clean, you’ll need a cloth. Paper towels can sometimes leave small bits of paper behind which can irritate your dog’s eyes.

With the cloth, you should wet it just enough so it’s damp. Squeeze it out a few times to remove excess water.

Then simply and gently rub against the gunk to clean it out. You may need to rinse the cloth out a few times to remove all of the gunk.

How to Clean Dog Eyes Tear Stains

Similar to gunk, your dog might have tear stains that run down the sides of its eyes.

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Just like cleaning out the gunk, you’re going to use the same kind of method. Use a dampened cloth with lukewarm water.

After a few swipes, the tear stains should be removed.

How to Bathe a Dog at Home

Because some dogs are nervous when it comes to bathtime, you’ll want to make the experience as relaxing as possible. You should fill the tub before you call for your dog because the sound of thundering running water can be nerve-wracking for them.

Once the tub is filled with lukewarm water, try to get them to jump into the tub voluntarily if you can.

Once they’re in, you’ll want to use a cloth, primarily, to start soaking them. Begin with their chest as rubbing it is a good way to calm them.

Slowly work your way along their body until they’re soaked to the skin. Then you should apply a tearless shampoo to their face to wash it according to the steps given earlier.

Then use a vet-recommended shampoo for your dog’s breed and skin type for the rest of the body. You’ll want to scrub it in with your hands to the skin.

After they have been soaked thoroughly, you can use the cloth again to rinse them. Go with the grain to prevent their hair from standing up on end.

Rinse twice to ensure that the shampoo is completely gone from their skin.

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Throughout the bathtime, you should keep your voice calm and continue to praise the dog.

What Not To Do While Washing Your Dogs Face

One of the biggest things you should avoid when washing your dog’s face is to squirt the shampoo into their eyes. Even tearless shampoos can irritate them.

You should also avoid getting water into their eyes and their nose.

Tips To Use A Wet Cloth

Since cloth is the best way to wash your dog calmly, you’ll want to make sure you’re using it correctly. The cloth should be gentle against them and not too abrasive.

You’ll also want to make sure it’s damp but not dripping water when using it to clean their faces.

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Tips To Use The Point And Pour Method

To keep water from getting into their eyes and nose, you could use the point and pour method. By directing the dog’s head through pointing, you can carefully pour water over their head.

This helps keep the water from getting into their eyes and nose. Using a treat can keep their focus longer on where you’re pointing.

How To Wash A Wrinkled Dog Face

For those who have wrinkled dogs, it can be hard to get into all of those crevices. The best method is to take your time and carefully pull the wrinkles apart.

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With the skin slightly more stretched, you can reach inside of the pockets with the cloth. Make sure you rinse those areas out well.

How To Dry Off Your Dog

The best way to dry off your dog is with a simple towel. You can rub it into their bodies and squeeze out the excess water.

You can also allow them to shake it off naturally.

Should You Blow Dry Your Dog?

The sound of a blowdryer can sometimes terrify dogs. As such, this method doesn’t work for everyone.

However, if your dog doesn’t mind the sound, you could use it to dry them. Simply make sure that the temperature is low.

You’ll also want to keep it at a distance from your dog’s skin to prevent burning.

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Can I Use Baby Shampoo On My Dog’s Face?

Baby shampoo is designed for those with sensitive skin. Because of this, it can be a great shampoo for dogs as well.

However, it may prove to be too potent for their faces. Check with your vet to see if the shampoo is good for your dog.

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The Top 5 Safe And Easy Dog Face Wash Products

1. Top Pick

AllPetNaturals South Bark’s: Blueberry Facial

South Bark's Blueberry Facial® Pet Shampoo 12 oz. | Brightener & Tear Stain Remover | Long-Lasting Odor Eliminator | Cruelty-Free | Paraben-Free | Made in The USA
  • SPREAD THE LOVE: Humans get why not your dog? This is the easy way to turn any bath into a spa. It's not just for facials; use it as an overall body shampoo to clean and brighten any coat color—aromatherapeutic and pH-balanced.
  • INGREDIENTS: Purified Water, Polyquaternium 10, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamide MIPA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Vera, dL Panthenol, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Fragrance, Vitamin A Acetate, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry Extract), Allantoin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado Oil), Chamomilla Recutita (German Chamomile), Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, FD&C Blue #1.
  • FACE WASH DIRECTIONS: In an empty cup or bottle, dilute one ounce of facial into 4 ounces of water. Apply to the pet's face and head with a warm, damp cloth, including the outside of the ears. Massage while paying attention to heavily stained areas. Rinse face with warm water. Keep out of pets' eyes.
  • OVERALL BODY SHAMPOO: Generously wet animal with warm water. Massage facial into the coat, let sit for at least 3 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. It can be diluted up to 16:1.
  • FOR USE ON: Dogs, Cats, Puppies & Kittens. Paraben Free - Biodegradable - Non-Toxic - Cruelty-Free

