How to Wipe Clean a Dog's Paws and Face

A younger, furry Huxtable lounging on the couch

Like many pet parents I like to keep my dog fresh and clean. My toy poodle Huxtable often sleeps with me (be it on the couch or sometimes bed) and he travels with me into the homes of friends and families. I have a shoes off policy in my home for myself and visitors, to help keep my hardwood floors clean and my home environment as dirt free as possible... so of course I have to extend this policy to my pet as well. 

To combat the potential dirt that my dog can bring in I wipe his paws every time we come in from outside. I also wipe his paws every time he uses the bathrooms (goes potty). I went over this in my last post a little, Product Review: Dog Wipes vs Baby Wipes, but I will go over it in more detail in this post. 

Using a natural (hypoallergenic and fragrance free) baby wipe I wipe/clean my dog's privates, paws, and face. 

Wiping a Dogs Private and Anal Area:
Using one side of the baby wipe, I gently wipe his private, then his anal area.  Very simple and too the point. To maximize the cleanliness of these areas be sure to keep the hair around your dogs privates low and his anal area "expressed". This will keep feces and pee from sticking to the fur. Sometimes the hair on a male dog's area can grow long and pee and even semen can cause the hair in the area to stick together and get crusty, not only does this look bad it can harbor germs so be sure to very carefully trim the hairs down there. 

Wiping a Dog's Paws (Hands/Feet):
Using the same side of the wipe as above (as long as it's clean), I wipe under the nails and between the fingers/toes. Under the nails harbor the most amount of dirt, this is especially true if your dog is a digger or paws at a lot of items when outside. Keeping your dogs nails trimmed will aid in there being less dirt. Sometimes dirt can harbor between your dogs "fingers" "toes" especially if they have webbed feet like poodles. Very gently clean between your dogs paws. You can get my favorite dog nail clipper, here.

Wiping a Dog's Face (Eyes):
Using a the clean side of the wipe, I gently wipe under his eyes, being sure to get any crust-- which will be especially apparent if your dog gets tear stains. Then gently wipe pass his nose and mouth. I do that because dogs often sniff poo and pee when using the bathroom outside, but my dogs often kisses and licks me so I want to eliminate any possibility of him passing unwanted germs my way. 

Here's the general Quickie Dog Cleaning I do when coming inside from a walk: 
I pull out a baby wipe or pet wipe. Using one side of the baby wipe, I gently wipe his private, then his anal area. (The wipe is still usually very clean). I wipe under the nails and between the fingers/toes. I then flip the wipe over to the clean side, fold it over and wipe under his eyes if he has tear stains and I'll gently wipe pass his nose and mouth. This takes between 1-2 minutes for my toy poodle. I can imagine it taking maybe 5 minutes for the average big dog. 

Huxtable, as a toddler, in his harness ready to go for a walk

Benefits of Wiping/Cleaning Your Dog After Walks:
The biggest benefits of wiping you dog down after walks and when coming in from outside is the indirect act of checking his body for fleas/ticks/bugs. By always cleaning handling your dog, especially when coming in from outside who decrease the chances of a bug, like a tick, being on your dog for too long. The other obvious benefits is a cleaner more dirt free home and a better smelling dog and best friend. Another bonus benefit will be a dog with a healthier coat of hair, especially for long-haired dogs like poodles. 

Drawbacks of Wiping/Cleaning Your Dog After Walks:
I can't think of any. The only way this could be an issue is if your dog has some type of skin issue. Dogs with skin issues/skin conditions usually have to be handled in a special kind of way, they eat certain kinds of food/have strict diet requirements, so there could be some restrictions on cleaning/wiping a dog so often.

Get more information on the proper wipes to use for a dog / pet, here. 

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