How to clean your dog without a bath, 8 simple steps

how to clean your dog without a bath

If you want a fresh-smelling dog without using water, then follow our simple steps of how to clean your dog without a bath.

Although there is no substitute for a warm soapy soak in the tub, it’s not always convenient to keep bathing your dog. If your dog finds baths stressful or you have a dog that regularly likes to roll in smelly stuff, this is especially true.

So here’s our nose-to-tail guide of how to clean your dog without a bath.

Clean ears

Keeping your dog’s ears clean is essential. Dogs with floppy or long ears tend to be more prone to ear infections, and wax builds up than dogs with upright ears. With that being said, all dogs need their ears checked regularly and cleaned if necessary.

Assuming that your dog doesn’t have an excess of earwax, gently wipe any dirt or debris from the ear flap and just inside the ear is often all you need to do.

If your dog does have a build-up of wax in its ears, then you have a choice of the type of cleaner available. Some are designed to break up excess wax, while others are designed to dry out any discharge. If your dog does have any discharge or an unpleasant smell in your dog’s ears, do it check out by your veterinarian. Ear Infections are common and can be painful for your dog.

Otherwise, be very gentle. Never poke anything down your dog’s ears, and always follow any instructions carefully. Dog’s ears are extremely sensitive. We’ve included our favorite pet wipes, ear powder, and deodorizing cleaner.

Title
PPP Pet Aroma Care 100 Count Ear Wipes
Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs | Cleans & Deodorizes | 8 Ounces
Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit | Multi-Symptom Ear Relief | Wash & Dry Treatment | Alcohol-Free
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PPP Pet Aroma Care 100 Count Ear Wipes
Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs | Cleans & Deodorizes | 8 Ounces
Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit | Multi-Symptom Ear Relief | Wash & Dry Treatment | Alcohol-Free
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PPP Pet Aroma Care 100 Count Ear Wipes
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PPP Pet Aroma Care 100 Count Ear Wipes
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Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs | Cleans & Deodorizes | 8 Ounces
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Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs | Cleans & Deodorizes | 8 Ounces
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Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit | Multi-Symptom Ear Relief | Wash & Dry Treatment | Alcohol-Free
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Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit | Multi-Symptom Ear Relief | Wash & Dry Treatment | Alcohol-Free
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Clean eyes

Ensuring that your dog’s eyes are clear of mucus is the best way to prevent eye infections. Some dogs such as Cocker spaniels, poodles, and some terrier breeds are also prone to tear stains.

Certain dog breeds lack the ability to drain tears from the tear duct in the corner of the eyes, so they spill over the lower lashes instead. Not only does this cause unsightly staining, but it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Using natural products specially formulated for the sensitive eye area is a convenient and gentle way to keep your dogs’ eyes clean. Our favorites contain soothing ingredients like chamomile.

Title
Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tear Stain Remover with Chamomile | Tear Stain Remover for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz
Petpost | Tear Stain Remover Wipes - 100 Presoaked Cotton Pads - Best Natural Eye Crust Treatment for White Fur - Maltese Angels Approved - Chemical...
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Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tear Stain Remover with Chamomile | Tear Stain Remover for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz
Petpost | Tear Stain Remover Wipes - 100 Presoaked Cotton Pads - Best Natural Eye Crust Treatment for White Fur - Maltese Angels Approved - Chemical...
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Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tear Stain Remover with Chamomile | Tear Stain Remover for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz
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Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tear Stain Remover with Chamomile | Tear Stain Remover for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz
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Petpost | Tear Stain Remover Wipes - 100 Presoaked Cotton Pads - Best Natural Eye Crust Treatment for White Fur - Maltese Angels Approved - Chemical...
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Petpost | Tear Stain Remover Wipes - 100 Presoaked Cotton Pads - Best Natural Eye Crust Treatment for White Fur - Maltese Angels Approved - Chemical...
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Clean teeth

Not only is doggy breath unpleasant, but it can also indicate dental issues. Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy is vital. After all, they are an essential tool in our dog’s toolkit.

There are several ways you can do this. Cleaning your dog’s teeth with a specially designed toothbrush and toothpaste is by far the best way. However, not all dogs are keen on having their teeth cleaned.

If you have a dog that objects strongly to the idea of brushing, there are alternative ways of keeping their teeth clean that may be better for your relationship! We’ve chosen a toothbrush, a baking soda additive to water, and dental chews, all of which give your dog clean teeth.

