If your dog has ever encountered a skunk, played in a mud puddle, or found some horrendously smelly dead animal on which to roll around, then you're probably familiar with the task of bathing your dog. While bathing your dog is pretty simple, giving your dog a face wash takes a little more finesse. When approaching the delicate areas of your dog's face, go slowly and be careful in order to have a successful experience.
Washing the face
When you give your dog a bath, your dog's face will require special attention. Don't just spray him in the face with water and definitely don't rub shampoo through his face. Instead, Pedigree advises that you moisten a soft washcloth or sponge with room-temperature water. Use just enough water to keep the cloth or sponge moist so you don't have excess running down your dog's face.
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Next, use just as much force as you need to remove dirt and debris from your dog's face. Wipe carefully around his eyes, since you'll focus on those more in a minute. Some dogs don't enjoy having their faces cleaned, so go slowly and use several soft strokes instead of one forceful stroke.
Cleaning dog eyes
If your dog needs to have her eyes cleaned, then you'll need to be very careful and gentle around this sensitive area. Dog Grooming Tutorial recommends that you use a lint-free cotton ball, a cotton pad, or a paper towel. If there is debris in your dog's eyes, you can flush them with eyewash before you clean them.
Wipe gently around your dog's eyes and always wipe away from the eye itself. Be careful, especially if your dog is unsure about having you near her eyes. Never use soap or shampoo near your dog's eyes, and only use water if you do need to moisten the wipe that you're using.
As you give your dog a face wash, you may notice tear stains or dark areas on the hair beneath your dog's eyes. Pedigree states that these stains are caused from the eye creating too many tears that then react with the bacteria contained in the hair. Tear stains can indicate that there is a medical issue present, so mention these to your veterinarian if you find them.
To clean the tear stains, try using a moist cotton pad or washcloth as described above. If this doesn't remove the stains, you can purchase solutions specially made for this that won't irritate or harm your dog's eyes.
If you're giving a wrinkly faced dog like a bulldog a face wash, then you'll need to do a little extra work. According to All Paws Pet Wash, breeds like the French bulldog, Shar-Pei, pug, and Neapolitan mastiff need some help to keep their wrinkles healthy. If dirt or moisture becomes trapped within their wrinkles and skin folds, it can result in skin irritation and infection.
The Natural Dog Company advises that you clean between your dog's wrinkles multiple times a day, not just when you're bathing your dog. Use a moist cloth to wipe away any dirt or debris and then use a soft, dry cloth to wipe up any moisture. Regular cleaning will help to prevent irritation and infection.
Your dog may not enjoy having you wash his face, but it's an essential part of dog care. You can teach your dog to tolerate face washing, but it's important to slowly introduce this new activity.
Start with brief face-washing sessions where you only lightly run a washcloth over or near your dog's face. Time these sessions for when your dog is relaxed and quiet, such as when he's ready to lie down for a nap after having come back from a walk. Gradually increase the duration of these sessions, and offer your dog some treats or praise as a reward when you're done.