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Dirty Dog

Dirty Dogs: Tips for Keeping Your Canine Clean

Faced with rainy walks, muddy paws and the dreaded wet dog smell, keeping your dog clean during winter can seem like quite a chore. Here are some tips for keeping Fido fresh.


For most pet parents, a rainy day means a wet dog and a dirty home. However, it’s important, not only to keep your dog and home smelling fresh, but also to help prevent fleas and matting.

If you’re an active dog owner who spends a lot of time outside with your pup, you probably don’t want to let a little bad weather ruin your time. That’s why we’ve asked the team at to share their top tips to keep your dog looking and smelling clean when it’s raining.

How often should you wash your dog? For many dogs, baths aren’t top of the list when it comes to things they enjoy—but unfortunately for them, it’s unavoidable. So, if your dog hasn’t managed to cover itself in mud or something worse, how often should you wash them? Well, the truth is that you don’t really need to wash your dog on a regular schedule. Your dog’s coat has evolved to clean itself of the basic day-to-day grime, and given that they can’t sweat, they won’t be producing any BO in the way we would define it.

That being said, we are all aware of a certain funk that can build up on our dogs if they haven’t been washed or groomed for a while. For many owners, this isn’t an issue, but for those who find themselves with a stinky pup, we would advise that you wash your dog no more than once per month – less if you can.

Too much washing can actually cause your dog some problems, as they have very sensitive skin. What’s more, if you use any flea or worming treatments that are applied to your dog’s coat, these will be washed out with each bath leaving your pet vulnerable to those parasites. 

Whether your dog has been splashing in muddy puddles, or even rolling about in animal poo, if your pooch returns home as a mucky pup, it is important that you wash or wipe them down as soon as possible. Cleaning your dog at the earliest opportunity gives the dirt less time to set in, which is better for both your dog and your home.

Use the right shampoo. It is essential that you avoid using human shampoo on your dog. The chemicals that we put onto our hair are no good for keeping your dog’s fur clean, and can potentially be harmful to their coat and skin. There are plenty of quality and affordable dog shampoos available, but if you are in a pinch, then a small amount of baby shampoo will do as these tend to be mild and won’t contain any harmful chemicals. We recommend Skout’s Honor Probiotic Shampoo and Conditioner.

In addition to baths, there are plenty of other ways to keep on top of your hound’s hygiene including ‘waterless’ cleaning products on the market like dry dog shampoo and cleaning mitts, to help keep your dog smelling and looking clean without getting them wet.

Protect their paws. As the temperature drops and the weather turns to snow, it is worth considering how sensitive our pet’s paw-pads are to icy conditions and grit on the road. Regularly tending to your dog’s paws with warm water and a moist cloth will not only be soothing for your dog but help to clean up one of the main areas that spread dirt around your home.

During fall and winter, it is extra important to keep checking your dog’s paws after a walk, as bits of debris and leaves can get stuck between their pads and cause irritation. Additionally, a pet balm such as Skout’s Honor Prebiotic Pet Balm, provides ongoing protection, while soothing dry, itchy paws and noses.

Feed them right. You can help keep your dog’s coat glossy and healthy by ensuring that they are eating the right food. Your dog’s coat relies on protein, so feeding your pooch a good, balanced diet maintains their healthy glow on the outside as well as on the inside (see Top Shelf Dog below).

Brushing is best. Brushing your dog frequently is the best way to keep their fur clean from anything that they might pick up while out and about. Jumping through piles of leaves is a great source of fun for your pup, but it is also a really easy way for them to pick up fleas and ticks. Thoroughly brushing at least once a day will help to comb out any unwelcome visitors and keep your dog’s coat looking and feeling smooth.

Stay allergy alert. Autumn can be a tough time for pets who are susceptible to allergies – one in five of our four-legged friends suffer from allergies. There are certain plants that thrive during the autumn months and combined with the number of falling leaves, there is quite a substantial amount of pollen around at this time of year. Tell tale allergy signs are sneezing, watery eyes and coughing. You should seek advice from your vet if you believe your pooch is starting to display these symptoms.

Wear waterproof. Investing in a good quality, waterproof dog coat will keep your pooch dry during the wet winter months. The best features to look out for when picking out a coat for your dog are waterproofing, durability, double-lining, ‘adjustability’ (fit) and affordability. We recommend anything by Ruffwear.

Featured Products

Top Shelf Dog is restaurant quality dog food, straight from your pantry. Made with only four simple ingredients, Top Shelf Dog food’s Chicken Dinner is fresh, all-natural dog food that doesn’t require refrigeration and uses no artificial preservatives. Top Shelf is designed to extend the way your dog eats throughout the day; as an enticing dog food topper, a nutritious training treat, or a complete meal. Made especially for senior pups, picky eaters, and dogs who deserve the very best.

CityDog readers can use code “CityDogs” at checkout for a one-time 10% discount on orders of Top Shelf Dog.

Top Shelf Dog has donated over $6,000 of Top Shelf dog food to the Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS) in Ft. Myers; more than 1,350 meals to feed displaced animals from Hurricane Ian. If you would like to donate to GCHS, click here.

Barkworthies All-Natural, All-Star Dental Chews are a unique star-shaped collagen chew that helps clean hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Lasting under five minutes, these chews are made using tasty beef collagen that promotes healthy coats, joint mobility and smooth digestion in one yummy chew. 

Benefits include:

  • Limited, All-Natural Ingredients
  • 100% Digestible and Loaded with Collagen
  • Promotes Dental Health Through Chewing
  • High in Protein
  • Contains No Artificial Preservatives
  • USA Baked, Inspected and Packed

Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried RAW BAR Pig Snouts give your dog an added boost of vitamins, protein, and stimulation, while helping keep teeth strong and healthy. Our furry friends can’t get enough of this between-meal satisfying snack.

Additional VE RAW BAR Snacks include: Duck Heads, Pig Ears, Bully Sticks, Salmon Skins and more.

Sure Petcare Animo® GPS, Activity and Behavior Monitor. 1 in 3 dogs will go missing in their lifetime*, stay one step ahead with Animo® GPS. Easily monitor your dog’s location, activity and behavior from the Sure Petcare Animo App.

Key Features:

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Prestagon’s Snap & Stack Pet Steps help your furry friend reach new heights around the home with ease and style. Featuring three height configurations, Pet Steps are fully customizable to the needs and abilities of pets of all ages. Setup and stowing are a breeze with no tools required as magnets seamlessly align & attach each step. The steps boast a modern, synthetic wood grain finish and can also double as storage bins for favorite toys. Secret CityDog Exclusive: 50% OFF.

CityDog participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commission on editorially chosen products. We also receive compensation from our brand partners. Rest-assured, we never recommend or promote anything we wouldn’t use or enjoy ourselves.


about the author

Brandie Ahlgren is founder and editor of CityDog Magazine. She, and her team of dog-loving editors, dig up the best places for you to sit, stay and play with your four-legged friends. Brandie, 12-year-old boxer Thya and Mexican foster failure Pancho, reside in West Seattle and can often be found hanging out at Westcrest Dog Park.

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