Title
SENTRY Petrodex Dental Care Kit for Adult Dogs
Arm and Hammer Advanced Care Dental Water Additive with Baking Soda for Dog's
GREENIES Original Large Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (24 Treats)
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SENTRY Petrodex Dental Care Kit for Adult Dogs
Arm and Hammer Advanced Care Dental Water Additive with Baking Soda for Dog's
GREENIES Original Large Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (24 Treats)
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SENTRY Petrodex Dental Care Kit for Adult Dogs
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SENTRY Petrodex Dental Care Kit for Adult Dogs
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Arm and Hammer Advanced Care Dental Water Additive with Baking Soda for Dog's
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Arm and Hammer Advanced Care Dental Water Additive with Baking Soda for Dog's
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GREENIES Original Large Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (24 Treats)
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GREENIES Original Large Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (24 Treats)
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Clean paws

Our dogs may not need a bath that often.  But there is one part of them that gets particularly grubby. Dirty paws are a pain. Not only are furry feet difficult to keep clean, but all that mud and dirt has to go somewhere.

Unfortunately, a lot of the dirt carried in on our dog’s feet gets spread over our floors, onto our dog’s bed, and is trampled over any other surface our dog decides to walk on.

Since we can’t take our dog’s shoes off when they come into the house from outside, we need a convenient and practical way of keeping them clean. We’ve chosen waterless pet wipes, a paw plunger, and a soft towel. All of these products provide a good alternative to a bath and can be used together.

Title
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Paw Plunger for Medium Dogs – Portable Dog Paw Cleaner for Muddy Paws – This Dog Paw Washer Saves Floors, Furniture, Carpet and Vehicles from Paw...
Zwipes Large Microfiber Pet Towels (Size: 30" x 36"), 2-Pack Soft Terry Cleaning Cloths
Petkin Paw Wipes 100 count
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Paw Plunger for Medium Dogs – Portable Dog Paw Cleaner for Muddy Paws – This Dog Paw Washer Saves Floors, Furniture, Carpet and Vehicles from Paw...
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Zwipes Large Microfiber Pet Towels (Size: 30" x 36"), 2-Pack Soft Terry Cleaning Cloths
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Petkin Paw Wipes 100 count
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Clean coat, the basics

Never underestimate the power of giving your dog a good brush. Not only does brushing remove debris, dirt, and dead fur from your dog’s coat. It also prevents mats from forming that cause skin irritation and is extremely uncomfortable.

Brushing your dog’s fur is also a great way to check for lumps and bumps and unwelcome house guests like ticks and fleas. A weekly brush is often enough for dogs with short coats, whereas longer coat breeds may need a daily groom to keep your dog clean and tidy.

Picking the right brush for your dog’s coat is crucial. Generally speaking, brushes can fall into one of three categories:

  • Slicker brushes

Slicker brushes are great for removing knots and tangles. Useful for Yorkies, terriers with wiry coats, and dogs with short coats.

  • Bristle brushes

Bristle brushes are versatile and are suitable for most coat types. With different densities and lengths of bristles, they can be used on most dogs. For longer coats, look for a brush that has longer bristles more widely spaced apart, and for wiry or more coarse coats, opt for a brush that has shorter, stiffer bristles more closely spaced.

  • Wire-pin brushes

Wire pin brushes are perfect for dogs with medium to long hair or woolly coats and are available with or without rubber-tipped ends.

We’ve chosen the best of each to add to your grooming kit.

