Dogs can get dirty pretty quickly. Even a quick walk around the street in winter can be enough to attract all kinds of muck and grime. That’s why it’s so important to know the basics of cleaning your pup after a slightly messy walk.
Although a full bath after each walk probably won’t be a must-have for most dogs, regular touch-ups and mini cleaning sessions can keep your dog feeling and looking it’s best. As an extra bonus, you get to rest assured your home will look and smell as clean as possible – with no unwanted dog stains. Here’s what you need to know.
Do You Need to Wash Your Dog After Every Walk?
During some months of the year when it’s constantly raining during your walks, you might assume you need to pop your pup in the bath at the end of each adventure. This is particularly true when your pooch seems to be drawn to every puddle he or she sees.
However, washing your dog fully after every walk can do more harm than good. Like us, dogs produce oils from their skin which help to keep them healthy and comfortable. When you wash your dog too often, you risk washing away those oils, and leaving your pup with dry, flaky, and uncomfortable skin. This is why it’s usually a good idea to avoid letting your dog jump into every mud puddle they see.
If your dog is absolutely covered in mud, and there’s nothing you can do but give him a bath, remember you don’t have to use shampoo every time. You can always just rinse your dog and use a soft towel to wrap him up post-bath. Remember to give your dog’s fur a quick brush to protect against any matts and knots too.
Quick Tips for Cleaning Your Dog Post-Walk
The biggest challenge of cleaning a dog after a walk is figuring out how to get him home and in the house, without leaving stains and dirt everywhere.
Preparation is the key to making sure your dog stays clean and fresh after each walk. Start by making sure you have the right equipment with you for the task. This means carrying a towel or dog drying bag with you if you’re taking the car (or have a bag where you can store must-haves). A source of fresh water is often helpful if you think a full rinse will be necessary before you get home too.
You can consider adding a crate to your car too, where your dog can relax when they’re drying off – without damaging your car’s upholstery.
Once you get your dog back to the car, or you’re at home and you don’t want to let them straight into the house just yet, give them a quick brush to get rid of any seeds or twigs that might be tangled up in their fur. Be gentle when brushing because you don’t want to pull your dog’s lovely fur out. Next:
- Use your fresh source of water to rinse your dog’s fur. Ideally, you won’t want icy cold water – particularly in winter, as this will be uncomfortable for your dog. Warm water is best if you can get hold of it. If you’re washing your dog over outside of the house before you bring him in doors, you can use a hose, but on a gentle setting. Again, try to avoid icy cold water where possible, and make sure you keep the water out of the dog’s eyes.
- Wrap them up in a nice towel: Wrapping your dog up straight after the rinse will help to keep them warm and cosy when you’re driving home or taking them inside to dry off. A good towel is absolutely essential to preventing “wet dog smell”. A microfibre option will be ideal for soaking up dirt and smells, so you can enjoy cuddles with your pooch as soon as possible. One of the best ways to save yourself time and effort is to simply wrap your dog in a dog drying bag, and let them chill until they’re dry.
- Check your dog over: Once you’ve gave your pup a rinse and they’re mostly dry, you can give them a check to see whether additional cleaning is necessary. You can use a brush or comb again here to find any hidden sources of dirt. It’s also worth checking your dogs’ paws and ears are thoroughly cleaned to avoid any infection or illness. If your dog is in pretty good condition, you can remove the drying bag or towel and leave them to dry off themselves. Just make sure the house is warm enough.
If a bath is necessary to remove remaining dirt from your dog, try and avoid taking the same walking route the next day if you think your pooch is going to end up getting messy again. You don’t want to keep putting your pooch in the bath every time you go exploring, or you’ll end up with problems like dry skin and general discomfort.
Keeping Your Pooch Squeaky Clean
Dogs definitely have a talent for getting dirty – particularly on walks when the weather isn’t as great as it could be. Fortunately, being well-prepared should mean you can prevent your dog from experiencing any discomfort on their next walk and avoid that horrible wet dog smell in your car or home. We’d definitely recommend keeping some microfibre towels and sources of water in your car when you’re going on longer walks, or if you’re exploring naturally messy places, like the beach.
Remember, you don’t need to fully bathe your dog every day, as most dogs are fairly good at cleaning themselves. However, you should help your pooch by getting rid of as much dirt as possible whenever you can. Remember to keep an eye out for any signs of over-grooming on your pooch too, as this could be a sign something is irritating his skin.
Good luck keeping your pooch clean on your next walk!