How to Wash a Dog’s Face and What Products to Use – The Ultimate Guide

Did you know that you can wash your dog’s face? In fact, I encourage it! We may not need a skin care regimen as extensive as the ones you humans use, but it’s still a good idea to take care of our facial hair and the skin beneath it. My name is Chloe! I’m a bearded collie, so I know a thing or two about a good face scrubbing!

Whether you’re washing our face while giving us a relaxing bath, or we get a little wild during dinner time and have food in our beard, it’s important to keep our face clean and tidy at all times to keep up our appearance and prevent any health issues.

Today, I will explain to you how to wash a dog’s face so that your pup can stay clean and have a glowing complexion.

Why Wash a Dog’s Face

Us dogs are messy, and we can really use a good scrub from time to time. This is especially true for our face, which we seem to bury in everything. Dogs with long fur in particular need their mouths washed more often, as it is very easy for unwanted bacteria to stay behind for long periods of time. Bacteria near our face is really bad for us, as it can grow in skin folds, causing irritation and potential infection in a dog’s coat, a dog’s face, and even a dog’s eye.

How to Wash a Dog’s Face

How to Wash a Dog’s Face

Washing a dog’s face isn’t always an easy task. As a pet owner, you need to understand that us dogs – from a shih tzu to any other type of canine – hate having anything come near our faces, as it can stress us out and give us anxiety.

However, I do understand that washing our faces is necessary for our health. So, I will teach you two different methods for washing a dog’s face that will help you get the job done swiftly and without freaking out your pup too much.

Products to Use to Wash a Dog’s Face

It takes more than water to clean a dog’s face! Before you attempt to wash your dog’s face, you want to make sure that you’re equipped with the proper products.

Here are some products you might want to have on hand to clean your puppy’s face.


If you’re going to wash your dog’s face, you can’t forget the shampoo! Yes, sometimes you can wash our face with just water, but a shampoo will ensure that you remove all of the stubborn bacteria in our face that water isn’t strong enough to kill.

Use a shampoo that is gentle on your dog’s skin, or better yet, a shampoo that is meant to be used on his face. I love this 3-in-1 Blueberry Facial shampoo. It’s made with essential oils and the smell is very therapeutic, at least until I have water poured over my face again!


I don’t know what it is, but when us dogs get wet, we often get this uncontrollable urge to shake! You can’t always stop it, but be sure to have a towel nearby to give yourself the best fighting chance.

Slicker Brush

Sometimes, to really get our face clean, you have to brush our hair before you apply shampoo. This is especially true for dogs with facial hair, as it removes any lingering dirt or food that might be missed by simply shampooing.

I love when my owner uses this slicker brush on my beard! It gets rid of all of the mats but doesn’t hurt me. It’s actually quite satisfying being brushed with it!

Pet Wipes

Sometimes a whole face washing session isn’t necessary, or sometimes you just don’t have the time to go through the whole process of washing your dog’s face. In times like these, pet wipes can do the trick and get your dog’s face clean in just a few wipes.

If you use pet wipes, make sure the ingredients don’t irritate your dog’s skin. Choose pet wipes with natural ingredients, and make sure they are safe to use on our face.

Method 1: Use a Washcloth

This method requires the most direct contact with your dog’s face. You will need:

  • A slicker brush
  • Dog shampoo
  • A washcloth

Step 1 – Fill a small bowl with warm water and dog shampoo.

Step 2 – Brush your dog’s facial hair. This is your time to work out any knots in his fur, especially around the mouth. This step may take more time if your dog has long hair, as it may be more tangled. This is a very sensitive area for your dog, so be careful.

Step 3 – Take your washcloth and wet it with water, no shampoo. Then start by wiping your dog’s eyes. This will keep both soap and any other bacteria away from your dog’s eyes.

Step 4: Place a cotton ball in each of your dog’s ears to keep the water from getting in.

Step 5: Wet your washcloth with the warm soapy water and wring out the excess water. Then use the washcloth to wet your dog’s face. Wipe his face and be sure to clean in between any skin folds. You should rub his face with enough pressure to get clean, but still remain gentle. Rinse the cloth and dip again in the soapy water as you go.

Step 6: Go for your dog’s mouth. If he has facial hair, he might have some dried-up food hiding in his beard, so make sure to really get in there and wipe it down well.

Step 7: Rinse the washcloth with clean water, and wipe down your dog’s face again, making sure to rinse off all of the soap and suds. Use a towel to dry his face immediately.

Method 2: Point and Pour

This method requires you to pour water over your dog’s head. Some dogs are OK with this, and others aren’t. Either way, this method might get messy, so prepare to get wet!

For this method, you will only need:

  • A washcloth
  • Dog shampoo
  • A cup

Step 1 – Point your dog’s nose downward.

Step 2 – Using a cup, pour water on your dog’s face from the top of his head, letting it drip down onto his nose.

Step 3 – Apply a little bit of shampoo on your fingers and start rubbing it onto the top of your dog’s head. Make your way down to his cheeks and continue rubbing. Stay conscious of his eyes and be careful not to get any shampoo in them.

Step 4 – While keeping your dog’s nose pointing down, pour water on his face to rinse off the shampoo. Cover his eyes while pouring to prevent shampoo from trickling into his eyes. Use a towel to dry his face.

Tips for Washing a Dog’s Face

Tips for Washing a Dog’s Face

Here are some extra tips for washing your furry friend’s face:

  • Stay aware of your dog’s eyes and ears as you wash. You don’t want to burn your puppy’s eyes! Just like you humans, us dogs hate getting water in our ears, and it could cause a yeast infection or discomfort.
  • Make sure you’re gentle while washing our face but be firm enough to make sure you’re removing all of the stubborn dirt. Use several strokes if you have to, especially if there’s one stubborn clump that won’t go away.
  • As mentioned, some dogs hate having running water go down their faces. If your dog isn’t having it, try using the first method with a washcloth to wash their face. Make sure you properly rinse the washcloth.
  • If using a cloth to wash your dog’s face, start with the eyes to avoid getting dirt and bacteria into them later.
  • Don’t forget the skin folds and the beard! These areas need special attention.
  • Avoid using paper towels or napkins, as these can disintegrate into our fur when wet.
  • You might notice that your dog has tear stains, which are dark blotchy areas that form on the hair under the eye. These stains are produced when the eye produces excessive tears, and they react with your dog’s hair. If regular cleaning with a washcloth doesn’t remove the stains, you must use a more advanced solution. If tear stains prove to be a consistent problem in your dog, bring them to the vet as soon as possible.

Washing Your Dog’s Face

I hope you learned everything you need to know about how to wash a dog’s face! Washing your dog’s face is an essential step to keeping up with his overall health. It’s sometimes easy to forget how messy our faces get, but if you don’t work toward keeping our skin and facial hair clean, bacteria might grow and end up harming us. We might hate the process, but boy, do we feel fresh after a good face wash!