Title
Slicker Dog Brush for Shedding Short Hair & Long Hair - Cat Brush & Dog Grooming Supplies, Deshedding for Single or Double Coated Dogs & Cats -...
Hertzko Bristle Brush for Dogs and Cats with Long or Short Hair - Dense Bristles Remove Loose Hair, Dander, Dust, and Dirt from Your Pet’s Top Coat
Coastal Pet - Safari - Wire Pin Brush for Small to Large Dog Breeds - Plastic Handle
Preview
Slicker Dog Brush for Shedding Short Hair & Long Hair - Cat Brush & Dog Grooming Supplies, Deshedding for Single or Double Coated Dogs & Cats -...
Hertzko Bristle Brush for Dogs and Cats with Long or Short Hair - Dense Bristles Remove Loose Hair, Dander, Dust, and Dirt from Your Pet’s Top Coat
Coastal Pet - Safari - Wire Pin Brush for Small to Large Dog Breeds - Plastic Handle
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Slicker Dog Brush for Shedding Short Hair & Long Hair - Cat Brush & Dog Grooming Supplies, Deshedding for Single or Double Coated Dogs & Cats -...
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Slicker Dog Brush for Shedding Short Hair & Long Hair - Cat Brush & Dog Grooming Supplies, Deshedding for Single or Double Coated Dogs & Cats -...
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Hertzko Bristle Brush for Dogs and Cats with Long or Short Hair - Dense Bristles Remove Loose Hair, Dander, Dust, and Dirt from Your Pet’s Top Coat
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Hertzko Bristle Brush for Dogs and Cats with Long or Short Hair - Dense Bristles Remove Loose Hair, Dander, Dust, and Dirt from Your Pet’s Top Coat
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Coastal Pet - Safari - Wire Pin Brush for Small to Large Dog Breeds - Plastic Handle
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Coastal Pet - Safari - Wire Pin Brush for Small to Large Dog Breeds - Plastic Handle
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FURminator deShedding Tool For Dogs – Short, Medium or Long Hair - 101007
  • Stainless steel deShedding edge reaches through topcoat to safely and easily remove loose hair and undercoat
  • FURejector button releases hair with ease. Skin Guard glides over skin, prevents digging in at edges
  • Ergonomic handle for comfort and easy use

We can’t leave without a special mention of the FURminator that has come a long way since it burst onto the scene. It now comes in various sizes and lengths of teeth, making it much more versatile than it once was.

If your dog has an undercoat and is a heavy shedder, then the FURminator does a fantastic job removing the dead undercoat. However, if your dog has a single coat, then the FURminator may not be the best option for you as it can irritate the skin.

Clean coat, advanced

There are times when a quick brush isn’t enough to keep your dog clean and smelling sweet. So no-rinse or dry shampoo is a great idea to keep in the cupboard.

While waterless dog shampoo may not clean your dog’s fur as thoroughly as a good soak in the tub, but they do a good job in between trips to the bath and are great for those dogs who roll regularly and require frequent cleaning.

We’ve chosen dry no-rinse shampoo for dogs with natural ingredients that clean your dog’s coat gently.

Title
Begley’s Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo, Bathless Cleaning, Deodorizing, and Odor Removal for a Shiny, Fresh Smelling Coat - Effective for...
Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo No Rinse Dry Shampoo for Dogs (16oz/473ml), Detergent and Alcohol Free, Apple Extract - Perfect for Spot...
John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Sensitive Skin Formula, 8.5 Ounce
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Begley’s Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo, Bathless Cleaning, Deodorizing, and Odor Removal for a Shiny, Fresh Smelling Coat - Effective for...
Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo No Rinse Dry Shampoo for Dogs (16oz/473ml), Detergent and Alcohol Free, Apple Extract - Perfect for Spot...
John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Sensitive Skin Formula, 8.5 Ounce
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Begley’s Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo, Bathless Cleaning, Deodorizing, and Odor Removal for a Shiny, Fresh Smelling Coat - Effective for...
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Begley’s Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo, Bathless Cleaning, Deodorizing, and Odor Removal for a Shiny, Fresh Smelling Coat - Effective for...
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Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo No Rinse Dry Shampoo for Dogs (16oz/473ml), Detergent and Alcohol Free, Apple Extract - Perfect for Spot...
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Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo No Rinse Dry Shampoo for Dogs (16oz/473ml), Detergent and Alcohol Free, Apple Extract - Perfect for Spot...
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John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Sensitive Skin Formula, 8.5 Ounce
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John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Sensitive Skin Formula, 8.5 Ounce
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Emergency clean

There are just some days where your dog isn’t on the same page as you. You’ve got a thousand and one things to do before your in-laws come over and your dog has decided to disgrace themselves with a bit of rolling. If you find yourself faced with an emergency clean-up job and don’t have time for a proper clean, don’t despair.

Pet wipes and scented sprays are perfect for dog owners when you have to get rid of a nasty smell, but you’re in a rush.

These deodorizing sprays freshen your dog without the need to bathe your dog. They shouldn’t replace a thorough wash when your dog needs it, but as an in-between emergency solution, a quick spray is perfect.

