How to Clean a Dog (and Have the Freshest Pup in Town)

By Max Turner 8 Min Read

How to Clean a Dog (and Have the Freshest Pup in Town)

The winter months are coming to a close and spring is in the air. That means it’s time to start prepping your pup for the warmer months and fresh air of spring. A great place to start is treating your pup to a good bath. Even with all the mud, rolling around in the grass and sand, and digging, you can keep your pup looking (and smelling) their best with some professional-level cleaning.

This guide will explain some best practices for giving your pup a summer-ready clean and how to keep them clean in between baths. From brushing to hot-spots, we’ll get your pup looking their absolute best.

Things You’ll need

– Dog shampoo or a dry shampoo
– Conditioner
– Dog toothbrush and toothpaste
– Towel or washcloth
– Cotton swab or cotton ball
– Safety shears or scissors
– Comb

Steps to Clean a Dog

Step 1: Brush Your Dog

Before you even start with the bath, make sure your pup’s coat is free of mats and tangles. Brush your pup to ensure any dirt, debris, and mats are removed. This can make your pup feel much more comfortable during the bath, as well as ensure that your pup’s coat looks great before and after.

Step 2: Clean the Ears

The next step is to clean the ears. Create a solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water. Soak a cotton ball or use a cotton swab, then gently wipe down any dirt or debris in the ears. Make sure to avoid going too deep into the ear canal and never use Q-tips.

Step 3: Clean the Teeth

Dental hygiene for dogs plays a key role in your pup’s overall health. Improper dental health can cause bad breath, infections, and in some cases, oral tumors. Keeping your pup’s teeth clean can save you money and keep them smiling in the long run.

When it comes to cleaning your pup’s teeth, you’ll need to:

  • Use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs
  • Pet store-specific dog toothpaste
  • Avoid human toothpaste, baking soda, and salt

Once you have the right equipment, you’re ready to start cleaning your pup’s teeth. Be sure to brush in circular patterns around the gum line and avoid apply too much pressure.

Step 4: Bathe Your Dog

Now comes the part everyone’s been waiting for- the bath. Depending on the size of your pup, you can either give the bath in a tub or shower. If you’re using the sink or the shower, you can use a large, waterproof mat for added protection that can help reduce the mess.

Once you have everything in place, wet your pup with warm water and start applying the shampoo. Use your hands or a washcloth to work the shampoo into the skin and fur. Make sure to scrub your pup thoroughly. Make sure to avoid the eyes, ears, and nose when applying shampoo.

Once you’ve worked out the shampoo, rinse your pup with lukewarm water. Be sure to rinse out all of the shampoo and debris in the coat and empty the tub after. If you’re using a sink, you can use towels to blot up any excess water.

Step 5: Hair Cutting

Once your pup is clean, you can start cutting their hair. This isn’t necessary for all breeds, but some breeds may require a haircut to keep their coats looking great. If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always take your pup to a professional groomer.

When cutting the hair, make sure to use safety shears that are specifically designed for pets. Start cutting the hair at the tips and only make small cuts to avoid cutting too much off. You can always go smaller with the scissors but can’t make the hair any longer.

Step 6: Conditioner and Combing

Once the hair is cut and your pup is rinsed off, you can apply a dog-specific conditioner. This helps make the coat softer and can make it easier to brush. Apply the conditioner and work it through the coat using your fingers or a comb. Make sure not to apply too much and rinse off any excess conditioner.

Once the conditioner is applied, use a comb to brush out any knots or tangles. Start from the tip of the hair and work your way to the base. Go slowly and only brush a small area at a time until the coat is completely detangled.

Step 7: Drying

Once all steps are done, it’s time for drying. If it’s cold outside or inside, you can put a jacket or sweater on your pup to keep them warm. Otherwise, use a towel or washcloth to soak up any excess moisture.

How to Keep Your Dog Clean Between Baths

Just because your pup is clean doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your pup looking great between baths.

  • Brush Regularly: Brushing your pup regularly can help remove dirt, debris, and mats. This can also help keep their coat looking great and smelling nice between baths.
  • Trim Hair Around the Feet and Ears: Trimming any excess hair or fur around the feet and ears can help keep your pup looking neat and can help reduce dirt and mud buildup.
  • Clean the Ears Regularly: Make sure to use a cleaning solution and cotton ball to clean your pup’s ears regularly. This helps keep your pup’s ears healthy and clean.
  • Spot Clean Your Pup: Spot cleaning your pup after they’ve been playing in the mud can help keep them clean. Just use a damp cloth to spot clean any areas that may be extra dirty.
  • Watch for Hot-Spots: Hot-spots are red, irritated areas on your pup’s skin that are itchy and can become infected quickly. Watch for any signs of hot-spots and be sure to use a medicated shampoo if needed.

Now that you know the best practices for keeping your pup clean and smelling great, your pup is ready for the warmer months ahead. With regular brushing, bathing, and spot cleaning, your pup can stay looking and feeling their best all summer.

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Max Turner is a passionate American dog lover and writer, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and experiences through his blog, With a lifelong fascination for dogs and a strong bond with his own furry friends, Max offers valuable insights and practical tips to dog owners and enthusiasts worldwide. His blog covers a wide range of topics, including training techniques, health and wellness, breed profiles, responsible ownership, and fun activities. Max's engaging writing style, combined with his expertise and genuine love for dogs, make an invaluable resource for anyone looking to enhance their relationship with their canine companions. Max Turner's blog,, is a go-to destination for dog enthusiasts seeking expert advice and valuable insights. Max's deep-rooted passion for dogs, coupled with his extensive knowledge of dog behavior, training, health care, and breeds, enables him to provide practical tips and guidance. From training techniques and health tips to breed spotlights and responsible ownership, Max covers it all. With engaging content and a commitment to promoting a fulfilling and joyous life with dogs, is a trusted resource for dog owners looking to strengthen their bond with their furry friends.
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