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How to Keep Your Dog Clean Between Baths

Dog taking a bubble bath after getting really dirty

For some dog parents, nothing is more challenging than trying to get your dog into the bath and then trying to get them to hold still long enough for you to bathe them. Going to a groomer can be expensive as well, but there are things you can do to keep your dog clean between giving them their baths.

If you’re wondering how to clean your dog between baths or if your dog struggles with bath time in general, this one is for you. We’ll give you 12 quick and easy things you can do to keep your dog clean and healthy all year round.

12 Tips to Keep Your Dog Clean Between Baths

1. Use Dry Shampoo

Most dogs develop a particular odor when they go too long without a bath, but you can use dry shampoo to keep them smelling fresh and to keep their coat and skin healthy. It is possible to buy dog-specific dry shampoos, but you can also make one relatively easily with things that you most likely have around your home.

All you have to do is mix three or four tablespoons of cornstarch with three or four tablespoons of baking soda and massage it into your dog’s coat. The baking soda will neutralize any odors that may be hanging around your dog, and the cornstarch can help soften their coat while stripping out excess oils to leave it soft and healthy.

2. Brush Your Dog

Dogs with curly or long coats require routine brushing to keep their coats healthy and free of tangles or mats. However, did you know that shorter coated dogs can also benefit from routine brushing, especially if they’re not fond of baths?

You want to make a point to brush your dog a few times a week or even once a day when you go for periods without giving them a bath. Not only will you rid your dog’s coat of any tangles or dead hair, but you also get rid of any stuck in debris that could cause the odor that clings to your dog, and you’re also helping to spread your dog’s natural oils to the tips of their coat.

3. Use Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are useful for both your kids and your dog, and you can get either dog-specific wet wipes or even baby wipes are generally safe to use. Between giving your dog a bath, take a few minutes and wipe down your dog’s feet, their paw pads, their rear, and you can even use them to give your dog’s entire body a quick refresh.

You do want to make sure that you keep the wet wipes away from your dog’s eyes because it could burn if it gets in them. Also, if your pet is excessively dirty, wet wipes may not be enough to clean everything up, but they can give you a quick and easy way to get some of the grime off.

4. Cover up Any Smells

If your dry shampoo mixture just isn’t strong enough to cut through the doggy odor, try covering it up with a fragrance. Dog perfumes and colognes are a thing, and they work just like perfumes or colognes do for humans.

If you’ve ever taken your dog to the groomer, you’ve most likely noticed that they smell great when they’re done, and this is because many groomers apply a light spritz of perfume or cologne to your dog. You never want to use a human-grade perfume or cologne on your pet, so make sure that you buy one that is specifically targeted and formulated for dogs.

5. Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

If your dog has bad breath, it can seem to sink in and linger on everything your dog touches, and it’s usually caused by the bacteria in their mouth. Taking good care of your dog’s teeth and gums is one way to combat this odor, and you can give your dog dental chews to keep the plaque away.

If your dog has problems, they may have to go to the vet for a professional cleaning, but this should help to clear up their bad breath issue. Additionally, you can add fluoride to their water to help keep their breath smelling cleaning and to help keep the bacteria away.

6. Wash Your Pet’s Bedding and Toys

It doesn’t make sense to give your dog a bath and then let them go lay down in a dirty bed or play with dirty toys. These smells can transfer back to your dog and undo all of your hard work, and it can also make you give them a bath more often.

Ideally, you want to wash your dog’s bedding and toys routinely to get rid of the body oils, saliva, and dirt or grime that may cling into the fabric. You can also give your pet’s bed a spritz of the doggy cologne or perfume once they’re all washed and clean to keep them smelling fresh longer.

7. Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Did you know that your dog’s ears can get yeast build up and start to smell? Many dog owners say that this smell reminds them of corn chips, and it can linger around your dog because many pet parents forget to clean their dog’s ears.

You want to gently wipe out and clean your dog’s ears regularly, and you want to make this a priority if your dog has floppy ears or if they like the water because this encourages yeast growth. You can buy ear cleaning drops to massage into your dog’s ears and wipe out to keep them clean.

8. Limit Your Dog’s Water Contact

Some breeds of dogs love to play in the water or mud, and this can cause that wet doggy odor that may pet parents are familiar with. You can avoid this by limiting how much your dog gets to play in the water.

If you can’t limit their water time, make sure that they dry completely and run a brush through their coat to remove any debris or items that could start to smell later on. You could also set up a small pool for your dog to splash in instead of letting them go into a body of water like a lake because you know that the water is clean in the pool and doesn’t smell.

9. Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet

Certain dogs have sensitivities to grain or soy, and these ingredients can cause flatulence that can be very unpleasant. These smells can hang around your dog and their bedding or toys, and it can get worse as your dog continues to react to the food.

You can combat this by switching your dog to a healthier food that doesn’t have any cheap grains or soy products, and you also want to look out for filler. A grain-free dog food can be slightly more expensive, but they’re usually easier for your dog to digest, and they’re easier on your dog’s system as a whole.

10. Care for Your Dog’s Anal Glands

Your dog has two small glands located just inside their anal opening, and they can smell if they get irritated, too full, or blocked. You want to routinely clean out your dog’s anal glans or have your vet or groomer do it for you to eliminate any discomfort or unpleasant smells.

If you take your dog to the groomer on a routine basis, they’ll most likely include this service as part of the grooming package because you usually have to bathe them once you express the glands. If your dog is dragging their rear across the floor, having difficulty going to the bathroom, or licking the area, they most likely need their anal glands expressed.

11. Waterless Shampoo

Waterless and dry shampoo are two different mediums, but they both work to help keep your dog clean and smelling great between baths. Waterless shampoo usually comes in a foam or a spray, and it works just like a dry shampoo would.

Your spritz the waterless shampoo into your hand and gently work it into your dog’s coat down to their skin. You can use a brush to ensure that you get it all of the ways through your dog’s coat, and you can repeat this every few weeks for the best results.

12. Keep Your Dog in Clean Areas

This tip may only apply to pet parents who have indoor dogs or who keep a very close eye on their dog when they’re out and about. If you have a grassy area that is free of mud or debris, you could try keeping your dog here and use positive reinforcement when they do what you want.

You could also consider taking your dog on walks or out to go to the bathroom on a leash, so you control what they do and don’t get into. Also, make sure that you wipe their feet when they come in from wet or damp conditions.

Bottom Line

Now you know how to clean your dog between baths with these 12 quick and efficient tips. It doesn’t matter if you have a big or small dog, these tips can work on them all, and they’re not hard to do.

You may not even have to buy anything in order to keep your dog smelling clean and looking their best. Try one or try them all until you find the method or methods that work best for your schedule and your dog’s personality.