Title
Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets, Dog Grooming Spray & Pet Odor Eliminator - 8 fl oz (236 ml)
Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals – Oatmeal & Coconut Lime Verbena for Cleaning, Conditioning, Detangling & Moisturizing...
Pet Odor Eliminator Spray for Dogs - Dog Spray For Smelly Dogs and Dog Calming Spray with Lavender Essential Oil - Pet Deodorizer Spray plus Dog...
Preview
Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets, Dog Grooming Spray & Pet Odor Eliminator - 8 fl oz (236 ml)
Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals – Oatmeal & Coconut Lime Verbena for Cleaning, Conditioning, Detangling & Moisturizing...
Pet Odor Eliminator Spray for Dogs - Dog Spray For Smelly Dogs and Dog Calming Spray with Lavender Essential Oil - Pet Deodorizer Spray plus Dog...
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Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets, Dog Grooming Spray & Pet Odor Eliminator - 8 fl oz (236 ml)
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Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets, Dog Grooming Spray & Pet Odor Eliminator - 8 fl oz (236 ml)
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Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals – Oatmeal & Coconut Lime Verbena for Cleaning, Conditioning, Detangling & Moisturizing...
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Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals – Oatmeal & Coconut Lime Verbena for Cleaning, Conditioning, Detangling & Moisturizing...
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Pet Odor Eliminator Spray for Dogs - Dog Spray For Smelly Dogs and Dog Calming Spray with Lavender Essential Oil - Pet Deodorizer Spray plus Dog...
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Pet Odor Eliminator Spray for Dogs - Dog Spray For Smelly Dogs and Dog Calming Spray with Lavender Essential Oil - Pet Deodorizer Spray plus Dog...
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Clean up

Even when your dog is clean and smelling like a pampered pooch, you may still need to do a bit of clean-up in the house and garden.

Have you gone ‘nose-blind?’ We may not notice that special ‘canine aroma’ in our homes, but if you have invited a non-dog owning friend over, they will almost certainly notice it – especially if your dog has had any accidents!

Keeping your dog’s bedding clean without washing it is the best way to avoid nasty smells in the home in between bathing. If you also clean up any outside areas of unwanted mess, this will go a long way towards eliminating any unpleasant odors from coming in.

Title
PET N PET Unscented Dog Poop Bag 720 Counts Rainbow Muliti Color Dog Poop Bags Refill Rolls Standard and EPI Additive Dog Waste Bags
GoGo Stik ST Pooper Scooper and Dootie Rake; EZ Clean Scoop Set. Small to Large Dogs. The Totally Clean Way to Scoop on Grass or Gravel. Includes...
PUPMATE Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats, Extra Moist & Thick Grooming Puppy Wipes with 100 Fresh Counts, Aloe Vera/Nature
Preview
PET N PET Unscented Dog Poop Bag 720 Counts Rainbow Muliti Color Dog Poop Bags Refill Rolls Standard and EPI Additive Dog Waste Bags
GoGo Stik ST Pooper Scooper and Dootie Rake; EZ Clean Scoop Set. Small to Large Dogs. The Totally Clean Way to Scoop on Grass or Gravel. Includes...
PUPMATE Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats, Extra Moist & Thick Grooming Puppy Wipes with 100 Fresh Counts, Aloe Vera/Nature
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PET N PET Unscented Dog Poop Bag 720 Counts Rainbow Muliti Color Dog Poop Bags Refill Rolls Standard and EPI Additive Dog Waste Bags
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PET N PET Unscented Dog Poop Bag 720 Counts Rainbow Muliti Color Dog Poop Bags Refill Rolls Standard and EPI Additive Dog Waste Bags
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GoGo Stik ST Pooper Scooper and Dootie Rake; EZ Clean Scoop Set. Small to Large Dogs. The Totally Clean Way to Scoop on Grass or Gravel. Includes...
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GoGo Stik ST Pooper Scooper and Dootie Rake; EZ Clean Scoop Set. Small to Large Dogs. The Totally Clean Way to Scoop on Grass or Gravel. Includes...
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PUPMATE Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats, Extra Moist & Thick Grooming Puppy Wipes with 100 Fresh Counts, Aloe Vera/Nature
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PUPMATE Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats, Extra Moist & Thick Grooming Puppy Wipes with 100 Fresh Counts, Aloe Vera/Nature
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How to clean your dog without a bath

There you have it, eight simple ways to clean a dog without a bath. From waterless shampoo to baby wipes, it’s easy to keep your pet smelling sweet without ever having to turn on a tap.

While all of these tips will ensure your dog is as clean as it can be without bathing, you may still have to take the plunge at least once a year. If you can’t bathe your dog yourself, think about investing in a groomer occasionally. A clean-smelling dog is a joy, so consider it as pampering for you as well as your dog.

Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API