How to Bath a Dog With Oily Skin

Choosing the right shampoo can help your oily dog feel better.

Choosing the right shampoo can help your oily dog feel better.

Dogs with oily skin require frequent bathing -- not only to remove excess oils, but to remove unpleasant odors resulting from the oiliness. While the bathing process is the same as for other pooches, the key to eliminating oil and odor is the right shampoo.

Use a brush to remove loose hair and tangles from your dog's coat before you begin bathing him. If he has any mats, wait until he's washed to remove them. Wet hair and conditioner make it easier to comb out a mat.

Fill the bath or a tub with lukewarm water, or use the outdoor hose on a sunny day with warmer temperatures. Lead or lift your pet into the water or hose area. Wet your pooch down so that his coat is thoroughly saturated with water. Make sure to get his underside and legs, as well.

Lather up your dog with a canine shampoo that contains citrus oil, such as orange peel. These natural oils cut through body oils which create odor, but do not dry out the skin. Start at his head and move down his back, and then his sides, rubbing circles in his fur with your hands while scrubbing gently with your fingers. Scrub his chest and underside, his legs and tail. Clean any facial wrinkles, his ear flaps, and also under his neck. Allow the shampoo to sit on his fur for up to five minutes to remove odor and penetrate the skin oils.

Rinse his coat thoroughly with lukewarm water, starting at his head and moving down his back. Use your hand to smooth out soapsuds and lift the fur, allowing the water to run underneath it for soap removal. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Repeat the lathering process with the citrus shampoo if your dog's fur still feels oily or is giving off a smell. Allow it to sit on the fur again for five minutes before rinsing it thoroughly.

Dry your dog thoroughly with a big, fluffy towel that absorbs the excess moisture from his fur. Gently press the towel down around him to remove as much water as possible. If he will tolerate it, use a blow dryer to dry him quickly, especially during the winter months.

Items you will need

  • Dog brush
  • Citrus oil dog shampoo


  • If your dog has a mat, apply a rinse-out or spray-on conditioner only to the matted hair to avoid exacerbating your dog's oily skin condition.
  • Apply lavender oil spritzer on your dog's coat to fight odor and even calm him.
  • Oily dogs typically need a bath every three to four weeks to remove odor; however, your dog may need more frequent baths if he gets dirty while playing outside.


  • Avoid using a moisturizing shampoo; this will just exacerbate the oiliness of your dog's skin.
  • If your dog's skin seems excessively oily, or the odor is worse than it should be from a dirty dog, contact your veterinarian; your dog could have an underlying health condition that needs to be treated.

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About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

Photo Credits

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