2. Runner Up

TropiClean Waterless Shampoo

TropiClean Warm Vanilla Waterless Facial Cleanser for Dogs | Dog Foam Face Wash | Dog Face Wash Derived from Natural Ingredients | Cat Friendly | Made in the USA | 7.4 oz.
  • NO-RINSE FORMULA – For a quick & easy clean during those in-between days, rely on the coconut & vanilla scented face wash for dogs & cats.
  • FRESH & CLEAN – A tearless dog foam face cleanser with a gentle, no-rinse formula that will leave their coat moisturized and clean.
  • FEEL-GOOD INGREDIENTS – Our hydrating cat & dog facial shampoo is derived from natural ingredients such as cucumber, vanilla & coconut for a silky soft coat.
  • PET PARENT APPROVED – No-rinse dog face cleanser is paraben, dye, soap and cruelty free and suitable for use on dogs and cats 12 weeks or older.
  • TROPICLEAN – For a tropical experience, pair this with our waterless dog shampoo and deep cleansing wipes.

3. Best for Bull Dogs

MEET THE BULLDOG Sensitive Face Wash

MEET THE BULL DOG Sensitive Face Wash, 5 Fluid Ounce
  • How can you face your problem if your problem is your face? This isn't the whole answer, but it's a start. Gentle and non-drying, it leaves your skin feeling refreshed and free of dirt and debris.
  • Natural Cruelty Free Vegan For Men
  • Never contain parabens sodium laureth sulfate artificial colors synthetic fragrances or ingredients from animal sources

4. Best to Remove Eye Stains

TropiClean SPA

TropiClean SPA Shampoo Tear Stain Remover for Dogs | Oatmeal & Blueberry Scented Facial Cleanser for Dogs | Ideal for White Dogs & All Other Coats | Cat Friendly | Made in the USA | 8 Oz
  • TEAR STAIN REMOVER - With regular use of our tearless dog shampoo facial treatment you'll see tear stains fade and white fur brightened.
  • SWEET BLUEBERRY & VANILLA - SPA's blueberry face wash for dogs is a luxurious soap free formula with a rich vanilla scent that will leave your pet pampered and smelling irresistible.
  • FOR ALL BREEDS - Perfect tear stain remover for white dogs with long hair, but can also be used on pets with any fur color and coat type.
  • LAVISH INGREDIENTS - Carefully blended with oatmeal and vitamin E to ensure that each use of our dog facial wash cleans and provides rich moisture to the coat.
  • LOVED BY PROFESSIONALS - A groomers favorite, SPA by TropiClean offers a range of high-quality grooming shampoos and uniquely scented dog colognes for a luxe experience.

5. Best for Sensitive Eyes

Bo Derek Pet Care Tearless Face Wash

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Bo Derek Pet Care Tearless Face Wash - Deep Clean Tear Stains, Slobber and Dog Food Without Fear of Stinging Their Sweet Eyes.  Extra Gentle for Puppies - Must Be Rinsed
  • I created this tearless formula because other dog shampoos suggest cleaning your dog’s face with a sponge dampened with clear water….not nearly good enough for my guys. With our Face Wash you can clean all the slobber and dog food and tear stains without the worry of hurting their eyes. After all that face is where we spend the most time.
  • CRUELTY FREE - OF COURSE! This Tearless Face Wash is extremely gentle, perfectly PH Balanced and contains exotic botanicals and amino acids to nourish, soothe and protect the coat and give it a show-quality sheen
  • OUR PATAENTED* SIGNATURE FRAGRANCE is specially formulated to neutralize canine malodors — not simply mask them. It imparts a clean, healthy fragrance to the hair shaft that resonates weeks after use.  Its brilliant!
  • ALL OUR PRODUCTS are manufactured in California in a solar-powered, clean-water facility. Each product is loaded with ECO-FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS like Meadowfoam Seed Oil This cover crop enriches top soil and is an alternative to sperm whale oil to protect the species. A win - win for all of us because this wonderful oil is good for the planet and gives incredible shine and health to your dog’s coat
  • We donate a portion of the profits to organizations dedicated to serving retired MILITARY WORKING DOGS