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Some dogs loathe baths, making it challenging and time-consuming to get them clean. Bathing a dog too frequently can remove valuable oils from the skin and coat, causing dryness and irritation and reducing defenses against bacteria. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your furry friend fresh in-between baths.

How to Wash Your Dog Without Water

If you choose a store-bought product, buy a pet-friendly version that is nontoxic and pH-balanced specifically for dogs. Don’t use dry shampoo for dogs more than once a week — you want to eliminate excess oils on your dog’s coat, but not all oils. Also, dry shampoos can build up and remain there until you give your dog a bath with water. 

Here are some at-home methods to use to keep your dog smelling and looking good in-between baths.

Dry Shampoo

Waterless shampoos don’t require any rinsing, will detangle your dog’s fur, and treat your dog’s skin. You can buy dry shampoo as a foam, powder, or spray. Look for nontoxic ingredients that won’t upset your dog’s stomach when he licks himself.

Step 1

Brush your dog thoroughly to shake out any loose dirt.

Step 2

Dust or spritz the dry dog shampoo on your dog’s coat with the exception of his face. Rub the shampoo into and under the coat, so it reaches the skin. Let it sit for a few minutes and try to prevent your dog from licking it.

Step 3

Brush your dog’s fur to remove the dry shampoo, and then towel him off. It’s okay if your dog shakes his body during this process.

Step 4

After cleaning your dog’s body, it’s time to focus on the face. To use dry shampoo on the head, shield your dog’s eyes, place the dry shampoo on your hand, and rub it in small areas to avoid getting it in the dog’s eyes, mouth, or ears.

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Wet Wipes

Wet wipes for pets are an excellent way to clear away grime, especially after an outdoor adventure when your pup is caked in dirt. They’re also convenient for cleaning off muddy paws.

Step 1

Use only dog-friendly pet wipes, and carry some when you leave the house. Begin by wiping down your dog’s paws, gently exfoliating between paw pads and toes.

Step 2

Wet wipes are appropriate for your dog’s whole coat, so start at the neck and work your way down. Gently scrubbing against the natural direction of the coat will help tackle underlying dirt.

Step 3

Carefully wipe down your dog’s face with a fresh wipe. Avoid eyes, mouth, and ears.

Baking Soda

Since baking soda kills bacteria, this household cleanser is a natural choice to clean your dog. It’s harmless if small amounts are ingested, however it’s dangerous for dogs to eat it in large quantities. It’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian before using it, because some dogs can be allergic.

Step 1

Either use one cup of baking soda alone or combine it with one cup of cornstarch. Baking soda will deodorize your dog’s coat, while cornstarch will absorb oil and soften the coat.

Step 2

Brush your dog and sprinkle the baking soda on the coat from the neck to the tail. Massage it into your pup’s skin and let it rest for a few minutes. If your dog doesn’t like having the powder shaken onto her, try dousing a towel with the soda and then toweling it onto your dog.

Step 3

Comb or brush out your dog’s fur. Then rub her down with a clean towel.

Tips and Tricks

Keep your dog’s environment clean, including her bed, crate, and blankets, since they trap debris. Your pup will want to shake out her fur often during the waterless bath, so it’s a good idea to do it outside. As you work your magic on the fur, speak in a reassuring voice to keep your sidekick calm. When you’re finished grooming your canine companion, reward her with a treat.

Related article: How to Clean a Dog Bed
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