How to Bathe a Dog's Face

Keep your dog healthy and happy with regular face washing.

Keep your dog healthy and happy with regular face washing.

Dogs with teary eyes need their faces washed frequently so tears don't stain the coat. Breeds with wrinkles on their faces, such as pugs, need to have those areas checked frequently to prevent skin infections from developing. You only need to wash other breeds' faces as needed.

Brush the dog's face before you begin. This is particularly important if your pet has long hair on his face, but even a short-haired breed will benefit from removing loose hairs and dirt before bathing.

Insert a cotton ball into each ear to prevent water from running into the ear canal. Place it gently in the front of the ear canal, do not push it back into the canal. You should still be cautious and prevent water from running into the ears.

Use a sponge or washcloth to wet your pet's face. Avoid getting water into the eyes, mouth or ears.

Dip your sponge or washcloth into a basin of warm water with a small amount of pet or baby shampoo added. Squeeze most of the liquid out of the cleaning cloth before washing the face.

Rub the face gently with the cloth or sponge, taking your time to get in any skin folds. Working slowly also makes your dog more comfortable with the process.

Clean the smaller areas of the face, such as around the eyes and the outer area of the ear.

Slide your fingers across your pet's face, in the direction the hair grows. This helps remove much of the excess soapy water.

Rinse your sponge or cloth out thoroughly, and use it to rinse the face. Rinse the cloth out frequently, so you aren't redistributing dirty, soapy water onto your dog's face.

Remove cotton balls from ears.

Pat your dog's face dry with a clean, fluffy towel. Do not use a blow dryer around his eyes and ears.

Items you will need

  • Brush
  • Cotton balls
  • Sponge or washcloth
  • Basin for mixing wash water
  • Gentle shampoo
  • Towel


  • Start the process of washing your pet's face when he is young so he becomes comfortable with it.


  • Do not spray your dog in the face with a water hose or shower attachment. In addition to potentially causing problems from getting water in the ear canals, you may create a dog who dislikes baths.

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